Found in the Field · Innovation & Creativity

How is Southeast Asia lagging in innovation?

Found this.

Alpha Catalyst writes, on their blog ‘Stimulating Innovation in Southeast Asia’:


‘The main barrier to innovation is mindset’


[In a panel discussion exploring the topic of innovation in Southeast Asia], ‘Detlef Reis (Founding Director of Thinkergy) said that the main difference between the European ecosystem and Asia’s is the culture,’ as it influences how employers and employees interact and behave.

‘Asian organisations tend to have higher levels of hierarchy, leading to a higher power distance. With Asians being collectivists rather than individualists, they are less verbal and outspoken with their thoughts and ideas. Hence, the main barrier towards innovation is the mindset.’

Which is why, the panelists quoted in the story concurred, innovations work best when initiated from the higher ups. But they have to really mean it, ‘rather than giving mere commands.’

Reticence to try new things is another hindrance to innovation.

‘Another barrier discussed was the retirement issue within the older generation workforce. As they approach retirement age… they opt for less risky or tedious projects. [This is] possibly due to the high responsibility or energy investment needed. In addition, risk and failure acceptance was seen to be low overall, and is comparatively lower internationally.’

But while Asians tend to hold back from expressing their ideas and thoughts, the authors write, ‘digital tools… can provide the avenue for expression and sharing of ideas’. Which means people can share honestly, and the heads of organizations can see clearly what the collective insights really are without the block that comes from hierarchies.

Read the story at blog ‘Stimulating Innovation in Southeast Asia’:


Risk and failure [non-]acceptance

Wow. This is a big deal, to explore this in more detail, in order to illuminate to CEOs in Southeast Asia why this is such a big problem if you want to really find the new, true, next big idea is important for Design Kompany, and to me, because nothing interesting will happen unless we have a major shift in the way we think about failure and how it’s a part of success. It’s not easy, around here, to find my way towards sharing in the way that is the most real, because peopel are really worried about looking bad. This is not unique to Southeast Asia, however. And as we have more stuff online and more opportunities to look bad, the worse it is. Risk-averse culture is not fun, though, because nothing interesting will bubble up in that.

Gosh. Growing up in the United States and having entrepreneurs around me all my life, and seeing the beauty of an agile approach to design thanks to many clients and colleagues in Seattle, there is much more to elaborate on here.

I will do that. In S P A C E. At S P A C E’s post. Which is for members-only.