3.0 Jack Ma 马云
Jack Ma is one of the greatest innovators in the 21st century. Born and raised in China, Ma is a co-founder of one of the largest ecommerce company in the world, Alibaba Group. Ma was born in Hangzhou, Zhejiang in China in 1964. During his early childhood, Jack Ma had an opportunity to learn English from tourists who visited Hangzhou, after the region gained global fame after the visit of the United States President, Richard Nixon in 1972 (Qian 2014). Soon after his visit, tourists from all over the world began trooping to this region, which created an opportunity for Ma to guide them to different tourist attraction sites in exchange for English lessons. He studied Bachelor of Arts in English.
马云是21世纪最伟大的创新者之一。马云在中国出生和长大，是全球更大的电子商务公司之一阿里巴巴集团的联合创始人。马于1964年出生于中国浙江杭州。1972年美国总统理查德·尼克松（Richard Nixon）访问杭州（钱学森，2014年）后，杭州在全球享有盛名，在此期间，马云（Jack Ma）曾有机会向游客学习英语。在他访问后不久，来自世界各地的游客开始成群结队地来到这个地区，这为马云创造了一个机会，让他们去不同的旅游景点学习英语。他用英语攻读文学学士学位。
Despite his lack of a background in technology, Jack Ma was fascinated by the internet after hearing about it from his friends. In this case, whereas Ma did not possess any formal education in any technology field, his interest in technology was facilitated by the fact that he is a highly motivated person. As a result, he focused on innovatively using the internet to establish a platform that allowed people to exchange information, which was later developed into one of the largest ecommerce platforms in the world. In reference to Collins, Hanges and Locke (2004), people with a high level of achievement motivations are likely to pursue entrepreneurial careers since it offers them more control over outcomes. Therefore, considering the fact that despite the elements that undermined his success as a child, Jack Ma focused on overcoming all odd in order to carve a niche for himself as a successful person in society.
4.0 Innovation process 创新过程
Researchers and scholars across the globe agree that innovation is a process that goes through a number of stages namely: idea, testing of the idea, and its implementation. In reference to Rogers (2010), an empirical research that was conducted among farmers in Iowa on their innovation-decision process reveals that most farmers went through a series of stages that involved moving from awareness-knowledge to adoption of a decision. The findings by Rogers (2010) affirm the fact that innovation is a process rather than event and as such, there are critical stages that need to be followed in order to achieve true innovation in society. Importantly, whereas some researchers such as Rogers (2010) perceive the innovation process as a three-stage process, others such as Bathelt et al. (2017) perceive this process as a four-stage process, which includes identification of a specific problem that the innovation in question seeks to address. This report will adopt the four-stage innovation process in analysing how Jack Ma sported came up and implemented his innovation idea of Alibaba Group.
4.1 Problem 问题
Despite the fact that most researchers and scholars focus on idea as the starting point when talking about innovation, there is a significant agreement among them that the major role of innovation is to solve a specific problem in society. In reference to Desouza (2009), most innovators focus on developing innovative solutions to address different problems that exist in society, thus ensuring the needs of individuals are met. Whereas this is the case, Desouza (2009) acknowledges that innovative ideas that emerge as a response to different problems in society are often narrower in scope and as such, they can easily be operationalized. One of the critical issues that can be observed in Jack Ma’s development of the Alibaba Group is that its idea was a response to the problem that small businesses in the Chinese economy were facing as far as online trading and finding information was concerned. In reference to Huang, Hu and Lu (2009), Alibaba Group was established with an aim of addressing the problem that Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) were as far as accessing online trading platforms not only to connect with consumers but also to reduce their cost of marketing their products. Note that prior to the establishment of Alibaba Group, SMEs in China needed to engage in door to door marketing of their products in order to reach their target consumers (Hu and Lu, 2009). Thus, Ma’s idea helped address the problem of businesses visibility through creating a platform that allowed marketers and their target consumers to easily connect with each other.