Innovating Across Countries

Innovation seems to be at the top of everyone’s mind in conceiving, planning, developing, and managing projects around the world. The 2010 PMI Global Congress for EMEA took place in Milan last week with an inside look at emerging project management trends, skills, issues, and tools. Kicking off the event with the keynote address, author and thought leader John Kao addressed the importance of corporate innovation and transformation and its impact on the future of business. With all of the buzz and interest around this hot topic, one can only ask what is the innovation posture around the world?

The entrepreneurial and creative forces that are steadily developing in key world regions promise exciting new opportunities. Innovation and creativity served as the central theme for the European Union during the past year. With initiatives spanning businesses, governments, and universities, Brussels organized events and developed networks devoted to exploring and implementing new approaches to nurturing innovation. Best practices emerged from across Europe including programs involving entrepreneurship, learning, art, digital entertainment, cross-cultural management, and green tech initiatives. Companies have actively sponsored new product development programs and competitions with engineering, business, and design schools to train the future innovators of Europe. There is a renaissance of the arts, design, and technology that’s inspiring new ideas and opportunities.

Across the Atlantic and back in the US of A, the entrepreneurial spirit and new business missions continue to propel the next generation of opportunities. Green tech and Web 2.0 technologies have served as a driving force for new start-ups and ventures. Silicon Valley serves as the meeting point for talent, ideas, and funding for local and foreign entrepreneurs. The buzz and energy is in the air, from eco networks to cloud computing to solar power. Incubators are growing quickly while universities and companies are exchanging talent and ideas. These networks are reaching across the oceans as universities and companies develop new product ideas and go to market efforts around the world.

Emerging markets are leading the way through innovative business models while establishing strong links in the global value chain. Despite lower market demand, the IMF has forecasted a 7% growth rate for emerging Asia (excluding Japan and Australia) in 2010, with China (9%) and India (6.4%) leading the way through investment and stronger domestic demand. The Middle East and African regions are receiving increased attention and investment from companies. One of the most inspiring initiatives discovered in 2009 is the Vital Voices Network which assists women entrepreneurs and business leaders in developing countries to realize initiatives that contribute to the local economy. A virtual network has been created in order to encourage exchange and assistance between women business professionals all over the world. Yes, the world is innovating across the Web.

Global market opportunities are growing slowly yet steadily. It’s time to harness and transform creative ideas into successful business results. This highlights the need to leverage project management skills and capabilities in order to execute from concept to launch. Take stock of your PM inventory and your global network in identifying new approaches and solutions. A good dose of inspiration combined with steadfast execution will pave the way for project success and future market opportunities..

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