Innovation in China.

Bruce Nussbaum

The oddest story on innovation in China appears in Saturday's Washington Post. It combines a personal lead from a woman's fashion designer with quotes from Beijing bureaucrats about the importance of innovation and technology. There's a quote from President Hu Jintao telling Chinese scientists and engineers they must make China "a nation of innovators."

The usual statistics on China's spending on R&D (1.1% of gdp compared to 2.6% for the US nd 3.2% for Japan)are given. Then there is a discussion about Confucian culture and whether or not it stymies originality and innovation.

Very boring indeed. I'm glad to see the WP discovering the issue of innovation in China and putting it on page one (bottom right) but it has to do better. Newspapers in general have been way behind in dealing with the issue. The NYT still mostly defines "design" in terms of fashion, not strategy, thinking or tactics. And innovation remains as much a mystery to most reporters as it is to most CEOs.

Better for the WP's reporter to have talked with the folks at Lenovo, Cherry or Haier than a fashion designer.