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Innovation commercialisation holds big potential for Asia

14 December 2012

(From left) Dr Lee, Dr Chen, Prof Yeung and moderator Prof Sheila Wang of the NUS Business School during the Asia's high technology future panel discussion

"The commercialisation of innovation will be big in Asia", thanks to the growing population in the region and individuals with high-growth aspirations. Professor Bernard Yeung, Stephen Riady Distinguished Professor and Dean of the NUS Business School, expressed optimism about the opportunities in the region but said that a good ecosystem comprising "people with guts, trust in society, investors and fair economies" has to first exist for innovation to thrive.

Prof Yeung made these observations at a public forum organised by the NUS Business School and the Stanford Graduate School of Business which explored the issues and challenges of start-up incubators in Asia. The event attracted key representatives from academia, practitioners and investors across Asia.

Offering China's perspective, Dr Dongmin Chen, Dean of the School of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Peking University in China, said that as the country gears up to double its Gross Domestic Product by 2020, it will tap on innovation to achieve the target. Peking University is doing its part to contribute to the national economic growth through its six incubators, with plans for more in the future.

Prof Yeung, Dr Chen and Dr Johnsee Lee, Chairman of the Development Centre for Biotechnology, Taiwan were the panellists in the "Incubating Asia's High Tech Future" segment.

Another panel consisting of Professor Jesper Sorensen of the Stanford Graduate School of Business; Mr Vineet Rai, Partner & Managing Director of Aavishkaar, India; and Dr Frank Levinson, Managing Director of Small World Group gave insights into the social impact of start-up incubators. The Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies (SEED) helps address the needs of the poor in developing countries, shared Prof Sorensen. SEED partners organisations beyond the US and is setting up hubs to help entrepreneurs.

The panellists were later asked questions which included whether commercial and social returns were conflicting or complementing, how to ensure an effective bridge between technological innovation and social mission, and the challenges of the incubation scene in Singapore.