Tag Archives: CIT UPC

Internationalization of innovation

Internationalization and innovation form the two pillars on which the growth of many successful companies is based. Economic globalization is driving all agents in the production system to expand their activity into new areas. Globalization is behind the creation of transnational partnerships, and provides opportunities to exploit competitive advantages in new markets.

Agreements and alliances are indispensable in these processes, and require resources in order to identify partners, negotiate, draw up and implement agreements successfully.

The concept of open innovation, which we mentioned in a previous post, points in the same direction as globalization. This was highlighted by Henry W. Chesbrough in his book of the same title: “Today, in many industries, the logic that supports an internally oriented, centralized approach to R&D has become obsolete. Useful knowledge has become widespread and ideas must be used with alacrity. If not, they will be lost.”

For a multinational or large company operating in global markets, internationalized innovation is part of the work philosophy. But what happens in small and medium-sized companies?

There are ways to help SMEs to access this global reality. One way is through initiatives promoted by agencies such as ACCIÓand by organizations including the ICEX, the CDTI and chambers of commerce like the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce. Opportunities may also arise in more everyday processes such as participation in and attendance of trade fairs in the sector, involvement in trade missions, specialized information in the press, and contacts made through suppliers, distributors and clients.

A few days ago, CIT UPC had the opportunity to take part in an event organized by FEDIT and ICEX on: Spain-Peru Technology Day, “Cooperation for Innovation in energy, sustainability, and recovery and marketing of industrial waste”,which was held in Lima on 2 December. There, we had the opportunity to present some of our technological capabilities to Peruvian companies in the energy, environment, sustainability and climate change sectors. Some of the technological developments and projects we presented were water management and treatment systems, systems for reducing the energy costs of industrial processes and technologies related to acoustics and vibration.

The experience was very positive, as there are real opportunities to collaborate and apply our technological potential in markets that are expanding rapidly. In these markets, local companies need to acquire innovative technologies to meet new demands and challenges associated with growth, as well as to comply with new regulations, address more complex, more expensive demands, and face competition with other companies that have competitive advantages.

For a technology centre like the CIT UPC, the prospect of contributing through innovation to the development of emerging countries such as Peru is a challenge. It involves working with Peruvian companies, universities and technology and research centres. We must join forces and establish permanent links between companies and universities from which everyone benefits.

This is both a challenge and an opportunity. As in the business world, internationalization offers new spaces in which to grow and improve, in which the value of knowledge and knowledge transfer increases dramatically and contributes to spreading the values on which our activity is based: efficiency and sustainability.

Clusters: collaborate to compete

A few weeks ago, the Health Technologies Cluster was presented in Barcelona. This cluster brings together 17 organizations with a total turnover of 650 million and 6,500 employees. The organizations include hospitals, companies and suppliers of knowledge and technology, such as the CIT UPC through CREB UPC.

Michael Porter, an American from the Harvard Business School, defines a cluster as “a geographic concentration of interconnected companies and institutions in a particular sector or market segment that collaborate to be more competitive”.

It is a relatively modern concept of relationships between organizations that has developed rapidly. According to the European Cluster Observatory, 38% of employees work in companies that are part of a cluster. In Europe alone, over 2,000 clusters have been identified.

Clusters are based around companies that compete in similar markets. But what is it that makes firms join platforms such as clusters? The answer is the advantages and opportunities resulting from this collaboration, which boost their competitiveness. For example, cluster members can access specialized suppliers and services, and find technological partners who provide applied knowledge or specialized training programs.

IMG_0494All cluster members have similar benefits; the difference lies in how each one takes advantage of its membership of the group and to what extent the collaboration enables it to develop or improve its own products and services and thus become more competitive.

Other advantages increase the importance of these networks, which become channels for communicating with governments to design relevant technology policies (on legalization, calls for grant applications and training programs, for example). Clusters help to identify joint needs on which to act, such as shared operating platforms or R&D activities. They become spaces from which to manage alliances, in order to take on larger projects and enter new markets.

The Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya Technology Center (CIT UPC), and its member centers, form part of several clusters as the Catalan Automotive Cluster; SECPhO, in the photonics and optics sector, through the Centre for Sensors, Instruments and Systems Development (CD6 UPC); the Spanish Platform of Innovation in medical technologies of Fenin, a medical technologies platform; the Health Technologies Cluster through the Biomedical Engineering Research Centre (CREB UPC), mentioned at the start of this piece ; as well a European technology platform for the rail industry, SHIFT²RAIL. In all cases, CIT UPC and its members bring their knowledge and the capacity to develop comprehensive R&D solutions in collaboration with companies and with other research centers.

Collaboration between public and private entities in specific sectors and in a certain geographic environment makes these kinds of experiences possible. A mid- to long-term vision is needed to achieve this, and a balance between collaboration and competition, which is not easy to achieve, but is the key to the system. This sums up the philosophy of clusters: collaborate to compete.

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