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One Innovation Voice - Conversation in Basque Country
International Association of Science and Technology Parks

By Debra M. Amidon

“An invasion of armies can be resisted,
but not the idea whose time has come.”
- Victor Hugo

It was the 18th World Conference of the IASP - http://www.iaspworld.org - and they came - 500-strong - representing 50 countries to Bilbao, Spain. For three days, they were hosted by Klaus Plate (Germany), IASP President, and Mauri Lazkano, President of the local organizing committee. ENTOVATION® colleagues such as Stephen Denning (The World Bank) and Piero Formica (Italy) who is represented on the Global Knowledge Leadership Map - http://www.entovation.com/kleadmap/index.htm.

The opening was a musical delight - 24 voices in a Basque chorus - singing in harmony…unified in one voice, but still retaining their individual talent - a metaphor used throughout the conference. It set the stage (literally) for an extraordinary set of presentations ranging from a the Role of Knowledge and Networking in the New Economy through the Building Blocks of Entrepreneurship, Start-Ups and Dot-coms - including the Future of Science Parks and Incubators. For me, it was a personal ‘coming home’ to the S&T environment where our knowledge journey began - rooted in 5th Generation R&D - http://www.entovation.com/gkp/challenge.htm - and Technology Transfer - http://www.entovation.com/info/decade.htm; and how far we have come!

Some conference messages:

The entire conference was strung with pearls of wisdom from every speaker - each with a different perspective, each representing a different corner of the world, but all seeking to harness the intellectual wealth of our communities:

Ø “This (knowledge) movement is one about technological innovation and the quality of life. It is about the relationships among people. It is a story of how advanced telecommunications infrastructures provide both centralization and connectivity among individuals.”
- Mauri Lazkano.

Ø “This is a showcase of a global network of parks and incubators - each overcoming the boundaries of countries and cultures, open to accept each other by discussing best practices and discovering new competencies. We should drive the movement and not be driven by it.”
- Klaus Plate.

Ø We are a country moving from shipbuilding to a new economic networked world with a strategy of 1. New industrial development; 2. Increased R&D spending; 3. S&T investment plan for the technological convergence; 4. New S&T policies aligned with the new digital economy and knowledge society; 5. New scenarios with a mindset for knowledge, information technology and human assets; 6. Balanced growth with solidarity; 7. Image as a country of contrasts building a new economic and social space - developing the possibilities. We can if we want to; and we want to!”
- Basque President.

Ø “E-commerce is about buying and selling; E-business is about transformation. Lines are being erased between products and services. We’re changing what people expect. Hotel Bilbao is not about the room; it’s about the trip. It’s not about the bank; its about the process. Future value is about the performance of the intangible side of the business. Innovation will drive leadership!”
- Chuck Martin (CEO, Net Future Institute).

Ø “10 KM lessons learned: 1. Many people just do not get it; 2. It’s about Community; 3. External members of the community are critical; 4. Next Step - community in the clients; 5. Connecting has more results than collecting; 6. Difference in managing information and knowledge sharing; 7. Access to the knowledge is not enough; 8. Practice is more important than process; 9. The knowledge resides in the narrative; and 10. We understand the world through story-telling.”
- Stephen Denning (CKO, The World Bank)

Ø “Universities no longer have a monopoly on knowledge - especially ‘e-ducation without borders.’ The Entrepreneurial University is a university of business with business professionals as faculty - rediscovering the vision of building sustainable business through profitable innovation (e.g., action learning, incubation, networked spin-offs and business environment experience.”
- Piero Formica (Dean, International University of Entrepreneurship).

Ø “Partnership and collaboration is our middle name. No one company will make business in the networked world by themselves. Clusters of companies will make business through a global network of partnering centers.”
- Miguel Angel Rodrigues Palma (CEO, Ericsson).

Ø “We’re building a ‘collective learning system’ that will lead the transition from the industrial to the knowledge society.”
- Andres Arizkorreta (President, Basque Country Knowledge Cluster).

Ø “We are witnessing the shift from Technology Parks to ‘Learning Villages’ based upon knowledge exchange. Many different models now accelerating the innovation process based upon the IT revolution. We’ve moved from national to urban and now into cyberspace within which we live and communicate. This new species - ½ virtual and ½ physical - operating in the new economy will create a new set of rules of astonishing contrasts. People learning and working across the globe…services global, but locally rooted…placing pressure on our sense of identity. In the end, what is knowledge if it is not what we are?!”
- Luis Sanz (IASP General Director).

Ø “We are in the Millennium of Innovation in which significant transformation has caused a creation of innovation networks; and we are the source (of innovation) within ourselves.”
- Prof. Manuel Castells (University of California at Berkeley).

Ø “(On managing intangibles) It doesn’t matter what it is called as long as it brings a return back. In attracting the second round of financing, it is difficult to attract foreign companies. Think entrepreneurial, focus on the customer, use leverage (and leverage the resources that you have), don’t be greedy and earn respect through performance of the intangibles.”
- Lex de Lange (CEO, Zernike Group).

Ø “In building an internat5inal city of wisdom, science and technology, the cross-fertilization of brains should create more innovation. To achieve real success, we must change the sociology to change the culture.”
- Pierre Lafitte (President, Foundation Sophia Antpoilis).

Ø “Innovation is the path to profit. If a company doesn’t make money, it doesn’t exist. Failures include: 1. Insufficient capital; 2. Development of unwanted products; 3. Lack of a profit model; 4. Incapable of selling products; and 5. Inadequate management team. In essence, if you plan the technology ahead of its time, you will lose money on the 1st product. Consider Gillett, Disney and Pepsi as profit model designs.”
- Jim Liu (CEO, Base Technology Group).

Ø “Is the ‘new’ economy just a US gimmick or is it the real combination of labor/productivity, real IT investment and US venture capital. There is a strong correlation with the leaps in productivity and growth in GDP. Return on investment in Europe has been far lower. The average growth rate in the US is higher than the peak growth rate in Europe. But the investment in venture backed businesses for Q1 in 2001 is still greater that Q4 in 99.”
- Peter Jungen (VP Business Angels Association).

Ø “This new economy - in a new space/time environment - doesn’t depend upon physical structures requires adapted corporate structures. This new ‘social space’ overlaps with the ‘country’ and ‘city’ space. Re-inventing the economic environment converts ‘network actors’ to ‘network agents’ with consequences (e.g., money transferred to electronic space, don’t have to travel, customer relationships can be personalized, products are demonstrated through multi-media and the role of the salesman is redefined.”
- Prof. Javier Echeverria (CSIC, Madrid).

Ø “The future of science parks and incubators will be visible, virtual and viable. There are implications for the need for a common language, understanding the migration of people and the transitory nature of canters of learning. What we think today will be significantly different from 50 years from now. A Global SME might invent in Russia, engineer in Turkey, manufacture in Singapore and sell through Germany. These global partnerships can be serendipitous or strategies formulated to make them happen.”
- Bob Hodgson (Zernike Group UK).

Ø “The mission of Science & Technology is for the betterment of mankind and economic development. We in the US do not look to Washington to stimulate our economy; rather, the efforts are local and regional. Advocacy of the entrepreneur has shifted from job development to the acceleration of business execution. The decision for incubation is very separate from the seed funding decision…moving from idea creation to business creation. Talk about wealth creation - not employment). All requires a new mindset in both industrialized and developing nations.”
- Jill Felix (CEO, University Science Center of Philadelphia).

‘Pay it Forward’

There is a recent film that features a 7th grade classroom in which the teacher offers an assignment to the students - “create one idea that will change the world and put it into action.” The able student in response suggests that if a person could select 3 people to help in a way that was important to their future and difficult for him (the student) to do, the only thing he requested in return was that those 3 individuals ‘pay it forward’ to 3 other individuals - thus positively effecting 9 and the 27 and so forth. In this new knowledge era, professionals across all functions, industries and corners of the world are realizing that knowledge (i.e., intellectual capital or intangible value) is the asset to be managed, then the innovation process (i.e., where knowledge converts into action) may, in fact, have a similar constructive influence. Our challenge is how best to ‘pay it forward.’

The ENTOVATION® presentation was of “The Innovation SuperHighway” - http://www.entovation.com/whatsnew/superhighway.htm - that has been the focus of previous editions of I3 Update/ENTOVATION® News. This opportunity, however, in front of an attuned audience could easily capture the vision and see how the constellation of parks around the world can each play a contributing role. It was received as ‘brilliant’ by closing speaker, Mauricio Guedes (Brazil) who chairs the IASP Scientific Committee and also will host the upcoming World Congress on Business Incubation, October 23-26, 2001 - http://www.wcbi.com.br - in Rio de Janeiro.

The progress continues…


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Last updated: 02 Aug 2001