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Opinion: Innovation is just half the battle [video]

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Opinion: Innovation is just half the battle [video] | Thaiger

PHUKET: In a world where the only constant is change, it is interesting to note that Thailand is now gaining a reputation for innovation.

The Gazette‘s cover story this week highlights just one of the many Thai innovations that won prizes at the 44th International Exhibition of Inventions, held in Geneva last month.

Among the other big Thai winners in Geneva were an industrial tube heat exchanger, a cosmetic phytogel hydration mask and a portable aflatoxin sensor for agricultural products and animal feed.
We’re not quite sure what any of those things do, but they are obviously exceptional enough for the Geneva judges to pick them above the hundreds of other inventions submitted by innovators from the more than 40 countries represented at the exhibition.

Also recently, the Gazette reported on two young Phuketians who won silver at the International Young Inventors Olympiad in Malaysia with their automatic plant-watering system, suitable for overworked condo dwellers (or the lazy).

10-year-old Phimphan Sompranon explains how her Smart Watering Controller can help save house-plants from lazy owners. Video: PGTV

This week, Prime Minister Gen Prayuth Chan-o-cha urged Thais to embrace innovation as the way forward in both trade and product development, saying that he believed there were many good innovators in Thailand and the country would develop further if they worked together.

Some of our more trollish readers (you know who you are) may be urged to comment that Thailand’s international reputation is not so much framed around innovation, as entrenched in reproduction and repackaging of others’ ideas and intellectual property.

Considering how often this newspaper reports police raids on vendors selling knock-off Gucci handbags and Ray-Ban sunglasses, you could be forgiven for thinking that is the norm. That industry is, however, fueled by consumer demand, the same consumer demand that has driven the opening of thousands of ‘Thai’ restaurants throughout the western world, regardless of whether there is a Thai chef in the kitchen.

Copying success is, unfortunately, good business. More importantly, it is easy business, wherever you happen to be in the world. Innovation, on the other hand, requires a sterner measure of commitment on the part of business leaders to promote their products and create consumer demand for them.

While the Gazette applauds PM Prayuth’s call for Thais to innovate, we hope he will be equally insistent in encouraging the business community to sell unique Thai innovations, rather than emulating the obvious and importing the unoriginal.

 

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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