1- IKED examines ways forward to establish a Global Trust Center
Fulfilling the potential of the Digital World requires solutions for trust and security in transactions. For various reasons, after several years in which the technical side of information and communications technology (ICT) has rapidly developed, these virtues are still not in place. The lack of appropriate security measures does not only hinder promising virtues of ICT, but also has consequences reaching far beyond the nuisance of spam, and is potentially a threat beyond the digital world itself. For various reasons, the playing field for trust in the digital world is fragmented. Today, individual countries and sectoral interests are busy creating solutions, but most of this is merely mitigating the symptoms whereas the fundamental problems remain virtually unaddressed. So far, there is no effective response, neither from governments nor from the private sector.
IKED has been engaged in international deliberations on these issues in recent years and serves as secretariat for the project “Enabling Trust in the Developing World”, under the aegis of an international steering committee. In particular, following joint work with the IT Oresund Academy starting in the fall 2002, the prospect of establishing a "Global Trust Center" and an associated network ("International Clearing House") has advanced to a pre-implementation stage. The potential benefits were initially reflected on at the ASEM conference in March 2003, at the Virtual Opportunity Congress in Sydney in December 2003, and at the 2nd OECD Conference for Ministers responsible for SMEs in Istanbul, Turkey, June 2004.
In November 2006, IKED published the feasibility study on the Global Trust Center, i.e. the report "Enabling Trust in the Digital World", which includes recommendations on organisational models. An Australian country node has been established and is up and running as of this year.
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2- A Comprehensive Approach to SMEs and Competence Development
Starting in 2003, IKED has worked with NUTEK (the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth ) on the challenges of strengthening conditions for SME competitiveness and regional development. That work resulted in a working document, soon to be published under the heading "Competence Development for Growth - International Outlook and Analysis". This report examines and sums up the approaches and experiences gained by different countries in this area. Among the noteworthy findings, it is clear that no country as of today has been able to co-ordinate a comprehensive combination of core-competence raising university-SME interface and strategies for regional development strenthening the supply of complementary service functions.
In the next stage, IKED will work with NUTEK and actors at regional level (industry as well as academia and research) in two regions of Sweden to test a new approach. The two regions are characterized by, on the one hand, industrious and relatively densely-populated areas close to major markets and, on the other hand, resource-rich but sparsely-populated northern counties. The aim is to test methods that can greatly enhance competence upgrading and regional dynamism in each kind of environment.
3- Czech Republic initiates new programme on Innovation and international exchange
The Czech Republic has taken the initiative to engage in a programme for training and mutual learning on innovation and the knowledge economy with partners based in Sweden. Coordinated with the Swedish Agency for Innovation Systems (VINNOVA), the programme includes a number of activities. IKED participates with analysis and discussion on how the role of government is changing, and what lessons can be learned from other countries.
Areas that will be addressed by IKED in the exchange of experience between the two countries, with the support of selected concrete examples of the development and performance of Swedish companies, institutions, etc., include:
Promotion of innovative enterprising
Financing of R&D
Governmental support of innovative financing
Launched in Prague in February 2006, the programme is moving up to speed in the fall this year.
4- The UN agenda on Globalisation turns hot on R&D and innovation:
UNCTAD has a strong experience of publishing critical and constructive analysis on FDI and what measures should be taken by developing countries to attract increased investments. In recent years, however, an increasing number of countries have been requesting enhanced analysis on what domestic reforms and institutional upgrading are required to ensure a better platform for gains in the globalizing economy. Against this background, UNCTAD is examining new avenues forward. Among them, several new country studies on science and technology, so-called STEP reviews, are being prepared for the coming years. IKED has contributed to analysis of the Moroccan innovation system and has been consulted with on major initiatives under way in Saudia Arabia and Oman. Newly-published proceedings resulted from a conference organized with IKED participation in early 2005. IKED has contributed to the policy analysis:
5- ICT4D/SD - Information and Communication Technology for Development/Sustainable Development
The review of the European Sustainable Development Strategy is in the process of finding its way forward to the future. The Commission Communication on "The 2005 Review of the EU Sustainable Development Strategy: Initial Stocktaking and Future Orientations" and the "Draft Declaration on Guiding Principles for Sustainable Development" (ref. COM (2005)37 and COM (2005)218) proposed a stronger focus on research, technology development and innovation, and a stronger partnership with the business community and civil society. IKED participated in European-level meetings and discussions of the programme during the last year in search of an upgraded agenda to combine business and development interests connected to the launch of new ICT initiatives in the developing world.
IKED is now working with experts within industry and civil society regarding new initiatives on assessing new opportunities for ICT to Contribute to Sustainable Development, including connecting Information and Communication Technology development and use to the goals of greater resource-efficiency, environmental protection, better health, and social inclusion. The ASEM-cooperation, which has picked up speed in the fall of 2006 on the theme of ICT use, presents one vehicle for advancing these discussions into concrete projects.
6- IKED is a partner in the Nordic INNOCATE consortium
- co-ordinated by NIFU STEP in Oslo - to examine indicator systems of the Nordic economies in close conjunction with another effort to identify policy-relevant Nordic innovation indicators (NIND), headed by Statistics Finland. These indicator systems, as seen most clearly in terms of the European Innovation Scoreboard exercise, currently have a strong bias towards measuring levels of R&D intensive and “high tech” resources. In addition, they are considered by many to be based on simplified assumptions and databases insufficiently representative of the economies in question as a whole. There is thus a risk that the present set of indicators will provide inadequate information on parts of society which have a stronger potential than suggested by the statistics now in use.
The objective of the project is to identify the most relevant indicators for innovation policy and how these indicators can be interpreted and used in policy design, starting with statistical analysis and benchmarking of the Nordic countries. The analysis will review strengths, weaknesses and problems of interpretation of currently available indicators and make suggestions for new indicators better adapted to the heterogeneity of their economies to be used by policy makers in the Nordic countries.
Innocate should therefore be able to assist Nordic policy makers in interpreting such indicators, and to propose models for developing new sets of indicators that are better adapted to policy issues of our time and the specific features of our economies.
The project, expected to be completed by March 2008, is supported by the Nordic Innovation Center.
7- Nordic Domestic Multinationals Project
The Nordic project “Innovation and the Role of Domestic Multinationals (DOMUS) on the significance of Domestic Multinationals in Innovation, initiated in August 2005 with the support of the Nordic Innovation Centre, came to its conclusion in the summer of 2006. The project, coordinated by NIFU STEP in Oslo with IKED as one of the partner organizations, explored the role of domestic multinationals in the Nordic economies, how their role is changing, and the policy implications. In this context, the project touched upon sensitive and important policy issues including innovation, national ownership, and industry policy strategies in regard to various aspects of globalization.
The final reports: DOMUS Case Study Report
DOMUS Desktop Study Report
DOMUS Statistics Report
DOMUS Synthesis Report
have now been published by Nordic Innovation Center, and can be obtained from www.nordicinnovation.net in addition to other relevant publications.
Read more at the Domus website.
8- Activities on evaluation of innovation policy from a systems perspective
In close co-operation with VINNOVA (the Swedish Agency for Innovation Systems), IKED is engaged in work on the development of methodologies and evaluation practices for the implementation of innovation policies that are able to take "systemic aspects" into account. IKED and VINNOVA jointly organised a policy seminar and expert meetings in this field. The draft Handbook is available for limited circulation and will be published in the fall 2006. At the European level, a similar project was recently completed under the aegis of the Directorate General Enterprise of the European Commission. IKED participated in expert meetings exploring ways forward for more effective European collaboration in the area. The European countries have distinctly different approaches and levels of awareness in regard to policy evaluation, and what progress can be achieved at European level remains to be seen. Evaluation will not in itself be a silver bullet for improving policies, but it can represent an important component in a broader reform package. See also
9- IKED engaged in issues on Women Entrepreneurship, in collaboration with GKP and ILO
IKED is engaged in several activities related to Women Entrepreneurship and Women-owned SMEs. Among specific undertakings, jointly with Global Knowledge Partnership, IKED organised a panel at the World Knowledge Forum in Seoul, Korea, on programmes for upgrading of competencies related to management and the introduction of ICT in women-owned SMEs. Following from these sessions IKED has developed an agenda for preparing and launching a Handbook for the development of appropriate programmes and practical action in this area. Women entrepreneurs from all major parts of the world have contributed, addressing issues and opportunities confronting women entrepreneurs in areas such as financing, trade, networking and use of new technologies, all related to ICT. Increased understanding of the issues at hand, and how they can be addressed by developed and developing countries alike, and with varying inputs and contributions from different stakeholders, should be of great general interest. The work is to be published in collaboration with ILO, which is expected to issue it early 2007. IKED is also represented on the steering group of the OECD work on Women's Entrepreneurship in the MENA countries, which addresses key challenges and strategies for building awareness of the potential of women's entrepreneurship as a driver for economic growth and social inclusion in the MENA region.
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>> GKP Newsletter
10- Study on Macroeconomic Conditions and the Management of Research and Development in the Nordic Countries
The societies of the developed countries meet with intensifying international competition and stiffening requirements to stay ahead of competitors in the ability to develop and make use of knowledge. The Nordic countries are leaders in many indicators of scientific and technological capabilities, and their industries also display relatively high productivity growth. Still, these countries face challenges in how to generate new products, new firms, and how to sustain employment. Through the Nordic Council of Ministers, Nordic governments collaborate in comparing their performances and learning about common problems. IKED served as partner in a review of the Nordic innovation systems, which was undertaken in co-operation with a group of Nordic research institutions, led by the Copenhagen Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR). The work was undertaken in association with NIFU STEP (Norway), VTT (Finland), and RANNIS (Iceland - with input from IDEA Consult, Belgium). A comprehensive study which serves as a platform for discussions and joint deliberations by the Nordic Finance Ministers was prepared and made public early November 2005.