Conducting a broad diagnosis and responding to regional challenges is a large and complex task. I addressed this issue in the technical note of the 23rd conjuncture letter of the Conjuscs observatory.
Here we will focus on what we consider to be one of the central ‘nodes’ for continued development in the Greater ABC region: the issue of bringing companies, universities and public management closer together. In this context, the value of ‘Open Innovation’ is highlighted, where universities, companies, startups, governments and other actors help promote and share innovation.
One of the obstacles to be faced and overcome in Greater ABC is that innovation and technological development has taken place in a vertical and often closed manner within the large multinational company itself. In this way, since the second half of the 20th century, the rapprochement between companies, universities and public management has not been at the level of regional industrialization. It can be said that the regional innovation system of Grande ABC is fragile, considering the importance of this system for the competitiveness of any region today.
Therefore, in an up-to-date manner and in the form of preliminary contributions, below we propose some elements for the construction of public and private policies aimed at the reindustrialization of the region, through the convergence of industry, universities and public management, as indicated by the triple spiral model.
1. Reorganize and strengthen regional bodies, such as the Greater ABC Intermunicipal Consortium and the Greater ABC Economic Development Agency, through new forms of organization, members, changes to the statutes, among others.
2. Establish a Regional Development Forum, with the participation of public managers, entrepreneurs, labor unions, universities, among others.
3. Continue with APL (local production arrangements), to promote diagnoses, challenge and plan actions of production chains.
4. Encourage, in each of the production chains, industrial transformation policies, in terms of diversification of production lines, in order for the company to connect with strategic areas such as the defense industry, health production chain, oil and gas, technology and information and e-commerce.
5. To strengthen the regional innovation system, through actions such as:
5.1 Updating the list of supply and demand of technological services in the region.
5.2 Discussion and approval of unified regional legislation to support innovation.
5.3 Support for innovation spaces such as innovation centers, innovation centers and technology parks.
5.4. Realization of open innovation arenas, in the context of the so-called of open innovation, so that companies, startups, universities, managers and the market in general present their challenges and solutions.
5.5 Regional policy to attract research centers and laboratories, especially in areas such as the automotive industry, defense industry, healthcare supply chain, oil and gas, technology and information, and electronic commerce.
5.6 Advertise and engage researchers, universities and companies to meet and register on the researchers’ portal, which aims to facilitate the convergence of companies’ challenges and researchers’ projects. The expansion of this portal is part of a partnership between the Development Agency, Universitas (which owns the portal), USCS and other local universities.
5.7 Within the framework of the national regulatory framework for startups, structure a regional “sandbox” that facilitates solutions promoted by startups to help solve political problems of public management in support of regional and local industry.
6. Develop and implement the Regional Program for the implementation and expansion of Industry 4.0, especially through the introduction of the topic in the curriculum and educational programs; partnerships with corporations such as Google, IBM, Amazon, Facebook, in order to promote the development of courses, menus and qualification projects; conducting workforce qualification programs in areas such as big data, information security, 3D printing, software development.
The crisis in the Greater ABC industry is serious, but its fate is not determined. It is possible to change course and begin regional re-industrialisation, providing local industry with a promising phase in entrepreneurship, innovation, markets, investment and jobs. But for this, planning, cooperation and rapprochement between companies, universities and public administrations are necessary.