Indovation versus Chinovation

Indovation on a mission; Chinovation still soul-searching

by Yann Cramer

Indovation versus ChinovationI like to do some basic research before going to a conference as a participant – even as a speaker.

Prior to attending Marc Giget’s conference in Paris on the emerging Chinese and Indian models of innovation, I started my basic research by googling the words ‘indovation’ and ‘chinovation’ that I had front of mind. While both searches return the usual 10+ pages of links, I was struck by a big difference.

Indovation has the honours of an FT article, the age of ‘indovation’ dawns, and a wikipedia definition:

“The unique process by which innovations are developed in India to serve a large number of people affordably and sustainably in response to conditions of scarcity and diversity.”

Indeed, when Tata develops the Nano low-cost city car for the Indian market it gets right to the heart of the customer’s need, which is not about dashboard widgets or a turbo-charged engine, but about mobility. When a GE Healthcare team in India develops a compact electrocardiogram (ECG) device that is not only lighter (hence more mobile) than the existing machines but, crucially, ten times cheaper, they address the need for modern healthcare to reach millions in rural India, even if it comes at the expense of the latest degree of sophistication in imagery and other features.

By contrast, the Chinovation search yields very little apart from some connection to low-cost manufacturing channels. It is as if the concept of Chinovation is still in a process of soul searching (despite China innovating on a massive scale in proportion of its economy), while Indovation has found its mission statement.

I know this doesn’t sound like a very scientific assessment. But I’m glad I did this quick search: I’m even more eager to hear what Marc Giget has to say.

And you? Do you have a vision of what Chinovation is or could be about?

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Yann Cramer is an innovation learner, practitioner, sharer, teacher. He’s lived in France, Belgium and the UK, he’s travelled six continents to create development opportunities with customers or suppliers, and run workshops on R&D and Marketing. He writes on and on twitter @innovToday.

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No Comments

  1. Richard Topolewski on January 7, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    Chinovation is being pushed by the central government as part of the indigenous innovation. The push is creating incentives to get patent counts up and that is creating junk patents.
    China adopted and followed US Patent model till it’s most recent revision, where it diverged slightly with it requirement to identify genetic source. India has always expected the patent system to support indovation’s mission statement, so never been so aligned with the American Patent approach, like China has been. So indovation has existed for some time, chinovation was recreated by the Chinese government recently although China has an ancient history of inovation with Gun Powder, Paper, and Paper Money.

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