Three Cheers for Asian Innovation

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in at 10/10/2011 06:55:00 AM
I just wanted to point you in the direction of an interesting competition the Wall Street Journal is tracking that places the spotlight on Asian innovation. With perhaps the exception of the Japanese who also went through the reverse engineering stage--taking apart Western creations and imitating them--Asian nations are not well-known for coming up with innovative products and services with a global reach. Which of course is a fair enough criticism since they haven't been at the leading edge of innovation, really.

However, have a look and see what they're now coming up in the Pacific Rim. There are indeed some interesting developments alike a hearing aid app that brings the benefits of expensive, custom-made devices to those able to afford ubiquitous portable devices. With most Asian nations being in the Pacific ring of fire, the curious-looking "Earthquake Cushion" also appears promising. Its lack of visual flair should be more than made up by being a low-cost, readily assembled building solution to coping with tremors.

Certainly, Asia will need to improve its ability to develop devices such as these with potentially sizeable appeal not only in the region but throughout the world if it is to move up the value-added ladder. That is, to go from a mass producer of goods largely conceived and designed in the West (low-value added "grunt work") to being a generator of such designs itself (high-value added "creativity").