Tuesday, July 3, 2012


"Innovation leads to greater  inclusion in the economy and ultimately to social stability and transformation," Sibusiso Sibisi, National Advisory Council on Innovation, South Africa, told delegates to the launch of the Global Innovation index 2012 in Geneva this morning. He said that innovation can lead to great inclusion in society by encouraging investment and support for new enterprises, thereby reducing unemployment and allowing more people to participate in the economy at large.

Nestle's CTO Werner Bauer echoed those sentiments adding "Innovation is not a gimmick; it's the real application by consumers - for billions of people - who are actually using the products created through innovation. This is the passion I have for innovation."

Switzerland's Support for Innovation Transformation

Sixty percent of Nestle's research and development funds are spent in Switzerland. "Switzerland has the right people and the right infrastructure," Bauer said. This percentage is large considering only 2% of Nestle's turnover comes from Switzerland, along with 3% of its 330,000-strong work force.

But how mobile is the talent pool? And how does Nestle retain talent? Bauer says the workforce stability is within the company as a whole, not just in Switzerland, and it is supported by company-driven education and training programs.

Innovation is not just the providence of developed industrialized countries

Arab nations too are supporting innovation.  According to Mohammed Al Suweiyel, President of King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology KACST,  Saudi Arabia drives innovation in several ways:

1. Knowledge acquisition. Arabic knowledge content on the internet is very valuable in this regard. A few years ago it was only 5% of the Arabic population; today it's increased eight times thanks to providers such as Google.

2. Increased availability of broadband connection which allows people to access all sorts of content, including in Arabic.

Addtionally, Saudia Arabia is recognized as one of the world's more advanced developers of water desalinization technology.

Research, Development and Collaboration

Bell Labs, the research arm of Alcatel-Lucent, has been in the vanguard of  research and development of broadband. But their research association with universities has suffered from a lack of alignment of interests: professors who publish papers tend to be promoted out of the industrial research category.

"Academia is not organized to be able to actively abet industrial research," claims Jeong Kim, President of Bell Labs.

But when we say "collaboration" do we really mean it? How to share in patents for co-produced discoveries? Bell favors co-ownership; Nestle looks at the whole protection support inherent in the R&D environment before committing to setting up shop in an area. Most important is to find a good way to work together without relying on governments.

No comments:

Post a Comment