Dodwell in CTI Meetings at Singapore - Post 6

April 05, 2012

With four other highly competent staffers in situ for the April 4-5 Innovation and Trade  Conference, I decided to cut from Singapore at the end of the CTI meeting on Tuesday, and fly home to Hong Kong to squeeze a couple of days work ahead of the Easter break. It seems there are so many inconclusive ends from the CTI that a huge amount of work looks necessary between here and Kazan. The shortening of this year’s APEC sequence is really creating significant pressures. They will be severe for ABAC too, since the ABAC 2 in Kuala Lumpur overlaps with the first five days of Kazan – meaning that we will miss the first stages, and then have a mad scramble to feed into the meetings of the last 10 days. A large number of ABAC members and staffers will be poring over maps and flight schedules to work out how best to get from KL to Kazan as quickly as possible after the end of APEC2 on May 25.

Early departure after the CTI did not mean the blog had to die. The following is an edited (day 1) summary from NCAPEC’s David Boman from the Innovation and Trade Conference on Wednesday:

  • Opening keynote speaker John Ure, the Executive Director of the Asia Internet Coalition, emphasized the potential that open data flows have due to the internet’s transformation from an enabler of global communications to an enabler of production, distribution and consumption. He talks of the potential of cloud computing to create millions of jobs primarily in the developing world, currently blocked by policies that deter investment and data flows, such as poorly defined data protection laws and the mandated location of data centers as a condition of commercial presence.  Mr. Ure called on APEC to promote policies that keep the Internet open and the cross-border flow of data secure.  

  • ABAC Member Steven Lee, CEO of VIA networking Technologies, explored outcomes of studies focused on encouraging innovation throughout the region, like large, collaborative tech clusters that serve as research and commercial hubs (such as the ZhongGuanCun tech park in Beijing) and government driven capacity building initiatives designed to expand STEM education and develop and retain ICT talent.  He called for programs facilitating SME engagement in the global market by providing education and training, such as the SME Online University in Chinese Taipei.

  • Osamu Kamikawa of ABAC Japan represented the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) by highlighting its recent recommendations for SMEs to have access to financing, the capacity to internationalize, transparency and open business environments and the ability to protect IPR. He pointed to ABAC’s current efforts to address barriers to FDI through ongoing dialogue with the APEC Investment Experts Group.

  • Arrow Augerot, Deputy Assistant USTR for APEC affairs facilitated a strong discussion in the afternoon that explored how collaborative bodies and government could play a role in innovation. Qingfeng Lu, Chairman and CEO of iFLYTEK Group described the rapid growth of intelligent speech recognition n China, demonstrating how Chinese companies were able to innovate and gain a large market share by utilizing “social innovation resources” provided by a combination of collaborative research partnerships with Universities and support from institutions that provided guidance in key areas such as venture capital management and IP protection.

  • Jun Ruan, Vice Secretary of the China Solid State Lighting Alliance, invoked similar themes by describing how his organization was nurturign the commercial viability of solid state lighting technology through collaborative research with universities, support from government ministries and the availability of a full spectrum of consulting services. 

  • John Matheson of Intel addressed the merits of a “hands off” role that government can take by protecting the competitive process. He recalled that  Intel’s initial success was facilitated by enablers such as the presence of universities, venture capital and strong IPR protection and its subsequent innovative switch to microprocessors was made possible by incentives enabled by a lack of government protectionism.  He emphasized that government is an important part of the innovation equation but should focus on facilitating a competitive environment rather than making counterproductive interventions that can reduce the incentive to innovate. 

  • The second afternoon session focused on venture capital in the innovation ecosystem.  Gonzoalo Miranda, Managing Partner of Austral Capital Partners called for development of “VC ecosystems” to facilitate investment in the region and drive innovation, noting that barriers to entrepreneurs such as a small market, few mentors and lack of an exit strategy can be addressed through VC support. Presenters also emphasized the critical role of cloud computing in empowering innovators.

  • Evgeny Evdokimov of the Rusnano Group highlighted how “nanocenters” throughout Russia were providing a one stop shop for innovators, by combining research, funding and consulting services to help facilitate the commercialization of technologies and enhance Russia’s innovation market.

* Read Dodwell's blog posts from CTI Meetings at Singapore


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