Key Speaker for Government’s “Women in Global Business” Conference

Emma is invited to speak and present a case study as to the key ingredients to achieving global success at the July

Women in Global Business Speaker Series.

Here are some of the details being shared to promote the event:

Australian women will have the opportunity to hear from prominent women who have succeeded internationally at the Women in Global Business Speaker Series in July and August.The annual event held in states and territories across the country will feature speakers from a variety of industry sectors, providing businesswomen with practical advice on venturing overseas.

Women in Global Business national program manager, Cynthia Balogh, believe the event is beneficial in helping women overcome international barriers, particularly those in the Middle East.

“The Middle East presents quite specific barriers for women; some of the Asian and South American markets can do the same,” she said.

Balogh told Dynamic Export the event offers business owners the opportunity to learn and network with like-minded people.

“It’s an opportunity to see their role models, who have often had quite tough journeys to expand their businesses into those market places, women often learn from seeing role models. It helps them overcome some confidence issues, whether it’s personal confidence or confidence in business,” Balogh said.

Digivizer CEO, Emma Lo Russo, who will be speaking at the Sydney event can relate to the personal challenges women face when growing their business.

Lo Russo believes the event will provide shared mentorship and allow women to learn from real-life experiences.  “Having real honest examples of what works, is quite empowering. Instead of feeling like you have to navigate the unknown or have a goal and do it alone”.

Details & registration for the event can be found here :

Thursday 26th July 2012

8.30am – 12.30pm

NSW Trade and Investment Centre, Level 47, MLC Centre, 19 Martin Place, Sydney

I’ll post more about my key points to achieving international success here soon.

When One Business Just Isn’t Enough: How to run a portfolio Business

Emma was recently interviewed by Suzi Dafnis of Australian Businesswomen’s Network.  Here she introduces Emma to her network as:

“For many of us, running one business is more than enough. My guest today runs two businesses. Emma Lo Russo is an experienced innovator, organisation leader and marketer. She has brought together her experience gained from leadership positions across a broad spectrum of industries to two businesses.

Digivizer, a business that delivers the digital footprint of the people you know (i.e. your clients) and the people you should know. Digivizer looks at who you should connect to through social media and Validity Coaching, a collective of experienced executive coaches.

Emma joins me to talk about the pros and cons of running a portfolio business, that is, a collection of businesses. We look at:

  • Does running two businesses impact the effectiveness of one or more of the business?
  • How can a split focus help you get better business results?
  • What are the challenges of running more than one business, and how do you overcome them?

Enjoy this interview with Emma Lo Russo.”

http://www.abn.org.au/site/article/Video-When-One-Business-Just-Isnt-Enough-How-to-run-a-portfolio-business-Emma-Lo-Russo-interview

The “If not, why not” diversity question your organization needs to be asking now

This article was first published in VALIDITY COACHING’S FORETHOUGHT newsletter:

The “If not, why not” diversity question your organization needs to be asking now

gender_equality_by_meppolThere has been considerable debate in recent media and boardrooms following the announcement in December 2009 by the ASX Corporate Governance Council of their proposal to expand the Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations to require each entity listed on the Australian Securities Exchange to adopt and disclose a diversity policy that includes measurable objectives relating to gender.

Within their suggested diversity policy, listed entities will be required, on an “if not, why not?” basis, to disclose in their annual report:

  • Their achievement against the gender objectives set by their board; and
  • The number of women employees in the whole organization, in senior management and on the board.

Alongside the new recommendations, changes will be made to the guidance commentary to:

  • Encourage nomination committees of listed entities to include within their charters a requirement to continuously review the proportion of women at all levels in the company. Commentary will be required to highlight the responsibility of the nomination committee to address strategies on board gender diversity and diversity in general.
  • Require that the performance review of the board include consideration of diversity criteria in addition to skills
  • To disclose what skills and diversity criteria they look for in any new board appointment.

There has been much lip service paid to the issue of gender balance in the past, and with the council expecting to provide an exposure draft of the proposed changes to the Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations for public consultation in early 2010, with an anticipated implementation date of 1 July 2010, soft-discussions will no longer suffice.

Many organizations who have promoted an equal opportunity and pro-women position, still have considerably fewer numbers of women in senior executive level positions or at the board than their male counterparts.  When they do, they tend to skew towards what is perceived to be the “soft skilled” roles of Human Resources, Customer Services and Marketing.  Evidence has proved that a more balanced gender representation across organizations has not necessarily followed the talk.

It is expected that by placing this issue firmly at the boardroom table, the question of “if not, why not” will be applied.  However every manager at all levels of an organization should be looking at the answers to the question of “why are we at this point at all?”

What are the barriers to building greater gender diversity?

One of the biggest barriers to gender diversity is an organization’s (and broader profession’s) cultures built around people’s historically-based and inherent beliefs, behaviours and biases. Generally these are around the previously designed and seen to be successful roles of the “perfect worker” and that of the “perfect mother”, which can also be culturally and socially reinforced.

It is unlikely that organization’s today would have an overtly discriminatory or conscious block to women progressing with equal opportunity into senior ranks. In the majority of cases the barriers are more likely to be delivered through indirect organizational messaging and policies, poor role-modelling, inconsistent behaviours, little formalized support, too little flexibility and too few examples.

In a Catalyst research paper of 2007 that collected responses of 1231 male and female participants across US & EMEA titled “The Double-Bind Dilemma for Women in Leadership: Dammed if You Do, Doomed if You Don’t”, found that women faced clear predicaments in the workplace that their male counterparts didn’t.  Some of these were around stereotyped expectations and behaviours. The Predicaments found for women in the research included:

  1. Extreme Perceptions – Too soft, too tough, and never just right. When women acted in ways that are consistent with gender stereotypes, they were viewed as less competent leaders and when women acted in ways that are inconsistent with such stereotypes, they were considered unfeminine.
  2. The High Competence Threshold – Women leaders face higher standards and lower rewards than male leaders. Respondents’ comments revealed that women leaders are subjected to higher competency standards. On top of doing their job, women have to prove that they can lead, over and over again and manage stereotypical expectations constantly.
  3. Competent but Disliked – Women leaders are perceived as competent or liked, but rarely both. Respondents’ comments revealed that when women behave in ways that are traditionally valued for men leaders (e.g. assertively), they are viewed as more competent, but also not as effective interpersonally as women who adopt a more stereotypically feminine style.

In summary, gender stereotypes misrepresent the true talents of women leaders and can potentially undermine women’s contributions to organizations as well as their own advancement options.

The consequences of not dealing with culture can be dire to organizational strength.  Here in Australia, Melbourne Business School associate professor Isabel Metz (as reported in The Australian Financial Review), managed to survey 44 senior women who left the banking and finance sector to verify their reasons for departure.

Although the sample was small, the findings speak volumes.  Almost half (45 per cent) of the interviewees who left their jobs after returning from maternity leave, abandoned plans to continue working for their organisation because of unfriendly work-family rather practices that didn’t give them a fair opportunity to return or to continue to work, such as a lack of part-time positions or expectations of very long work hours.

And Twenty-seven per cent of the women cited broken employment promises and legal obligations upon their return from maternity leave as a primary reason for their departure.

The reason we don’t hear much about these soft-discriminatory practices in organizations is the negative stereotyping or consequences in future employment for women who are seen to be “taking up the torch” or “mounting campaigns” that promote the rights, opportunities and equal numbers of women in the organization.  Women can also feel the consequences of resentment amongst her peers and her seniors from those who see the argument as one-sided and that the issues of unfriendly work-family practices impact both male and female workers equally. 

Some women who have made it to the top and have children and who are seen to be making themselves available 24/7 can also face negative stereotyping by others who believe they are not meeting their family responsibilities or are not setting the right example of balance to others.  This issue of stereotyping is unlikely to be applied in the same way to their male counterparts working in the same way.

Needless to say the question from most should be “what type of organization puts pressure on female and male employees to be available to work 24/7 or excessive hours over long periods of time”.   The burning and churning of talented and professional people, whilst maybe fuelling innovative SME start-ups, eventually takes its toll on larger organizations. 

Organizations are looking to see how they can address the issues of work/life balance and flexible work practices to ensure talent growth and energy-sustainability and to secure a continuous tap into the much wider and more experienced talent pool. It is about having the courage to allow talent to spawn in organizations – without trying to camouflage it with gender biases.  The financial benefits will follow.

Organizations of the future will see the question of gender diversity not being about the issue of developing women as a “special needs” program – it will instead focus on creating contexts in our eco-systems that provide women and all employees with opportunities to deliver value.

Organizations will focus much more around the greater opportunity of individual talent management and contribution.  If you have a star performer or developing talent with loads of potential, irrespective of gender, the organization will work to provide a custom program of development to help them realize their success in all aspects that are important to them – in their careers, personal, health, spiritual and social lives. The real job of managing will be to remove barriers, provide employees with the right resources, step out of the way and allow them to shine.

The way employees work, where they work, when they work will be inconsequential to how they successfully deliver the desired results and work with others in the organization.  No single rule, no single mould nor “one rule to suit the majority” will prevail. 

This type of flexible work environment will require some overhaul and change of existing systems, but these usually follow the change first in expectations and determinations of an organization’s working culture.

Supporting Gender Diversity through an organizations culture:

In addition to setting quota targets, there are some practical considerations you and your organization can consider today in answering the question of “if not, why not”:

  • Include in management agendas and communications messaging and discussions designed to bring desired cultural and behavioural changes to address gender diversity
  • Look at the requirements of the positions and determine if there are any gender bias and overhaul the specifications focusing on what business outcomes are looking to be delivered.(Research has shown that traditional managerial roles are set-typed as masculine, meaning that characteristics deemed necessary to be a successful manager are stereotypically associated with men).
  • Expose career paths & all aspects of business to your talented people.  The more visible the paths are to the top, the more choices provided to get there, the more experiences made possible and clearly made available to all talented employees irrespective of gender across the organization, the more likely the balanced take up from both sexes.
  • Identify & name your top talent – equally looking for talented female and male candidates who may be at different stages of their careers and develop custom programs to help them realize their career potential and aspirations.
  • Introduce a strong mentoring & coaching program – engaging both external and internal coaches to help executive women plan, prepare and realize their career aspirations
  • Identify where corrective coaching and changes are required to remove perception, stereotyping, behaviours and other barriers or current limitations across the senior leadership and management team
  • Encourage, introduce and financially support official networking engagements (professional & social), cross-function teamwork & leadership groupings.  Encourage these networks to be built both within and external to the organization to ensure exposure to strong role models, mentors, and key decision makers  
  • Develop and suggest strategies for promoting flexible working environments, removing barriers that allow people to deliver in diverse and flexibile environments and time frames
  • Invite, encourage, promote and champion advocates and change-drivers for gender diversity (& diversity in general) in your organization.
  • Encourage female senior executives to take an active role at mentoring, coaching & championing what is possible and identifying the key ingredients for their success.  

The old adage of “what gets measured gets done” is one of the implied principles of the ASX Corporate Governance Council’s recommendations.  One step short of enforced quotas, it relies more on the position of “naming & shaming”.  The more visibility bought to specific numeric gender targets, strategies and progress, the more likely they will be achieved. 

It is a shame that it will take legislation to put this issue and opportunity for business growth on the table.  There is much evidence to prove that diversity in the workforce is something an organization can capitalize upon.   

Our roles and responsibilities as leaders, as investors, as employees, as industry representatives – will be to hold organizations accountable for gender diversity.  Action is required and the clock is ticking. 

VALIDITY COACHING is a key sponsor of the HR Summit 2010.

Engaging China – The realities for Australian Businesses

Engaging China Realities for Australian businesses BookEmma was interviewed for an Australian Business Foundation publication called “Engaging China – The realities for Australian Businesses”.

The Australian Business Foundation is an independent organisation undertaking evidence-based research to deliver fresh insights and practical intelligence to boost Australia’s capabilities and global competitiveness.

The Australian Business Foundation undertook a study examining the current realities for Australian firms doing business with China. This study was led by international relations specialist, Dr Keith Suter with an expert team of senior journalist, Catherine Armitage and China specialists, Sara Cheng and Rab Memari of Australian Business International Trade Services.

It involved an analysis of the background to Australia-China business relationships and a series of 26 business case studies based on interviews with senior executives of Australian enterprises which have a substantiative history of doing business with China. The case studies include those for Altium, ANZ, CIROA Homewares, De Bortoli Wines, & Minter Ellison.

The aim was to analyse the actual experiences of Australian businesses operating in Chinese markets and to describe how they are developing their respective business strategies and sources of competitive advantage. This research project was designed to explore the opportunities and problems addressed by these businesses as they seek to enter, expand and maintain a competitive position in Chinese markets.

The findings provide a reality check on what is occurring on the ground, delving beyond perception and expectation of China’s growth representing either a windfall opportunity or a competitive threat to Australian business.

From the direct experiences of Australian businesses, this study aims to identify the critical issues that can prove decisive in whether businesses are likely to be successful or not in their engagement with China. These are the issues that other Australian enterprises need to attend to when they are considering how to build their own business in Chinese markets and to achieve their particular aspirations.

“Australia use to be concerned about the ‘The Tyranny of Distance’ now with the rise of Asia and China in particular we can more rightly talk about ‘The Power of Proximity’.

“This report shows that Australia’s engagement with China is more than ‘rocks and crops’ and with more Australian companies involved than just BHP Billiton and Woodside. According to Austrade research there are nearly 4500 Australian SMEs exporting to China (more than to continental Europe) and 3000 Australian companies with operations physically in China. Australian construction firms are building Chinese highways, Australian architects are designing the airports and sports stadiums of the ‘second and their tier’ cities in the interior, Australian agribusiness companies are training Chinese farmers and Australian tourist operators are helping develop China’s domestic tourist market.

“In short, there is ‘panda-monium’ amongst Australian exporters for the Chinese market and Australia’s economic engagement with China will widen and deepen in decades to come.

Tim Harcourt
Chief Economist
Australian Trade Commission

Further information can be found at http://www.abfoundation.com.au/research_knowledge/research/195

Leading your business to success

Written by Emma Lo Russo and as published in the July 2009 “Australian Businesswomen’s Network” newsletter:

Leading your business to success

Leadership.  Picture by Denis ColletteYou have the title, a team that reports to you and a defined business purpose and responsibility. The business environment and competition is tough and you are looking at new ways to ensure continued growth and success. You spend night and day wondering what else you can do, what extra advantage you can create…

It is likely you already hold that advantage. And the answer is your own employees. You can easily move from managing them to do their job (even if you do this aspect very well), to leading them to achieve something far greater – for themselves and for your business.

Understanding the difference between management and leadership

Management is about getting the best out of resources, mostly through defining responsibilities and processes, to further the goals of the company. ‘Leadership’ on the other hand is painting a common view of the future and inspiring and galvanising your team towards achieving it.

There are some key leadership characteristics and qualities to embody if you hope to achieve a powerful business advantage through your people. A key aspect is understanding that your people are entirely your business. They provide the moment of truth every time they interact with your customers, partners, suppliers, each other etc. It is important that they share and believe in the aspirations for your company. That they can see how to align their communications and activities they do every day to the greater picture you have of success, and how that can in turn help them enjoy and benefit from that success.

Acknowledging, encouraging, empowering your people to act in harmony with your vision and values is far more powerful than prescribing what you want and outlining precisely how they should be doing it.

Empowering your people

Regularly sharing your vision and plans for the future and encouraging your team to help visualise success will help stimulate growth. Looking to your people to help identify the best growth opportunities and providing regular forums for your employees to present their ideas can help grow your business. Acknowledge all good ideas, empower your people to own those ideas and reward them when they help you get to where you want to go faster. The more you can celebrate success with your employees, the greater the performance culture you are creating.

Tips to help you lead your organisation to success:

  • Paint a common view of the future and translate your vision and strategy into workable goals for your employees
  • Share your vision regularly, applying short and long-term frame of references for all projects and activities
  • Live and promote your desired culture and values
  • Model integrity in decisions, communication and treatment of people – always lead by example
  • Recognise others’ strengths and limitations – focus on building teams around individual employees'(and your own) strengths
  • Coach, mentor and develop your team – help your team members develop self-awareness and strive for personal development, helping them align their career aspirations with your business goals
  • Inspire, encourage and acknowledge action and commitment from your employees

When thinking about leadership, it is good to reflect on the line “follow me, I am right behind you”.

If you lead through inspiration, suggestion and example then your team will follow, encourage others and deliver you greater success.

To read the article in context and others on leadership go to:

http://www.abn.org.au/womeninbusiness/newsletterissue79/Leadership-Strategies-for-Women/index_landing.html

To follow Emma on Twitter: www.twitter.com/EmmaLoRusso

Get something positive out of the recession

Get Electronics WeeklyEmma Lo Russo offers five tips (to electronics organizations) for grasping opportunities created by the downturn.   Read the article as published in Electronics Weekly, 24 June 2009, and as promoted on the cover page and published on page 10.  Electronics Weekly targets electronic product organizations and electronics engineers.

Full transcript of article below:

Recessions get a bad press.  But they are really opportunities with halitosis.  Once you get over the shock, you can set to and work with the opportunities to create breakthroughs.  It’s all about channeling recessions in a positive way.

The electronics design sector is ripe for this kind of thinking.  The current recession can be deployed in your favour, to blast away the staid thinking that abounds in the sector.  That things are done the way they are done because they have always been that way is a common refrain.  Time it went the way of the thermionic valve.

Here are five tips, made with appropriate humility, that reflect the opportunities for change under the cover of the current recession:

Innovate

Nothing that has gone before will be good enough for the future.  This is code for “innovate” and innovate means doing different things in different ways, not doing things better.

So take a holistic approach to electronics design that starts with the broader desired user experience.  How do they want to interact with your product (not how you want them to interact)?Microsoft Word - electronics weekly Altium 062409,p10 Art.Lo Rus

And take a close look at the rule book on which you base your design methodology.  Does it still serve your needs, or does it now struggle to do so?  Is it based on a divide-and-conquer approach to electronics design, in which you divide the complexity of the task into manageable elements to conquer the design comlexity, only to find that you have killed off innovation?

Connectivity

It doesn’t matter how cool it is if it’s not connected.  I doubt you need reminding that connectivity is the most important attribute of any device today.  This is also code for saying that making something look cool is the minimum attribute of a successful product, and everyone will copy you very quickly.

If the past 40 years of electronics was the age of miniaturisation, we are already well into the age of connectivity.  The next generation of electronic products will not be stand-alone devices, as they have been in the past.  Instead, electronic products are being promoted, to become elements in much bigger ecosystems.  They are now the means by which users tap into these ecosystems.  The metal, silicon and plastics from which they are made become less relevant in this much broader view of design.

So, design from this perspective.  That means start (once you have worked out the desired user experience, of course) with creating the intelligence you want to pour into the product, and then, and only then, find the right device hardware into which to pour it.  After all, you don’t create a statue by starting with the mould.  You reflect first on the emotional connection you want to make with the work of art you are about to create.

Intelligence

It doesn’t matter how cool it is if it’s dumb.  Intelligence is at the core of successful products, and not just successful consumer electronic products.  The intelligence of a device is also how you will differentiate in the future, and it is much more difficult to copy than hardware. 

Designers must stop thinking of a design as discrete hardware, programmable hardware and software, and instead define a design by its functionality, and then map this functionality to the most appropriate implementation.

The true value inside tomorrow’s products is defined by the soft elements of the design.  These soft elements should be the focus and the place to start.  Don’t constrain the critical properties, its function, connectivity and the user experience of the end product before you have even started.

Changing competition

You no longer know who your competition is, or where they’re based.  Sorry for stating the obvious. But one bad thing about recessions is that they can camouflage a much larger shift that had started before the recession kicked in.

Take a deep breath, Google “innovation” and see what comes up.  These data show one thing: that the design and manufacture of products even as sophisticated as electronic components will likely be done somewhere else in the future.  The question to ask, therefore, is whether you want to play in this game, and what do you do to stay in the game?

Check your tools

Nothing should stop you from doing what you want to do, or have to do.  This is code for assess your tools and support systems right now.  If there is any aspect of what they offer, or how they work, that gets in your way, be ruthless.  Change them.  Change them now under the cover of the recession.

Recent press coverage & interviews

  • Interview with Emma Lo Russo as published in the Business Review Weekly in the August 08 issue titled “Copy, over and out” .  Report by Jeffrey Hutton.Mediaportal Report
  •  Interview with Emma Lo Russo as published in the Australian Financial Review 22 July 2008.  Report by Ben Woodhead.Mediaportal Report 
  • Coverage in Manly DailyManlyDailyAltium2
  • This is as published in Finland’s, the home of Nokia, premier electronics magazine: prosessoridoc-altium-050009p12

The Shaughnessy Report: Emma Lo Russo on Altium’s New China Strategy

The Shaughnessy Report: Emma Lo Russo on Altium’s New China Strategy    

Altium President Emma Lo Russo explains the company’s recent announcement of amnesty for illegal users of its EDA software in China. That offer is just one part of the Australian company’s strategy for gaining market share in China.

This is an audio interview.  Click to listen

Published: Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Interview with Emma Lo Russo, President of Altium Ltd

Chris Shaw of New Electronics, interviews Emma and asks about how Altium is tracking and to explain the recent changes at Altium.

Read the full interview at: http://www.newelectronics.co.uk/article/18140/Interview-with-Emma-Lo-Russo.aspx

Snippets of the transcript below:

Emma Lo Russo, president, Altium Ltd, talks with Chris Shaw

Emma Lo Russo

CS: Firstly, how has the market changed since the beginning of the recession and how has Altium addressed the challenges?

ELR: What we’ve done at Altium is aggressively regard the recession as an opportunity! To do otherwise almost inevitably leads to despair, and that’s not Altium’s style at all! Taking this stance means not shying away from a healthy dose of quick reflection and self analysis, and some quick action.

So while Altium completed our first half year (which ended 31st December 2008) back in profit, with sales and revenue growth, and paying an interim dividend to our shareholders, it was also clear that our customers would be affected by the recession. So we decided to change our business model. And we have set out a new manifesto, as it were, for electronics designers around the world, based on helping them remove barriers to innovation, helping them create next generation electronic designs, and helping them not fall into the traps that recessions can sometimes conceal.

We’ve essentially served notice on the electronics design sector by asking every designer, worldwide, one simple, searching question: what makes you so special? Because in a world in which innovation leadership is shifting, in which new economies are setting the new economic benchmarks, the traditional product differentiators of price, position and product are no longer real differentiators.

To help every electronics designer at least consider this question, and then answer it in a meaningful way, we’ve announced a way forward for those seeking to harness the greater opportunities in this new world.

We’ve permanently reduced the price of our solutions, removing a key barrier that may have stopped electronics designers accessing everything they need to take their design concepts to market ahead of the new competitors that continue to emerge. We’re helping them plug into a continuous stream of new devices, technologies and developments that keep them at the forefront of their industry.

We believe this holistic approach to electronics design, with the user’s experience firmly at the centre of the design process, is the breakthrough organisations need. And we believe this will serve as a low risk path to Altium’s unified design solution, allowing more electronics designers to pioneer the new wave of connected, intelligent, next generation electronic products.

CS: What traditional design limitations can Altium Designer resolve?

ELR: Traditionally, electronics design is a sequential process where electronics designers use a series of disconnected point tools. This approach, which we acknowledge once worked reasonably well (albeit somewhat expensively), dramatically restricts the designer in his task of creating something that breaks through the competitive clutter.

This sequential process sees electronics designers encumbered with various interfaces, a myriad of design files and numerous design methodologies. Without a single view of the electronics design process, electronics designers are not able to break free from the design limitations of yesteryear.

So we like to think that we’re helping designers discard the now outdated design rule book.

Altium helps by replacing this piecemeal approach with a new way of designing. Altium’s next generation electronics design solution is unified, meaning that it works off a single data model and provides a single view of the entire design process. Designing with a unified system means electronics designers can move across the hard, soft and programmable design domains. It also means that changes made in one domain are reflected within the rest of the design in real time.

This process frees electronics designers to innovate because the design process is now reversed. The functional intelligence, coupled with the best interests of the end user, is now at the centre of the design process, courtesy of Altium’s higher abstraction approach to programmable design. And because designers are freed from having to make an initial choice about the hardware, they can explore ideas, experiment with devices and develop rapid prototypes, all without constraint.

CS: Altium has announced that plenty of opportunities remain in China – can you elaborate on this?

ELR: China is emerging as a real powerhouse in the electronics design industry. And there is growing evidence to show that this change may come sooner than expected. Many commentators continue to see China as a manufacturing mecca, but the tag ‘made in China’ is set to change to ‘designed in China’. These commentators, who continue to ignore China’s vision and commitment to making this a reality, are doing so at their peril.

When analysing the data, it is easy to see that there are rapid increases in patents, university graduates and technology exports in China. There are also major Government investments being made in the name of innovation. For example, China has shown the highest growth on R&D expenditure, and the fourth highest overall in the years 2000-2005, and as recently as March, the Chinese Government announced a US$66 billion stimulus package for the electronics design sector alone. These investments combined indicate that China is not slowing down.

These figures are just the beginning. Every day, more research indicates that China is rising up the innovation ranks. For example, only this month the Economist Intelligence Unit announced that China has moved up from 59th to 54th in the Global Innovation Rankings. Many predicted that this would take China five years to accomplish, but it only took two.

It just goes to show that China’s potential is nothing short of unbelievable. China is producing more engineers, more designs, more innovation and more competition than ever before. For Altium, this represents a huge opportunity that is augmented by the estimated 250-300,000 unlicensed users of our older solutions, whom we are now migrating with our Invest in Innovation programme.

This unmatched growth and confidence raises some interesting questions for European organisations: what are you doing to prepare for the post recession climate? Where will tomorrow’s competitors be based?

CS: How important do you feel seminars and exhibitions are compared with resources available on the Internet?

ELR: Seminars and exhibitions have their place. They bring to light industry trends, build user communities and provide great opportunities for vendors to exhibit their technology. But, particularly in the current climate, there always seems to be another way to build communities, interact with peers, converse with users.

For example, Altium has used our website to develop a world class support centre and community for engineers. Our web based resource centre offers instructional videos and PDFs that demonstrate step by step how engineers can enhance their Altium Designer experience. These videos have proved to be invaluable to customers new to Altium Designer. And Altium has a very active user forum where Altium employees and users from all over the world contribute. It’s one of the most valued support services Altium offers, and is based on an open and collaborative approach by both Altium and its users.

Published April 28, 2009