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Innovation In China and Asia is getting hot.

Is design different from innovation? |


| China betting big on design.

November 27, 2005

Innovation In China and Asia is getting hot.

Bruce Nussbaum

I'm off to an innovation and design conference in China put on by Patrick Whitney of the Institute of Design. Some 150 business people and designers, half from China and half from the US, Europe and Japan, will be in Beijing for two days, Dec. 1 and 2--plus trips to Shanghai to visit Motorola, SPoint, and other design meccas. My hat is off to Patrick. This is his second conference in a month.

The last one was made infamous by Michael Bierut and his brilliant observation that designers now talk of themselves as innovators. It created a storm in the design world and enormous comment in the innovation world--two worlds that overlap but are not the same.

In China, I'm moderating a panel debate between and which should be terrific. They are the top internet sites in China, Sina being one of the first, Baidu just having a very rich IPO. Everyone says that Sina is more a portal like Yahoo and Baidu is more a search engine like Google but then everyone also says they are morphing together and doing both search and content. We'll see. There's an interesting discussion of Baidu at Innovation--Business Innovation, a blog set up to plug a Fortune conference on Innovation. I don't know much about the conference but the site is good and I hope it remains after the conference passes. It quotes Andrew McKay who is studying at Tsinghua. McKay talked to the R&D guys at Baidu.

One last word before taking off. Patrick Whitney is beta testing a software program for ethnography that is potentially explosive. Ethnography is now the new market research--and the data is getting the same treatment (thrown into the drawer and forgotten). There is so much out there, people can't cope. In addition, ethnographic research is generally very expensive. So you have expensive data that people ignore.

Whitney's program systemitizes ethnographic information that can be collected by others on the ground overseas. The program makes anthropolgical data comparable in different categories over time and place. Whitney used it when he had people in India do ethnographic work and had them send it along to his researchers in Chicago. He says it is 10% as expensive as regular ethnographic research and about 70% as good. That may be good enough. It will be out of beta testing by next year, he promises.

See you in Beijing, Patrick.

10:47 PM

china design

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Once Fortune blogs about you… from Muskblog

…Business Week is sure to follow. ;-)

This is all of course to do with my interview with Baidu and the little insight I was able to provide into their R&D practices and their greater business strategy.

Aparently there is an upcoming conf... [Read More]

Tracked on November 30, 2005 07:01 AM

It sounds like you will have a pretty busy trip, but if you want to meet for a coffee or something let me know while you are in town. I never heard of this conference, I'm more of a 'business guy' now that I'm in business school, but I spent a lot of time in the trenches writing HTML, JavaScript, Java etc.

My Mac is dead so I'm stuck using random windows machines in internet cafes. I may regret it, but the information is already on my resume so what the hell...

My cellphone number in China is 13241808623, I can receive SMS's on it but not full fledged emails. I don't speak that much Chinese but I know a fair few Chinese people if you need some help while in Beijing.

Feel free to give me a call if you need something.

Posted by: Muskie at November 30, 2005 06:56 AM

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