From the Dean

From the Dean

Professor Houmin Yan

There's nothing I enjoy more than getting out and taking photographs. And Hong Kong being a place of incredible contrasts, there are interesting subjects everywhere. Whether it is capturing bustling street markets of Mong Kok, or the verdant greenery of our sub-tropical forests, a day behind a camera lens guarantees rewarding results.

So imagine my excitement earlier this year when I learned that renowned Chinese wildlife photographer and environmentalist, Xi Zhinong, was back in town. I leapt at the opportunity to invite him over to talk to our CB community. And in his generosity, Xi went further and has kindly supplied us with our inspirational cover. So it is only fitting that in this edition of City Business Magazine we begin to look at the twin themes of sustainability and innovation.

In the remote upland area of Qinghai Lake, a gazelle leaps over a barbed wire fence. It prompts the question: Do we humans need to uproot our habit patterns, to make a metaphorical leap of the imagination, in order to innovate towards a sustainable future? In Sustainability – What Chance? we interview Xi Zhinong on his life behind the camera, his work building public awareness of conservation issues, and his thoughts on the role of applied research.

Taking a long view at the conditions that have encouraged innovation in the past, in Innovation: Can we learn from history? Peter Burke, Professor Emeritus at the University of Cambridge asks what kinds of people innovate and what kind of environment best supports them? In a wide ranging essay, Professor Burke deconstructs the conventional narrative of the heroic innovator, stressing the distinctive qualities of innovative societies, and the collective and often incremental nature of invention.

In March 2015 the issue of air pollution in China moved centre stage with the web release of the documentary Under the Dome by the journalist Chai Jing, which quickly went viral. In China's air pollution: Escaping the Prisoner's Dilemma Professor Jeff Hong takes a look at the hitherto unsuccessful experience in fighting global warming, the challenges facing China in combating its air pollution problems, and the role we can play in Hong Kong.

I do hope you enjoy this edition of our Magazine. As ever, we look forward to your feedback.

Houmin Yan