Shenzhen's shift from the world's low-wage factory to a global prototyping center is quietly brewing. Many local startups here know how to leverage the advantage of being in Shenzhen for that purpose.
That said, i was delighed to meet with the director Yan at Hunan University's Media Lab (Shenzhen). His own experience at Nokia and now at the Media Lab embodies the quiet but clearchanges happening here.
"They pay more to engineers who know how to build electronics, but they don't necessarily pay well to those who actually design it and architect a project,"
In my experience, assemblers and other techs are far better at "building electronics" than even the best engineers. If for no other reason, they are a whole lot faster. If the word "design" isn't synonymous with "engineer," I'm not sure what synonym would come closer. Doesn't mean engineers must all be great at designing the whole product, but certainly designing its component parts.
Hi, Bert. I like the way you put it: The world needs dreamers like Yan.
I think what Mr. Yan meant by "building electronics," is that he refers to engineers who can work with hardware, modify it, adjust it and get things running. Apparently there are many who are fully capable of doing it. But those who can define a product are far fewer; and they are not even better compensate in Shenzhen.
Quote: "The company wasn't flexible enough to understand what was good enough for certain products designed for certain applications in certain regions of the world, Yan observed."
My comment: The concept of "good enough" has often been used to deploy products with poor quality/performance to low income countries - which usually have ineffective consumer laws in place. In short, designing and selling products "good enough" could be, mildly said, misleading.
Strict requirements for testing and validating proper product quality are time and money consuming, this is a fact. It is also a fact that bureucracy at large corporations do also consume equivalent time/money (if not even more) than in validation. Unfortunately, both are usually considered as a single bill, which misleads management to think that "testing is expensive", especially for "certain countries/markets".
Innovation and flexibility have to be hands-in-hands with respect to consumers and profitability to stakeholders - this is sometimes a difficult equation which must be observed at all times by designers and businesses.