Private, public partnership needed in tech ecosystem

  • Both sides of the aisle can benefit from knowledge sharing
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Private, public partnership needed in tech ecosystem


IF THERE’S one thing to take away from the recently concluded Oslo Innovation Week it’s that there is an increasing need for the tech industry – both the private and public sector  – to band and come together for the sake of innovation.

Speaking at the opening keynote address, Raymond Johansen, governing Mayor of Oslo noted that in today’s world, “the future of innovation lies in your mind – and in someone else’s.”

Held from Oct 17 to Oct 21, the annual Oslo Innovation Week (OIW) is organised by the City of Oslo and Innovation Norway and managed by Oslo Business Region. This year’s theme is 'Powercouples,' a term coined by the organisers, who believe that radical innovation happens when connecting previously unconnected bodies of knowledge.

Powercouples consist of great minds of different disciplines, complementing each other in solving the world’s challenges. These challenges show that the world needs a bridge between the established companies and the startup scene.

Johansen said this year’s theme was chosen because the industry has acknowledged that great minds of different disciplines complementing each other can solve the greatest challenges facing the world today.

“Radical innovation happens when connecting previously unconnected knowledge. It lies in bridging differences, between the establishment and the newcomers – across borders, disciplines and titles. They are not opponents, but synergies that drive the future.”

Echoing these thoughts were two experienced tech executives, who having spent the better half of their careers in the technology private sector, who called for governments and the private sector to work more closely together.

Anita Krohn Traaseth of Innovation Norway, noted that governments should make informed policies and use tools that are based on the needs of the users, to help the tech ecosystem.

“These policies and tools cannot be based on what [government] bureaucrats determine and has to be created by the users,” she said in a panel discussion following Johansen's keynote. “Governments often do not know what’s best for the tech industry and therefore should let it decide what is the path to take [where innovation is concerned],” she argued

“On the government side, we should be asking ourselves where should we be investing, depend on the private sector to lead and assume that the private sector knows better.”

Traaseth, who has spent a bulk of her professional life with multinationals such as Hewlett Packard (now HPE), Oracle Corp, Computer Associates, noted that there is an important role for government agencies to bridge the gap between users and other governmental authorities.

She says that there is great value for people coming from the private sector into governmental agencies such as Innovation Norway, as she claimed that a lot of times, the two sectors do not really know how things work on either side.

Next page: Slashing bureaucracy

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