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Reconnect with your ingenuity to boost your capacity for innovation

Reconnect with your ingenuity to boost your capacity for innovation

After being long considered as players with low added value, emerging countries are now showing a surprising ability to innovate. What can be learned from their innovation approach?

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Companies in the developed Western world and Japan have worked for decades to improve their ability to innovate, and rival one another to find new processes, launch new technologies, invent new offerings, etc. The creation of Centers of Excellence, for example, helped R&D teams reach new heights of performance, by giving experts from different fields the opportunity to work side by side to foster creative interaction and emulation. Simultaneous engineering and modular product platforms have dramatically accelerated the development cycle in the automotive industry and other sectors.  Continuous improvement programs have also driven spectacular performance and productivity improvements.

Yet, for all their fire-power, the innovation machines devised by large Western organizations struggle to keep up in a world that is changing ever faster.  What is more, they often find themselves overtaken by innovations coming from unexpected sources.  Emerging countries may be less tightly organized, with fewer financial and material resources and less well-trained personnel, yet somehow manage to produce commercial success after success.  What is more, these successes no longer arise solely from a cost advantage, but also from exceptional innovative capacity.  This trend is becoming so common that it has given rise to a new concept—“reverse innovation,” that is, innovation born and bred in emerging markets before being extended to industrialized countries. For instance, low-cost Dacia cars, initially designed for Eastern Europe, now occupy a major position in the Western European market, and represented 25% of Renault’s total sales in 2010. Likewise, a portable ECG machine developed by General Electric for the Indian market has become a first-rate commercial success in Europe.

How can industrialized countries learn from the innovation approaches of emerging countries? More than methods and processes, it’s the mindset that makes all the difference, as we encourage you to discover in this synopsis.

Synthèse n°213b

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