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Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Alex Usher looks at the oft-touted strategy of mobilizing university resources to develop a regional innovation cluster. It involves a process of working with the local business community, identifying opportunities, and committing resources to developing expertise in that area. However, as Usher comments, "who is "business" in this case?  Is it new businesses, upstarts coming out of nowhere in new fields of endeavour?  Or is it existing businesses, pillars of the community, which tend to be in well-established industries?" And therein lies the problem. It's the same problem I've faced when we've been given a mandate to partner with industry. They uniformly resisted developing something genuinely new, because it would threaten their existing business model. As Usher says, "serving the economy of tomorrow rather than the economy of yesterday should get more policy attention than it does."

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada
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