Deloitte just released their 2007 annual study "Innovation in emerging markets," which presents the results of their survey of 446 executives representing 31 countries around how to stay competitive and grow profitably in China, India, Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America. While Deloitte's findings confirm many of the common concerns about doing business in emerging markets (e.g., intellectual property issues and talent acquisition), there are some novel insights. The full report is worth a read, for what it describes and for what it omits.
The report is divided into three sections: talent management, risk management, and operating models. The talent management section makes the fairly obvious point that talent acquisition and retainment strategies should be localized. The brief case studies provided are interesting (e.g., AstenJohnston's use of 3 salary reviews per year rather than the customary 1). Similarly, the operating models section confirms that some level of organization decentralization and careful consideration of the standard 4 operating structures (greenfield investment, acqusition, joint venture, and outsourcing) should be employed.
The risk management section is the most insightful. The main takeaway is that risk management is traditionally not comprehensive enough -- it includes the obvious factors (legal issues, IP, supply chain) but neglects the less obvious (security, politcal issues, acts of nature). Fair enough. More interesting is their elaboration on intellectual property protection. They describe such variegated approaches as keeping R&D in developed markets, sourcing across markets, producing across markets, and using lower-risk emarging markets (like Singapore) over higher risk ones (like China).
I find the edge cases (which are not described in the report) -- successful companies that are finding a way to safeguard their IP while conducting R&D and production in China -- more interesting than the averages. Another piece of China news today is Intel's investment in a chip fabrication plant in China. Bruce Einhorn at BusinessWeek describes how this move is partially a response to competitor AMD's advancement in China through an R&D center in Shangahi and partnerships with all of the major Chinese PC vendors. Intel's move builds on existing R&D centers in Beijing and Shanghai. And let's not forget Apple's iPod manufacturing operations that are based in China. These are top brands with significant IP protection requirements who are finding a way to bring significant pieces of their business to China. I'd like to see detailed case studies of these...
You were right and I was wrong. Math isn't useless after all. I've been using lots of trigonometry lately at work and I now wish that I had paid attention during my high school years. I thought I knew it all. As it turns out, I did know it all, but I did however drop the ball on this math thing. My days of walking into math class with my hand on my crotch saying "Cosine this" are long gone. Goodwill hunting I'm not.
I didn't attend sxsw this year.
Instead, I bought a mouse.
The Microsoft Wireless Notebook Presenter Mouse 8000 to be exact.
I was wrapping up a project with my team this week and presenting final work out on the road.
Before I broke out, I realized that I needed to purchase a presentation clicker; something everyone should have if they are presenting in powerpoint or keynote.
We are increasingly asked by clients about our point of view on how to bring innovations to the Chinese market.
"Contradictory" is the first word that comes to mind when addressing this question. While there are numerous examples of IP infringement and copycat strategies (consider Meizu's M8, China's response to Apple's iPhone; or this unbranded PSP phone; or Oriental Virgin's rip-off of Sony Ericsson's brand), there is plenty of genuine innovation too (such as AOpen and Fortune Motor's Car PC; or China's plans for commercial jet development). Similarly, for every story of government over-regulation (of user-generated content; of online access; of mobile), there is a trend that runs against it (such as the boom in e-commerce; the very existence of a china web 2.0 meta-blog; or VC fundingÂ of the Chinese version of Joost).
Stay tuned to this space for more thoughts on how to manage these contradictions...
A new e-mail management solution introduces a virtual currency to relieve knowledge workers from attention disorder
The ability for customers to broadcast their experiences with companies is greater than any time in the last 150 years ago when we all lived in small villages. My earlier post on my experience with Audi's corporate feedback loop is a perfect example: that micro experience gets amplified to potentially rival big budget advertising efforts (not to say my one in particular has this effect...).
Have you heard of Twitter yet? Well it seems like that's all I hear about lately when perusing through the WPF and Flash community blogs. The concept couldn't be simpler. You make posts saying nothing more than what you are doing at the time. The more you do it, the more interesting it becomes. You can follow other Twitters as well as adding them as friends. Think of it like a set of one sentence blog posts that allow people to track what you're up to. This has been particularly useful for people who are attending conferences as it's a great way to find people. The popularity of Twitter seems to be exploding!
Go over and sign up and you can follow me here.
The new Optomap Retinal Exam from Optos has improved the User Experience of eye exams. I've worn glasses forever and every year I get an eye exam. In the past, eye exams consisted of a series of tests, one of which was pupil dilation in order to better examine the internal surface of the eye. This dilation has always been difficult because it lasts for several hours and makes the eyes quite sensitive to light. The Panoramic200 Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscope (this company's product) takes a digital image of the eye which apparently provides enough information to the Opthamologist so that they don't require pupil dilation. Additionally, the images are very cool. This isn't my eye but you wouldn't know the difference.
Science and engineering just took another step towards a better future. Now we just need to pick up the pace a little.
One of the most inspiring organizations I can think of, Architecture for Humanity, has recently launched the Open Architecture Network, an online platform for architects to collaborate on housing design solutions for developing nations. The site's FAQ outlines their mission:
"One billion people live in abject poverty. Four billion live in fragile but growing economies. One in seven people live in slum settlements. By 2020 it will be one in three. We don't need to choose between architecture or revolution. What we need is an architectural revolution."
The site contains tools, specs, and other documentation that allows architects from around the world to collaborate on open source solutions to designing housing and other structures for the developing world. Their work is quite often amazing - taking simple, local materials and building homes and clinics substantially more livable and beautiful than my New York studio.
As I understand it, the OAN represents a kind of return to the roots of Architecture for Humanity, which I once heard its founder Cameron Sinclair describe as the result of simply going out to the web and asking people to help solve the kinds of housing problems that traditional architecture had been unable to deal with.
There does seem to be a small but encouraging trend of open source ideas jumping from the digital to the physical world. One of the most promising that I've heard of recently is the Institute for OneWorld Health - to my knowledge the world's first nonprofit pharmaceutical company (about time). There is of course a difference between open source and simply nonprofit - as OneWorld Health's original drug product came from scouring databases of drugs whose patents had expired it does, in a sense, encompass both.
What gives me the most hope about these initiatives is only partially their direct benefit in terms of products. I am more excited by the fact that one of open source's main side-effects is education. If you need proof, how many of you learned HTML from hitting the 'view source' button? I don't think anyone can predict what kinds of revolutionary innovation will occur when millions of people in emerging economies are able to hit 'view source' on the institutions that hamper development.