Asia needs to innovate to compete with the globe

SINGAPORE, June 25, 2007 (AFP) – From China to Singapore, Asia must nurture a culture of innovation if the region is to emerge as a formidable global player, the World Economic Forum (WEF) on East Asia was told Monday. With the Cold War over, nations around the world are now in a race for knowledge, and technology can mean the difference in who remains on top, they said.

“Innovation comes from countries that have the most educated workforce,” Jim Goodnight, chief executive of US-based business intelligence software services firm SAS, told delegates on the final day of the two-day forum.

“I’ve often said that we’re no longer in a Cold War that we once were, where we were in an arms race. Today’s race is a race for minds and whichever country, whichever region can create the greatest set of minds are the ones that will eventually dominate the world.”

While some Asian countries are stamping their mark on the global stage, only two from the region — Singapore and Japan — were in the top 10 of the WEF’s latest international survey on competitiveness, WEF officials have noted.

Speakers at the forum, attended by about 300 delegates from 26 countries, said governments will play an important role in nur