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    From the Editor


    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 2/2000

    Harnessing the power of innovation is the central theme of this issue. In today's fast-changing trade environment, innovation is a key to competitiveness. Innovation is what allows companies to survive and thrive. Especially for services exporters, innovation is what allows firms to reduce costs, increase quality and improve productivity, so that they protect and expand market share.

    Innovation means more than just generating good ideas. For innovation to be successful, it must benefit both customers and the firm, and it must be replicable and sustainable.

    All easier said than done. At its core, innovation is a change process, affecting both customers and the firm. Culture is one of the most important factors in this change process, especially where exporting is concerned. Cultures differ in their approaches to technology, risk, communications styles, degree of control and other elements that are necessary for innovations to take root.

    This issue focuses on key themes such as cultural differences, change management, staff training and evaluation, providing readers with checklists, concepts, examples and trends in order to stimulate new thinking about innovative practices. It fills an important vacuum, in that little research exists on innovation trends among developing and transition economies, particularly among services exporters.

    As always, we appreciate and look forward to your views on this topic and others you would like to see in the future.