Saturday, April 24, 2010

Innovation Growth - Lift Off is in China

A recent Scotia Bank report Liftoff Achieved, but the Flight Path will be Turbulent spells it out clearly that developed nations are locked on a low -growth trajectory. In 2009, China's growth output increased by over 9%. Trade flows among Asian countries are double NAFTA levels.

With the shifting realities of global business, and in no small part the increasing importance of Asia Pacific escalating in growth and in operations, business footprints must expand to these growth markets.

Having skills and experience in Asia is now a critical innovation competency for global leaders of the future. Without this knowledge and companies rotating their talent to Asia, multi-national leaders will not achieve the insights they need to make more informed global business decisions.

What does it take to be a global leader? With over half of the world's global population and now being the fastest growing economy, developing knowledge of Asian cultures is critical for success.

The first important fact to undertand is that Asia is not a single market. Japan for example has a population that is aging rapidly whilethe vast amount of populations in Vietnam are very young. For example, the median age in Japan is now 44, while in Vietnam, it is 27, China it is 34, while India is only 25. Local tastes are different as well as spending power. To be effective, leaders need to understand the unique attributes of local markets, adjust their approaches and then learn to unlearn as they continue to adapt.

Business is moving rapidly due to the high levels of growth driving the realities of hyper-competitive environments and acclerated decision making needs.

Important to leadership in the Asia Pacific is appreciating win win as relationships are a life -time and not viewed as transactions. Understanding other's views and being empathetic to opposite views - demonstrating openness and preserving reputation of all is critical for leadership success. Win Win orientations are not always a strength of USA executives, perhaps more so in Canada given their rich cultural appreciation.

What ever partnering relationships are established, they need to be viewed as a long term commitment and not the flavor of the month. Signals are seen and observed in the trust making aspects of Asian cultures, and memories are long.

Companies like Coke are ensuring their future leaders move among global geographies and develop the know-how to lead with increased global insights.

Does your organization have an innovation growth strategy to support your organizations' growth into Asia Pacific markets? If not, it should.

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