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China towards a 21st century innovation economy

Updated: Mar 7,2016 2:03 PM     China Daily

The government’s strategy for having China avoid the middle-income trap includes the construction of a 21st century innovation economy led by private enterprises. New private enterprises continue to be launched every day, and they exemplify the tremendous potential that is here, available to be tapped. Given what a challenging year 2015 was for the global economy, I was impressed by the continuing growth in China’s median-level family income, as well as by the continuing decline in China’s level of energy consumption per unit of GDP.

A 21st century innovation economy must be powered by the energy of young people for bold acts of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. Research has linked human creativity to people’s intellectual breadth, their ability to frame new questions, their ability to seek new answers to old questions, and their willingness to risk being wrong-even failing. I hope the government’s first priority will be to keep pushing China’s best universities to accelerate their transformation into academic systems whose curricula, teaching methods and campus cultures reflect this research and are designed to nurture students’ creative and innovative talents.

-- Jeffrey S. Lehman, vice-chancellor, NYU Shanghai