Innovating in Asia Playbook

The 21st century is the era of Asian resurgence as a leading actor on the world stage.

Asia experienced a significant economic transformation over the past two decades. The region’s GDP tripled to $36 trillion in 2021, growing from 26% to 38% of global GDP. And a new middle class of more than 2 billion people has emerged that is becoming a force as consumers and as innovators.

The region has rapidly deepened its technological capabilities and infrastructure, accounting for nearly 40% of global growth in technology company revenue, startup funding, spending on R&D, and patents filed.

This is only the beginning. Asia is expected to grow at twice the rate of the G7 economies and increase its share of GDP to greater than 50% by 2050. The region has potential to leapfrog in technological development based on the scale of its markets, its openness to technology adoption, and its high volume of intellectual property creation.

The Innovating in Asia Playbook addresses a checklist of six questions that will guide the process of planning and implementing innovation localization in Asia.

  1. Why is innovation localization in Asia important? 

    This playbook begins with the premise “If you wish to remain competitive in Asia, you must innovate in Asia”. There are 3 reasons that localization matters: Growth Opportunities, Ecosystem Capabilities, and Market Access.

  2. Which mega trends are impacting Asian markets? 

    Four megatrends will have an outsized impact on Asian markets: Digital Trade, Future Mobility, Manufacturing Transformation, and Energy Transition. Understanding trends that impact your business is critical.

  3. How do you define your local innovation strategy? 

    Innovation management begins by defining your organizational ambition and scope of activities in Asia. Will you balance development of the core business and exploration of new opportunities, or prioritize one focus area?

  4. Where do you locate your innovation footprint? 

    Asia is home to 6 of the top 10 science and technology city clusters and is home to 60% of the global population. Selecting the right innovation hub location is a function of proximity to internal teams, customers, and talent.

  5. What organizational structure suits your goals? 

    Six elements must be aligned between global and regional stakeholders to maximize the probability of accomplishing innovation goals, while operating within organizational constraints.

  6. What common challenges should you anticipate? 

    Although most executives agree that innovation is critical for business growth in Asia, very few are satisfied with outcomes. We look at common challenges related to vision, structure, team, and processes.

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