Dr. Denis Simon speaks on China's talent challenges and sustainability

Dr. Denis Simon addressed a special international seminar on talent issues in the Chaoyang District of Beijing. Chaoyang District is one of the key commercial districts in Beijing, China's capital city. It also is home to many foreign embassies and the representative offices of key international organizations. The city is attempting to attract high-end talent from home and abroad as a way to raise its profile as a center of culture, innovation, and education in Beijing.

Dr. Simon highlighted the fact that Chaoyang is competing with many other urban areas in China and around the Asia-Pacific region for talented individuals. To succeed in its quest to become a truly cosmopolitan hub of creativity, Chaoyang must find a way to differentiate itself. It also must deal with a number of vexing problems that affect the quality of life and work, including the often problematic car traffic that plagues the area. Dr. Simon suggested that Chaoyang gather more research-based data so that it could fashion a marketing campaign that would specifically attract the interest of Chinese and foreigners interested in living in China.

Innovation and Sustainable Development

Earlier this month, Dr. Simon provided one of the two keynote addresses at the Sixth International Conference on Soft Sciences in Beijing, China. The conference centered on sustainable development; Dr. Simon's presentation was on the interface between globalization, innovation, and sustainability.

In his remarks, Dr. Simon highlighted the notion that even with advanced levels of high performance innovation, the imperatives of sustainable development require a series of socio-political and behaviorial changes as well, without which there will be no further room to support economic growth on a global scale. He emphasized that fields such as "biomimicry" hold great potential because they represent approaches to innovation that are in harmony with nature and try to leverage the successful systems already present in the natural environment.

The conference was organized by the China Soft Sciences Association, which is comprised of leading Chinese scholars as well as current and former senior government officials who have worked on science and technology affairs in the PRC. The audience, which numbered close to 300, included a broad array of representatives from across Chinese universities, think tanks, and government agencies at the national and local levels.

Dr. Simon's scholarship focuses on technological innovation and global management of technology, international business strategy, and comparative government-business relations, with special reference to China and the Pacific Rim. He co-authored the 2009 book China's Emerging Technological Edge: The Role of High-End Talent with Cong Cao (Cambridge University Press).