I must admit to having a large bee in my bonnet about this topic. If you think of Innovation as a purely human activity then it is possible to innovate successfully amongst any groups of people, in any country in the world – in fact anywhere.
Before you run away to base your latest innovative enterprise in Tibet there are one or two issues to consider. First of all there is the subject of resourcefulness. People the world over are creative. They solve everyday problems in unique ways. I have trouble changing a bicycle tyre with tools from a cycle shop, can you imagine changing a car or even a truck tyre with just basic tyre levers and some soapy water? Who can accomplish this? Teenage boys in Malawi. Trade embargoes have brought countries such as Iran and Cuba to their knees but cars, trucks and factory machinery soldier on. This is old stuff right?
Not so! Motor manufacturers have left the production of prestigious prototypes to Indian design studios and Mexican factories produce high spec components for the US aircraft industry.
This is a long winded way of saying to the so called developed world ‘watch out’. Resourcefulness abounds. Innovation is like a race run by humans. Some of us have a head start, some have good running shoes and some do not. Those still at the starting line are simply strapped for resources. When they finally get them, they are more than capable of running faster than everyone else. Why is that? The people that are left behind have had years (centuries) of having to think creatively. As they have developed, they have not overburdened themselves with education systems that strangle creativity. Cultural systems have allowed knowledge to be collected and passed down through generations. Creativity and Knowledge is a very powerful combination indeed.
Anything is possible given the resources! Who are you backing to win the Innovation race?