Thursday, August 13, 2009

Creativity in India or China?

Creativity in China? Are you kidding?

China has been long known for command and control structure, very process oriented, manufacturing economy. Creativity cannot exist in such discipline environment.

Comparing potential of creativity in India and China, India has a better chance...

I had the above world view for years

Compare the history of India and China, Indians were thinkers and invented zero and hence mathematics, where as Chinese invented paper, printing press among others.

That distinction is still relevant today as Indians have excelled in Software Industry where as China in Manufacturing Industry.

My above view got reinforced further after working first hand with Chinese colleagues (both mainland Chinese and ethnic Chinese)

I found Indians to be good at managing uncertainty, making assumptions, get some thing working, thinking out of the box, having big picture and on the other hand Chinese to be very process oriented, disciplined, focused , capable of flawless execution of projects at large scale.

My inference was that Indian companies will tend to be more creative than Chinese companies. Creativity has better chance in India

This view was challenged recently and I found, like many others, I might be wrong about creativity in China.

Global Consumer Brands can be proxy measure of Business Creativity

Name any global Indian brand in consumer space? I cannot think of any. Only few aspiring global brands are of Software Companies and these do not belong to consumer space

Name global Chinese brands in consumer space? You have some and many more are growing: Haier, Lenovo, Huawei…

How can Chinese companies be more business creative and build brands? It is again with the same process approach discussed earlier that they are applying to creativity. Chinese companies, combining process approach with execution excellence and global ambitions, are developing global consumer brands better than India. Haven’t you seen spectacular display of creativity during Beijing Olympics (Flawless execution)?

Chinese creativity style is collective or mass creativity rather than lone star creativity culture found in western world and India.

If a Chinese leader understands importance of creativity and wants his staff to develop mass creativity, his staff will take this task as a holy grail. They will do everything in their capacity to give their sincere shot. These collective sincere efforts even with less individual contribution can deliver results.

So China only needs few leaders who understand importance of creativity and have global ambitions, rest everything will follow.

In contrast, in India apart from leaders, followers should also understand importance of creativity and their version of creativity should match with their leaders. So India needs far more number of creative people and their collective synchronization to make any creative impact.

Which is more difficult to execute? India model or China model?

Incidentally, the only Indian company which comes close to building global consumer brands is Tatas and guess from whom Ratan Tata got inspired? Well China …

“About four years ago we decided to look at ourselves and our goals in a much bigger and bolder way than we had in the past. The genesis of this came from a little comparative study we did of India and China. I realized the difference was the scale of each thing they undertook. …I realized that with almost everything China did big, they grew into it very quickly. Their growth rate momentum supported that.”

In China, anything can be created even Creativity!!