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Innovation is a driver of growth and will continue to be so. It also contributes to boosting per capita income. The capacity to innovate is important in sustaining economic growth, capitalizing on future economic opportunities, and meeting the challenges presented by the growing knowledge-based workforce, intelligent markets, and an increasingly connected and competitive global economy. Innovation is about doing new things and drawing on knowledge or creativity to find new and better ways to add value to products, services, and processes. In the organizational context, innovation may be linked to performance and growth through improvements in efficiency, productivity, quality, competitive positioning, and market share.
The APO organized a fact-finding mission to gain an in-depth understanding of innovation. The five-member mission visited France to attend the OECD Forum 2007 on Innovation, Growth, and Equity and then met representative of the Global Competitiveness Network of the World Economic Forum and Institute of Management Development in Switzerland.
As a follow-up to the fact-finding mission, two series of Expert Roundtable Meetings on Innovation were held, with the first in Langkawi, Malaysia, 27−29 August 2007. The meeting held in Singapore, 20−22 November, was a continuation of the deliberations to: a) analyze the results of the fact-finding mission on innovation and competitiveness; b) develop an APO innovation framework based on country clusters; c) identify the distinguishing factors and recommend innovation strategies for different country clusters based on stage of development; and d) formulate a blueprint on innovation and competitiveness for the APO.
The second meeting, organized in collaboration with SPRING Singapore, was attended by six country experts from Malaysia, Japan, Republic of China, Singapore, and the Philippines along with three observers and led by Prof. Sang Chan Park, Chief Expert from the Republic of Korea. The meeting followed up on action plans devised at the first meeting to refine the framework, reconfigure the matrix of strategies, and formulate future action plans. Discussions focused on gaps and recommendations on innovation strategies by country cluster in preparation for the finalization of the white paper on the APO Innovation Initiative, which will include the APO framework on innovation, innovation gap measurement, recommendations on strategies, and action plans under the APO innovation framework.