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Innovation from Emerging Markets, 13.07.2017

Jürgen Mühlbacher, WU Department of Management, and Arnold Schuh, WU Competence Center for Emerging Markets & CEE, organized a panel session on “Innovation from Emerging Markets” for the 19. Annual GBATA Conference in Vienna. Together with Eesa Bastaki (University of Dubai, UAE), Stanley Mukhola (Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa) and Oleg Zhilkin (People’s Friendship University of Russia) they discussed innovation in and from emerging markets, particularly from a regional perspective.

Eesa Bastaki showed how Dubai, United Arab Emirates, is betting on the import of leading technology in the areas of transportation (e.g., hyperloop, autonomous driving), health care, clean water, renewable energy and education as highlighted in the UAE National Innovation Strategy. Dubai wants to be on the leading edge in these selected technology areas. It is luring innovative firms from all over the world to come to Dubai and develop their projects in cooperation with local talent. In this context, he also presented “The Museum of the Future”, a unique incubator for futuristic innovations and designs.

Stanley Mukhola pointed out the weak innovation performance of South Africa. Low R&D expenditures, a low number of researchers, and little initiative from firms are major weaknesses of the South African innovation system. Innovation is necessary to fight basic problems such as provision of clean water, affordable health care, improved access to the internet and electricity in rural areas, and fighting crime. Foreign firms often overlook these basic problems and have different priorities. He called for more indigenous innovation by domestic entrepreneurs who are inspired by the challenges facing the country. Promising areas outlined in the 10-Year Plan on “Innovation towards a knowledge-based economy”  are among others biotechnology, ICT, energy security and climate science.Emerging Markets as a Source of Innovation: A South African Perspective 

Arnold Schuh presented selected findings of a study on innovation performance of EU-CEE countries. The EU-CEE countries try to catch-up to the leading European countries in their innovation performance. They are doing well in many areas ranging from software, over special machinery to electric cars but so far these are mainly isolated initiatives by individual firms or happen in some regional pockets of excellence. Schuh recommends that CEE countries should focus on “home grown innovation” coming out of a local  innovation ecosystem and on joint efforts with foreign firms to upgrade value chain activities countries. 

“Innovation from Emerging Markets – The CEE Perspective"