Will Next Generation Technologies Come From Asia?
from the planning,-planning,-planning... dept
What's the best way to foster ongoing innovation? There seem to be two prevailing theories. One, is the way the US works, with the government mostly staying out of the game, letting bubbles grow and burst, and seeing what survives. This system relies on lots of competition, some wasted investment, but a very fast Darwinistic method for testing, discarding and re-testing ideas. This has definitely worked for some technologies, though it seems wasteful to some. It also often (though, not always) leads to de facto, rather than agreed up on standards. However, another theory is that governments need to help stimulate interest in innovation, and that seems to be the prevailing theory in Asia. You can see it in the speed with which a country like South Korea has become a broadband and wireless powerhouse. It doesn't do away with competition at all, but tries to make it more directed. So, it's interesting to read an article that compares the "next generation" technology initiatives being pushed by the governments of Japan, South Korea and China. The article seems to suggest that the innovation in these areas is likely to come from these three countries, rather than elsewhere -- which might be true, but doesn't seem to take into account what happens if they make choices that the market doesn't accept, or if others come along outside the standardized process to create something that does take off. Already, we can see some of this in the efforts to standardize what "4G" wireless technologies will be -- which is shaping up to be a battle between South Korean and Japanese interests. While American and European companies are picking sides, is the core of the innovation going to come from these planned systems, or is it more likely to come from the chaos of the completely open market?