BILL RUSSO, SENIOR ADVISOR, BOOZ & CO, BEIJING
I think that over time in the West, we have built up an attitude of saying that if it is to be affordable it’s got to be plain vanilla. I think in China the mindset is how do you get creative and do it at a reasonable price point… I look at the way that the Asian companies, and even the western companies that have learned how to do business effectively in Asia, what they’ve done is they’ve transformed into a mindset of how can I create something unique without necessarily putting it out of the reach of the average consumer… And frankly, I think that was where the West was. If I look to what we were able to do a hundred years ago in America or Europe over the course of many centuries, we were able to attack problems with an attitude of how do I find solutions that are economical, whereas recently we’ve walked our way into a mindset that says innovation can only come if people are willing to pay more for it.
We don’t reward and recognize engineers for building on other’s ideas; we tend to reward them for doing something that no one has done before. And yeah, that’s a way to be innovative, but who is to say that innovation can’t stand on the shoulders of the giants that preceded you. There is definitely room for best practices as a platform to build up even more innovative products.