Dr Marina Ranga
Chair, Triple Helix IX Scientific Committee
Chair, Triple Helix Association Strategy Committee
Senior Researcher, H-STAR Institute, Stanford University
If you ever imagined that summer at Stanford University would bea quiet season, with empty classrooms and dormitories patientlyawaiting their next academic year’s students, well, nothing could beless far from reality! Summer at Stanford is an exceptionally busyseason, buzzing with the most varied events for all ages, fromdigital campuses for kids and teens, summer app camps wherebudding teen techies learn to craft own iPhone and iPad software,to residential programmes for high-school students and researchprogrammes for undergraduates preparing to enter a PhD.
Amid all these events, all different and yet all at the service of thesame purpose of knowledge sharing, was one that few Stanfordstaff or students, and even people further afield in the States,would be familiar with. The Triple Helix IX InternationalConference on University-Industry-Government Interactions came to town in the sunny middle of July 2011,bringing the long-standing fifteen year old Triple Helix Conferenceseries for the first time to Silicon Valley, together with one of thelargest and brightest concentrations of international innovationscholars and practitioners ever welcomed by Stanford.
Hosted by Stanford’s H-STAR Institute and organized by the TripleHelix Research Group (Professor Henry Etzkowitz and Dr MarinaRanga), the conference, now at the ninth edition, addressed thetheme “Silicon Valley: Global Model or Unique Anomaly?”.Over 260 leading academics, prominent policy-makers and topbusiness people, venture capitalists, business angels, consultantsand entrepreneurs from thirty-seven countries and all continentsexplored the inner workings of Silicon Valley and otherinternational technology conurbations, analyzed strategicinnovation policy and practice issues in developed and developingcountries, discussed the challenges and benefits of thecollaboration between the institutional spheres of University,Industry and Government, show-cased best practice, explored newmodels for knowledge transfer and entrepreneurship, andappraised the success and challenges of the university thirdmission.
The conference offered an exceptional networking opportunitywith representatives of Silicon Valley firms and other internationalhigh-tech clusters, Silicon Valley innovation experts and variousdiasporas.
Europe had the largest representation by continental region,followed by North and Latin America (see Chart 1), while bycountry, US, Brazil, UK, Russia, and Colombia, had the top fivelargest country delegations (see Chart 2).
|Programme highlights included:• An inaugural session, featuring the leadership of the Triple Helix Association, the HSTAR Institute and Joint Venture Silicon Valley.
• Six plenary sessions, involving internationally renowned innovation scholars and practitioners, such as Carlota Perez (Technological University of Tallinn, London School of Economics, Cambridge University, SPRU-Sussex University), Annalee Saxenian (University of California Berkeley), Sue Rosser (San Francisco State University and AAAS), Brian Arthur (Santa Fe Institute and Intelligent Systems Lab, PARC), Ann Winblad (Hummer Winblad Venture Partners), Bill Draper (Draper Richards L.P), Norman Winarsky (SRI International), and Jose Alberto Sampaio Aranha (Genesis Institute, Pontifical Catholic University Rio de Janeiro).
• Over 100 academic papers in the parallel sessions, on a broad range of innovation topics reflecting the research and policy interests of Triple Helix scholars around the world. The TH9 Proceedings, including only full papers presented by registered authors, are available on the conference website: www.triplehelixconference.org/.
• Twelve thematic workshops, on key topics for innovation policy and practice, including the entrepreneurial university, public and private venture capital for innovation, the role of innovation in the economic crisis recovery, visualization-driven methods of social network analysis and applications to Triple Helix research, innovation strategies in Central and Eastern Europe and Russia, accelerating trust through tele-presence for co-creating innovation, using innovation games to reach consensus in distributed Triple Helix teams, etc.
• “Silicon Valley 101” – a multi-lecture introductory event providing thorough analyses of key features, history and current developments of Silicon Valley, by distinguished scholars and practitioners from different professional backgrounds: Doug Henton (Collaborative Economics), James Williams (International Committee for the History of Technology and De Anza College, Cupertino), Martin Kenney (University of California, Davis), Burton Lee (Stanford University), Marguerite Gong Hancock(SPRIE, Stanford University). A video of the event is available on the Th9 website.
• An Oxford-style debate on the motion: “This house believes that Silicon Valley is a relevant innovation model for other regions in the world”, defended and opposed by leading international expert s: Stephen Adams (Franklin P. Perdue School of Business, Salisbury University) and Eoin O’Neill (Trinity College, Dublin) defending the motion, and Margaret Pugh O’Mara (University of Washington) and Paul Van Dun(Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium) opposing the motion. A video of the event is available on the TH9 website.
• The Special Event ‘From Valleys to Clouds: Enabling Innovators for the Era of the Social Enterprise’: a talk by Peter Coffee, VP and Head of Platform Research at salesforce.com inc.
• “Innovation Think-Tank” After-lunch Talk Series, including Constantin Malik (Malik Management, St. Gallen, Switzerland), Heidi Roizen (Member of the board of directors of TiVo and Prysm, Inc., Fenwick and West Entrepreneurship Educator, Stanford Technology Ventures Group, Stanford University) and Tapan Munroe (economist, consultant, teacher and researcher at MIT, University of Augsburg, UC Berkeley, San Francisco University and University of the Pacific, author of several books on Silicon Valley).
• “Meet the Authors” Breakfast Series, a presentation, signing and sale of books authored by THIX conference speakers, in collaboration with Stanford Bookstore. Books authored by twenty-five THIX speakers were available for sale at the Stanford Bookstore stand set up at the Arrillaga Alumni Center and at the Li Ka Shing Center, Stanford Medical School.
• The Best Student Paper Award, introduced for the first time in the fifteen year long history of Triple Helix conferences, and sponsored by Stanford University’s H-STAR Institute and the private sponsors Mei Lin Fung and Ross Casley.
• Trilicious – the Triple Helix Innovation Game, a fascinating and challenging game of innovation and strategy, designed specifically for the conference by Luke Hohmann, Founder and CEO of The Innovation Games® Company, an internationallyrecognized expert and serious games designer.
• A delightful social programme, including a Welcome Reception and a Gala Dinner in the company of the Saint Michael Trio, Opera San Jose artists, the Tenorio and Jones Band and the Silicon Gulch Jazz Band, whose live performance was a celebration in itself.
• Also, an informal poolside barbecue at the neighbouring Oak Creek Apartments, hosted by the THA President, Professor Henry Etzkowitz, offered an opportunity for additional networking and socializing.
• A pre-conference event including wine tasting, gourmet lunch and a selection of artisan California cheeses, as well as a vineyard tour at Ridge Monte Bello Winery, at the base of the Santa Cruz Mountains (Sunday, 10 July 2011),
While all the Conference events had novel features, two of them were absolute first timers that deserve a closer look.
First, the Best Student Paper Award was introduced with the aim to recognize excellence among the Triple Helix Conference student participants and provide them with an opportunity to obtain visibility in the international scientific community and win recognition for their achievements. The Best Student Paper Award was intended to bring prestige not only to the conference, but also to the award recipient. And so it was! The proud winner of the first Best Student Paper Award offered by THIX is Daniel Prokop, Research Associate, Centre for International Competitiveness, University of Wales Institute Cardiff, UK (firstname.lastname@example.org), who presented an outstanding paper on “Who should be spinning out firms? Structural evidence from the UK”.
Secondly, Trilicious – the Triple Helix Innovation Game, debuted at THIX as a custom-designed game to help people learn about – and more importantly, apply – the Triple Helix model to solve complex problems. The game motivates players to work collaboratively to create innovative solutions to complex problems through university-industry-government interactions. Through their collaboration, players learn the core model, learn how to extend the model, surface hidden skills and knowledge, and model the interactions required by Triple Helix actors. The game results from THIX, as well as all the game information and materials are available for use under the Creative Commons License and can be downloaded from http://innovationgames.com/resources/trilicious/. Play Trilicious in your classroom or in your community and boost your creativity and critical thinking in order to form innovative ideas on how to solve innovation problems!
Conference participants’ impressions and appreciation have been overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic, and for us, as conference organizers, nothing could be more rewarding. Here are just a few of the remarks that our colleagues shared with us after the conference: “I know the Silicon Valley-Stanford meeting will go down in history as a landmark conference. I liked the breadth of the programme – including both established and emergent players. And I particularly liked the inclusion of hybrid organizations that didn’t neatly fit any of the three helix categories. Lots of models. Lots of stories. I felt the discussion got honest and real … talking about lessons learned from failures. Leading change requires fierce humility.” said Martha Russell, Executive Director of Stanford’s Media X. “You set a very high standard for next conferences, congratulations!” thought Professor Slavica Singer, UNESCO Chair in Entrepreneurship, and Head of the Entrepreneurship Graduate Programme of the Croatian J.J. Strossmayer University in Osijek. Also, Dr Nataliya Smorodinskaya, Head of the Growth Poles and SEZ Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Economy thought that the conference was “undoubtedly a success! An enormous organizational work had been done by all committees and everything turned to be up to the highest mark. You’ve managed to create an inspiring and charming atmosphere, including an unforgettable gala reception”.
Our special thanks for their support to the conference go to THIX sponsors Google (Silver sponsor), TUSUR University, Tomsk and Tomsk Region, Russia (Bronze sponsors), support organizations Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology, Semantic Seed, Institute for Service Organization Excellence, Charles Krug and Ridge Montebello vineyards. We are also grateful to H-STAR Institute, and private sponsors Mei Lin Fung and Ross Casley, for sponsoring the THIX Best Student Paper Award, to Luke Hohmann and The Innovation Games© Company for designing the Triple Helix game, and to Techbridge Canada for their valuable help with the THIX website.
Finally, a heartfelt thanks to Melanie Walton, Suzanne Bennett and Stanford Conference Services colleagues who have been with us all the way and helped make these four summer days of unique intellectual and cultural celebration a stellar Triple Helix event!
Enjoying the Triple Helix Game – Trilicious