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On September the 10th-12th, business leaders from top enterprises convened with leaders from government, media, academia, and civil society in Tianjin, People’s Republic of China – the leading dragon of the Asian continent and world economy. As part of the 7th Annual Meeting of the New Champions, 1,900 participants from 90 countries gathered under the theme Creating Value Through Innovation and focused on how innovation plays a principal role in generating more and better value for all of us in the 21st century. By equipping these leaders across all sectors of society with new intellectual insights, the hope is that participants can leave the conference with newfound knowledge that will help improve the organizations they lead and diverse societies they belong to.

The topics of intellectual discussion were primarily anchored by the field of business model innovation in China, Japan, and Europe. For example, on the second day of the conference, participants discussed what capabilities and strategies could help China’s businesses enhance their innovative edge in today’s competitive global landscape. The topics of discussion however, were not solely geographically based in one specific country. Most questions concerned all businesses across all parts of the world. Another primary subject of the conference for example, was how business leaders chose to confront disruptive innovation, a type of innovation that alters an existing market and value network by displacing an earlier form of technology.

Henry Chesbrough, leading professor and faculty director of the Garwood Center for Corporate Innovation served as the select participant representing the Haas School of Business. He served as the moderator of the forum for three different sessions and was thus, able to intimately interact with global university leaders from academic institutions such as the University of Singapore and Carnegie Mellon. During his several breaks as a forum moderator, Chesbrough discussed with other participants China’s innovation policy and the importance of investing in its autonomous basic research to gain further experience and opportunities with open innovation. In a hallway conversation, Chesbrough also learned of China’s decision to cut the “extravagant spending” that was being used to further educate executives in business schools across the country – a decision that may have weighty consequences in the future.

By conglomerating the top business, government, media, academic, and civil leaders across all different backgrounds, the forum served as a unique intellectual hub where invaluable knowledge and experiences were openly shared among conference participants. Although the forum took place in China, the unfolding results of the meeting will know no physical boundaries. Whether we are aware of it or not, every single one of our lives are likely to be positively affected in some way or another by the many intellectual exchanges that took place in the course of these three important days.