Bill Dodson

This time the author of ZDnet got China veteran Bill Dodson really angry. China is not an inevitable innovative power, he argues on his weblog. “Only death is inevitable.”

Bill Dodson

Another dumb title comes from The latest story envisioning China running victory laps round the track of advanced society is entitled, “China takeover as tech innovation center inevitable”.

Everyone knows the only thing inevitable in life is death. Now, through creative accounting and offshore tax havens, not even taxes are inevitable. Hence, a reprehensible and terribly misleading title for an article completely based in conjecture.

The writer quotes analysts of the Thomas Friedman school of China Modernization. As much as I admire and have been inspired in my own writing by Friedman’s work, he’s simply plain wrong in equating the numbers of engineering graduates and the amount of money thrown at infrastructure as more than sufficient to seal China’s fate as an Innovation Nation.

What analysts who are easily impressed by big numbers are missing is the context in which all this activity is occurring. China is not an incubator for disruptive – or transformational – innovation.

Incremental innovation, yeah, sure. I trip over those sort of jury-rigs and tweaks and reverse-engineered bits every day here in China…

Dumb comparisons between countries and regional ecologies do not help clarify what really needs to happen in China for its brightest and most energetic people to truly change the world.

More in Bill Dodson’s weblog.

Bill Dodson is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers’ request form.


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