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Transforming China’s Innovation Capacity

June 16, 2017. Beijing – The three waves of innovation that have driven China’s epic economic transformation over the past three decades were the focus of two events this week in Shanghai and Beijing by CEIBS Professor of Strategy George S. Yip and CEIBS Visiting Professor of International Business Bruce McKern on the occasion of the launch of their new book China’s Next Strategic Advantage: From Imitation to Innovation. The book covers findings of research work done by Profs Yip and McKern at the CEIBS Centre on China Innovation, where Prof. Yip is Co-Director and it is available in both English and Chinese.

The professors explained that the three innovation waves are: (1) from copying to ‘fit for purpose; (2) from followers to world standard and (3) from seeking new resources to seeking new knowledge. They also provided practical examples from numerous case studies to illustrate the development of China along these waves of innovation, and explained how China’s new innovation edge — the 4C’s of customers, culture, competitive capabilities and cash — will be the basis for creating world-class products and services to meet the challenges of a new era of global competition. They concluded by providing 10 crucial insights companies can learn from China including bold experimentation and rapid iteration, using creative adaptation and focusing on ‘lean value’ design.

The book is the result of four years of research that included interviews with hundreds of R&D and innovation executives, CEOs and C-Suite executives at dozens of Chinese and foreign firms, mostly in China but some in European home countries. It also includes several in-depth case studies of selected firms that are frontier practitioners of innovation in China. The authors also conducted an extensive review of the relevant existing literature of the past 20 years and media reports on innovation that have appeared from 2010 to 2014.