Could Brazilian organizations be doing more to learn from what centers of excellence in mobile technology overseas are doing? Knowledge management and social innovation specialist José Luiz Barbosa discusses the topic in the second part of a two-part guest article for IT Decisions.
Sweden has done business in Brazil for more than a century and nowadays there are approximately 200 Swedish companies that are well established in the Brazilian market.
To the passing observer, these companies are more visible in agriculture, where Scania or Volvo supplies most of the trucks. However, Sweden and Brazil have signed a strategic cooperation agreement in 2009 which covers seven core areas – one of them being innovation, science and technology.
That same year, the Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems (Vinnova) published some research papers on international strategy, one being about the theme of high-tech cooperation between Brazil and Sweden.
My view is that although Brazil and Sweden have a strong story when it comes to business, but when the subject is the information technology sector, it seems that there a partnership between the two countries around mobility does not exist. There is, however, a lot of knowledge from both sides that could be shared through open innovation cluster with such as the group in Lund, southern Sweden, which I mentioned in my previous article.
“If at first, the idea is not absurd, then there is the hope for it” – Albert Einstein
Open Innovation ”assumes that firms can and should use external ideas as well as internal ideas, and internal and external paths to market, as the firms look to advance their technology…”. Also, I believe that internal inventions or research that is being used in practice by a company, it should be placed in the hands of entrepreneurs outside the business.
That was the main principle used for creating Mobile Heights (MH) and its Business Center in Sweden. MH provides its members with research, business, projects opportunities and environments in which to do business. In May this year I was at the first event organized by the initiative, to attract new prospects for Lund. More than 50 companies and around 70 people attended and heard presentations with a view of becoming partners or members.
Within MH, there is a Business Center for entrepreneurs interested in mobile communications as part of a value chain in hardware, software and services. The Business Center links patents and unexplored ideas from companies such as Ericsson and TeliaSonera to entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs get help to find funding as well as coaching. As it stands now, there are 40 active projects in the center and the goal is to have created ten viable enterprises by the end of 2011.
In the health sector, for example, upcoming projects include projects aimed at improving people’s quality of life. Here, MH and its Business Center intend to meet entrepreneurs and companies active in the health and food sector to work on new mobile solutions aimed at preventive care. Here, mobile technology can help streamline processes, while equipping doctors and other health professionals with the tools they need to diagnose and treat diseases.
”I hear and I forget, I see and I remember. I do and I understand. “- Chinese proverb
Many countries and foreign investors are eyeing the technology sector in Brazil. Investment funds in Silicon Valley, as well as Spanish and British investors are looking for Brazilian start-ups in which to invest and looking at how they can create partnerships with Brazil.
But the idea that I would like to propose here for small and medium businesses is that – within the principle of open innovation in the mobility area and considering a service economy in full bloom all over the world – they should look at what is being done abroad, in places like Sweden, to create partnerships in R&D and new business.
Why would you rediscover the wheel? However, it does make sense to find partnerships that could give Brazil some advantage in service delivery from the internal and external market points of view. I agree with the view that Brazil must find a unique selling proposition and its wide range of expertise in open source software is an obvious area of potential that has not been fully exploited.
A strategy for an accelerated transition to a competitive knowledge economy is sorely needed in Brazil. This could generate real benefits for our local IT industry and also lead us to become a leading global mobility player. This does make sense, since we have 40 million people with onlineand the eighth largest nation in terms of internet use. The solution is to create partnerships that foster innovation through co-creation. In this context, I see Sweden as a great potential partner.
Image by Dunechaser licensed under Creative Commons.