One Innovation Voice:
Conversation in Basque Country
"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 -
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
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 and
Technology Transfer; 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
- "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).
- "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).
- "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).
- "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
- "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).
- "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).
- "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).
- "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).
- "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 - half virtual and half 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).
- "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).
- "(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).
- "In building an international 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).
- "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).
- "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).
- "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).
- "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).
- "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' - 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 in Rio de Janeiro.
The progress continues...
Email: Debra M. Amidon
© Copyright, 2001. David Skyrme Associates Limited and Authors - All rights reserved.
I3 UPDATE / ENTOVATION International News is a joint publication of David Skyrme Associates Limited and ENTOVATION International Limited - providers of trends analysis, strategic advice and workshops on knowledge management
and knowledge innovation®
® Knowledge Innovation is a registered trademark of ENTOVATION International.
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ENTOVATION 5th Generation R&D
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The Innovation SuperHighway
Upcoming World Congress on Business Incubation
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