In the first week the classes were categorized into two ecosystem topics: NYC localization (day 1 and 2) and globalization (day 3). The company visits in afternoons were associated with each topic focus: while NYU urban science center and executive job consulting sessions are mainly targeted on NYC, the law firm Friedman Kaplan Seiler LLP has more concerns on international and emerging markets to solicit the legal tools and instruments for business success.
One interesting thing is that the class framework of NYC innovation ecosystem can be very much mirrored and testified by daily occurrence in reality. If you walk outside, you will amazingly see how people are always ready to help each other, strangers and newcomers, in this global city. In spite of tough competition, local small businesses such as a 20 m2 food store or little restaurant can often show very impressive creativities and passions to deliver differentiated, outstanding services. Strong sense of city belonging and multi-culture dissolving (inter-reliance) are the two key drivers for NYC’s evolving, integrated ecosystem of innovation.
When expanding the concept to a global scale, the ecosystem has not been addressed clearly in the class. While the Pfizer presentation by Aaron in day 3 has much attributed the company’s success in emerging markets e.g. China to its operating efficiency, marketing strategy and financial management, these are not really the factors by that the company could differentiate from its global competitors. To my knowledge, at least he ignored or purposely avoided talking one important component – integration with China’s current ecosystem. In fact, for the past 10-15 years, all the globally leading companies in different industries (except Google & Facebook due to political conflict) have obtained significant market growth and profits in China – for China, these companies also led to huge foreign direct investment and local economic growth. It is a win-win situation that arises from China’s open market policy and nothing about corruption and unfair competition. As long as you are the leader (not No 2) in specific industry e.g. Pfizer in pharmacy, the local governments in China have been trying much efforts and supports to engage with you, and make you succeed in the mainland – this is what exactly happened during the past 10-15 years. While some inferior, less successful companies may enviously blame the others’ success to inside trading and illegal exchange, those who keep on criticizing corruptions (e.g. some international law agency) may ultimately miss the bigger picture – today in China and tomorrow in other emerging markets. After all, China is going to move from developing to developed country and the whole structure will shift from investment-focus to consumption-focus. Other emerging markets like India will evolve larger population and higher market potential but definitely require a different business model.