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Austria as global innovation player

Austria has a strategic advantage over many regions which innovate more quickly but have to do it on a less extensive knowledge base. Knowledge is developed and successfully managed in universities, universities of applied sciences and many other institutions. Companies which already operate in Austria or locate there benefit disproportionately from cooperation opportunities and the related transfer of knowledge. 

Prominent regions of innovation are Silicon Valley, Israel or Silicon Savannah in Kenya. The challenge arising for these regions whose strengths are found more in innovative clout than in a knowledge base is that processes for sustainable quality management cannot be used at the same speed. However, if the entrepreneurship mindset is based upon a broad knowledge base, the survival rate of startups increases. At the same time, the full implementation potential of the knowledge is exploited, triggering a positive knowledge-innovation spiral. 

The leaders in those institutions in which knowledge is embedded are responsible for ensuring the right relationship between knowledge and innovation. In this case, knowledge implementation is shaped on a top-down basis. The mindset of the leadership is seen in the quality and quantity of innovation projects implemented outside of the institution. However, the mindset is not easy to change in light of the fact that it reflects the cultural basis of the institution. The mindset is usually transformed over generations and not in a short time. It must be emphasized again that the mindset is not changed by newly acquired knowledge. The key factor is the attitude the underlying knowledge. Nevertheless, there are possibilities to press ahead with the development of one’s own socialization.

One possibility involves the confrontation with other innovation cultures, but not as a conventional delegation trip. Instead, the approach to take is to initiate and implement a project oneself, then to go to the region and elaborate the right way of dealing with innovation in cooperation with the authentically acting players. Naturally the executives have to first be successfully convinced of the merits of the idea, and this comprises a necessary step for its future viability. Further education programs are suitable for this purpose. They arouse interest in short sequences by means of a trip to the regions and the intercultural mixture in the group of participants. The individual project follows in a subsequent step.

The future viability of any region will depend on how flexibly it can respond to the ongoing changes in global innovation eco-systems. Austria boasts the perfect prerequisites. Any company locating here will benefit when it has done its homework with respect to an intercultural exchange.

You find more information on the Austrian Council for Research and Technology Development here.

Dr. Ludovit Garzik, MBA

Managing Director Austrian Council for Research and Technology Development

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