By Jerry Haar
The accelerated expansion of the global knowledge economy has intensified the need for strategic partnerships between business and academe, with government in a supporting role, to boost competitiveness. The goal is to merge the discovery-driven culture of the university with the innovation-driven environment of the company, overcoming the cultural and communications divide that often impairs partnerships.
All nations must confront this challenge. Mexico is a prime example. With the economy forecast to grow at 4-5% per year over the next several years and major reforms passed in education, labor, energy, telecom and fiscal policies, the country is, in the words of America Market Intelligence’s managing director John Price, “ready to launch.” However, to do so and compete effectively, Mexico must innovate.
Recognizing this imperative, last November the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, one of Washington’s preeminent think tanks, hosted a two-day seminar for three dozen Mexican legislators and other officials on that very topic. Organized by the Center’s Mexico Institute, one critically important topic addressed was university-business collaboration, mainly in high technology.
Where these collaborations take place most extensively, the world over, is in “clusters”—locales of economic agglomeration. While Silicon Valley is the best known, there is Silicon Fenn in Cambridge, England; Silicon Wadi in Israel; Technopolis Innovation Park in the …
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