As many in the technology and economics sectors have noted, innovation in Asia is on a major upswing. The first time I heard the phrase “The Asian Century” was in 1992 at AT&T Bell Laboratories. At the time, American companies were making plans to address long-term opportunities in Asia. They felt that Asia would have the largest and fastest-growing markets, and thus the 21st century would be “The Asian Century.”
Now, in early 2011, the news is full of reports on patent filings from inventors in Asian countries and it’s clear that The Asian Century has arrived, though perhaps the phrase “Global Century” would be more accurate. There’s a fascinating discussion going on now about global innovation. Scott Anthony, managing director of Innosight Ventures, has written a few blog posts for the Harvard Business Review about his personal experiences with innovation in Asia after moving to Singapore. He brings up excellent points and I agree with his observations and recommendations.
IV works with networks of inventors throughout the Asia-Pacific region due to the sheer size and quality of the opportunity. We believe that an economy fueled by worldwide innovation will benefit everyone. The more open and collaborative that countries become, the better it will be for everyone. Invention and innovation have always been cross-cultural activities. Of course, some cultures have historically been more productive than others, but even the most innovative cultures have always benefited from incorporating key information from abroad to accelerate progress.
Though IV was founded in the US, we’ve always taken a global stance on innovation and we are supporters of, participants in, and witnesses to the burgeoning international invention market.