Executive Briefings

China Said to Innovate in the Marketplace, Not in R&D Labs

What China does better than any place else in the world is to innovate by commercialization, as opposed to constant research and perfecting the theory, like the West, according to GM China president Kevin Wale.

When the Chinese get an idea, they test it in the marketplace. They're happy to do three to four rounds of commercialization to get an idea right, whereas in the West companies spend the same amount of time on research, testing, and validation before trying to take products to market. The electric vehicle is a good example. The Chinese view is that it's not going to be perfect, and they're not trying to make it perfect from day one. They've got a few more series of improvements to go, and they'll work on them in parallel with finding out what the customer really likes and adapting to that. That's an innovative way of doing innovation, something that the rest of the world is struggling to understand.

"In our business in China, if we don't innovate through or with commercialization, we're going to lag behind our competitors," he said.

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What China does better than any place else in the world is to innovate by commercialization, as opposed to constant research and perfecting the theory, like the West, according to GM China president Kevin Wale.

When the Chinese get an idea, they test it in the marketplace. They're happy to do three to four rounds of commercialization to get an idea right, whereas in the West companies spend the same amount of time on research, testing, and validation before trying to take products to market. The electric vehicle is a good example. The Chinese view is that it's not going to be perfect, and they're not trying to make it perfect from day one. They've got a few more series of improvements to go, and they'll work on them in parallel with finding out what the customer really likes and adapting to that. That's an innovative way of doing innovation, something that the rest of the world is struggling to understand.

"In our business in China, if we don't innovate through or with commercialization, we're going to lag behind our competitors," he said.

Read Full Article