Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Compete for Tomorrow, Not Just Today

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Compete for Tomorrow, Not Just Today

Article excerpt

Byline: By Gordon Ollivere

For nearly 20 years, technology and innovation specialists at RTC North have been working with North-East companies on commercialising new products. Managing director Gordon Ollivere outlines challenges ahead for regional enterprise.

World population is growing by 30m a month. Non-nuclear energy supplies will be exhausted in 25 years. Some 33% of people do not have access to clean water. And if all our economic resources were shared equally, each citizen of the globe would have 85 cents a day to spend--

Will our regional economy survive in this global environment? Can our social institutions adapt quickly enough?

Surely, the answer depends on how extensively we exploit the ingenuity of people and find alternative resources and new ways of doing things.

The North of England was the cradle of the industrial revolution when scientists and engineers were considered heroes and role models. Innovators in the 18th Century did not get depressed about the future. They had real "attitude".Now it is not really about regions. We are global, and the powerful few can no longer monopolise benefits of technology.

The difference between rich and poor societies will be determined by the number of people they can produce with the capacity to innovate and engage in the knowledge economy. The North of England can meet this challenge.

In April we invited some of the most innovative companies in the world to one of the most important international events ever to come to the North-East. Speakers from Nasa, Honda, Google, P&G and Daimler Chrysler, and important research-led organisations came to the three- day conference ( Innovation in the 21st Century ( at the Hilton Hotel on Tyneside.

The 200 delegates there were left in no doubt as to the importance of the knowledge economy, and creating high-value industries driven by highly skilled North-East people.

But developing technology on its own is not enough any more; we must apply it to worldwide markets and have foresight to anticipate market changes. …

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