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Publication of Report on the Establishment of Nordic Innovation Centres in Asia

Title: Establishment of Nordic Innovation Centres in Asia?
Authors: Patrick Crehan of CKA and Jorn Bang Andersen of NICe
No of Pages: 53
Languages: English and Norwegian
ISBN: 978-92-893-1752-8
Date of Publication: 1 June 2008

The Danish government established a ‘globalization council’ in 2006 to consult with industry and society on how Denmark could become one of the world’s most competitive economies by 2015. One of the key insights this delivered was the realization that whereas Denmark produced 1-2% % of the world’s scientific research, Danish companies would need access to the other 98-99% to remain globally competitive. This clarifies an important difference that policy makers must address between support for research and support for innovation. The challenge for research policy is to choose well the 1% of global research it will perform and do it well. The problem for the innovation system is to make sure that companies have access not only national research results, but to the whole body of global knowledge.

Denmark has since established innovation centers in places such as Silicon Valley, Shanghai and Munich. It is interesting to note that these are run by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The other Nordic countries have similar networks and these are reviewed in Annex II of the report.

At their summer meeting in 2007, the Nordic Prime Ministers from Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland commissioned a review on the establishment of a network of Nordic Innovation Centres in Asia. The challenge of globalization involves a transition towards more open, networked and international ways of organizing innovation processes. Highly competitive companies need input from innovation actors and processes external to themselves. This input is to be found in supply chains, at the sites of lead user clients and customers and in the heads of experts located in hotspots around the world. Nordic companies and knowledge producers need to access such hotspots. Joint Nordic innovation representations and joint innovation initiatives could provide such access.

A working group and a reference group representing the Nordic national actors owning innovation representations in Asia was asked to review the potential of establishing joint Nordic innovation representations in Asia. The work was led by Jorn Bang Andersen of NICe with support from CKA.

The results are summarized in the report “Establishment of Nordic Innovation Centres in Asia?” This looks at the next steps required to meet the challenge of staying competitive in a global knowledge and innovation driven economy. It suggests that the Nordic countries pool some of their resources to test out the potential gains from co-operation between their existing national export promotion and technology and innovation offices in Asia. Moreover, the report suggests that the next generation of innovation policies will be on the theme of open innovation and how to manage global sourcing of knowledge. The report is interesting reading to any individual interested in the new movements in innovation policies and globalization.

On the strength of the review, the working group recommended that a scheme be established to finance co-operation involving the Nordic representations in Asia. In March 2009 the Nordic Council of Ministers launched the programme for “Nordic Innovation Projects with Asia”. Some of the financing has been set aside to test the idea of establishing a Nordic open innovation centre in Asia. The programme will last until 2010 and is being managed by NICe - the Oslo based Nordic Innovation Centre. Progress is being followed closely not only by Nordic governments but by those in other parts of the world such as China, Germany and the Balkans.


The full report can be downloaded in English or in Norwegian. The individual chapters are as follows and can be downloaded individually.
Executive Summary
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Key Trends in Innovation
Chapter 3: The Case for Asia
Chapter 4: Three models for global innovation support policies
Chapter 5: Financing scheme for Nordic innovation projects in Asia
Annex I: Mapping Nordic Innovation
Annex II: National Nordic Innovation Centres in Asia
Annex III: Global Hotspots
Annex IV: Terminology
The report is also available from the Norden website.

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