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By 2003 there are expected to be 650 million worldwide users of the Internet. Yet, in this same world it is estimated that two billion people have never made a phone call.
The digital divide between wealthy and poor regions of the world is astounding. Yet, there may be hope that rapid adoption of the Internet and what we call the Innovation Economy (IE) in an expanding number of regions in the world may be able to change this daunting divide.
Creating Regional Wealth in the Innovation Economy: Models, Perspectives, and Best Practices is a guide to understanding how regions and businesses are successfully profiting from this dynamic change through the perspectives of those "entrepreneurial champions," who are improvising new strategies, organizations, and programs.
There is an Innovation Economy, based on the entrepreneurial application of innovative technology, linking regions, and creating great wealth. These regions are successful because individual champions in business, venture capital, universities, government, and nonprofit organizations are collaboratively working and adapting to this Innovation Economy. This book provides their perspectives to help others to better understand and succeed.
This book written is for anyone concerned with these kinds of questions:
- "Where is the right place to be?" (For companies and individuals.)
- "What are some of the most important principles and practices that have enabled regions to make successful adaptations in the IE?"
- "How can regions with different geographic, socioeconomic and political/institutional structures succeed in 'plugging in' to the IE, utilizing their own particular strengths?"
- "What lessons can be learned that can help develop new regions for economic development by those who are involved directly with regional and business development?"
- "Why are some regions attracting much greater foreign direct investment (FDI) and how can businesses ranging from start-ups to multinationals best plug into a successful region?"
Departing from the hundreds of recent business books documenting the successes of the California region Silicon Valley, Creating Regional Wealth in the Innovation Economy examines and illustrates successful principles and examples from several world-class regions. You get the benefit of in-depth perspectives of people who are leading the way in government, business, universities, and NGOs (non-government organizations). This is truly a global bookwith expert perspectives and focus on success factors from nine regions, which represent a breadth of geographic and circumstantial diversity.
As important, the regions and organizations we've modeled have discovered ways to adapt to the IE, illustrating varying approaches to success. We have also included resources and Web sites the reader can access for more detailed information on subjects of specific interest. For Web site links go to www.creatingregionalwealth.com or www.creatingregionalwealth.net.
There are obvious omissions of great dynamic markets that are major players in the IE such as Boston, Seattle, and Austin in the U.S.; Finland; Japan; and Singapore to name just a few. The authors selected the markets we and our colleagues knew with the hope that these would provide sufficient examples to assist other regions in the world. So, the selected regions do not indicate a ranking of importance relative to other world-class high-tech regions. The regions are:
- Silicon Valley, California
- Cambridge, England
- Munich, Germany
- Sophia Antipolis, France
- Bangalore, India
The authors define and illustrate some of the principles that have enabled each of these regions to succeed, by focusing on several key factors in each region.
We wrote this book with several principles in mind:
- There is an IE (Innovative Economy - linked regions based on an entrepreneurial application of innovative technology), which despite great market upheaval and temporary market contractions, will continue to grow and rapidly evolve.
- Successful regions and companies have discovered ways to create great wealth and competitive advantage. These lessons can be learned and adopted by other regions.
- This growth, which is inexorable, will create opportunities for new regional wealth based on technology, globalization, and deregulation.
- There are new business and job-sharing work models emerging in the IE. Countries/regions are competing both for investment from multinational companies and the development of home-grown, niche-small businesses, and market opportunities which are worldwide focused.
- Rather than one model for what was called the New Economy, such as is commonly referred to in Silicon Valley, California, there are multiple models that are based on unique local advantages and utilize different competitive strengths from regions. Different regions can provide different offerings in the IE. For example, India provides engineers and programmers for the world; Israel provides new technology product and service ideas in communications; while Ireland excels in attracting foreign direct investment for use of its knowledge industry work force.
You can both better understand and apply the knowledge gained of how different regions, through the perspectives of highly successful people in those regions, have developed ways to successfully adapt to the IE. Their insights and practices, based on their own socioeconomic and market environments, provide the great value of this book. While each market model may differ from the other, they work in combination to create an integrated global economy that is more inclusive than exclusive.
We highlight significant changes in the dynamics of the following fields and disciplines, through selected focus on examples in each of the markets:
- Technology and knowledge transfer
- Human resources management and flexible labor relations
- Marketing and positioning of companies and regions
- Venture capital, risk management, and investment
- Government role (national, state, and local)
- Formal networking/linking organizations, business associations, and philanthropies
- The role of educational institutions as sources of knowledge workers, new business ideas, and as incubators for start-ups
We also highlight the cultural factors directly affecting the success of these disciplines and approaches:
- The openness of a society for change and receptivity to new ideas and integration of different peoples
- Free and open social and business networks
- The role of "knowledge worker immigrants" in certain regions such as Silicon Valley and Israel
- Proximity of like-minded individuals and complementary businesses and institutions which create the right habitat for innovative technology
- A regional capacity for speed and flexibility for change, which is consistent with the nature of the technology-driven marketplace
We illustrate through excerpts of conversations with those who are on the front lines of change in business, education, and government how to create regional wealth. We also provide case studies to illustrate some of the success stories in these regions. We have tried to transmit the wisdom of these different individuals in their own words, using their own idioms and examples. Hopefully, we have captured their exuberance and passion as well as their insights. Each gave freely of their wisdom in the hope that their experience could help others. In that respect they are all our true collaborators in this endeavor.
For every region, we enlisted the assistance of professors and colleagues who were native to that country in the hope that we would provide a truer "flavor" and veracity for the dynamics of the region profiled.
Rather than replicate Silicon Valley, California, each of the regions and companies we profile here have utilized Silicon Valley principles and created their own models to leverage their particular competitive advantage. Through their examples, others can learn how to develop their own methods to define a technology strategy that works for them.
This book should help the reader to better understand how the dynamics of the IE have been harnessed for making regional wealth. Our hope is that through the wisdom and insight of remarkable people, across a broad array of cultures and economic circumstances, who are discovering, innovating, and creating the success stories of our era, this regional wealth creation will be shared.
The authors invite you to visit their Web site at www.creatingregionalwealth.com and www.creatingregionalwealth.net for more information and links to the many organizations' Web sites mentioned in this book.