Wednesday, July 16, 2008

International Regions Benchmarking

Susannah Malarkey, reporting about the Technology Alliance's International Regions Benchmarking Consortium offers kudos to their partners, Puget Sound Regional Council and the Trade Development Alliance, and lead sponsors Boeing and Microsoft for their contributions to a very successful inaugural conference in June.

There was an action-packed three days of presentations, panel discussions, site visits and information sharing among the members of our new international learning community: Barcelona; Daejeon; Dublin; Fukuoka; Helsinki; Melbourne; Munich; and Stockholm. Also joining were observers from Scotland, Singapore, and Vancouver, B.C.

Malarkey congratulated Lee Huntsman and Lane Rawlins for providing stellar leadership as conference co-chairs, keeping focused on the goal of forging greater regional understanding and cooperation. Brad Smith addressed the importance of benchmarking as a tool to set goals, measure progress, and identify best practices, while Bill Gates, Sr. joined Malarkey for a keynote conversation about the development of the Puget Sound region over the past several decades into a dynamic, innovation-based economy. Marty Smith served as the official TA delegate; and helping envision the consortium's future.

TA board member Randy Hassler hosted a conversation about location-based strategies to foster innovation at SBRI, and Mark Emmert for participating on a panel regarding the role of universities in promoting innovation. Tom Alberg and Rob Arnold did a wonderful job providing the investor and entrepreneur perspectives during a panel discussion ably moderated by David Tang.

Vaho Rebassoo and Rich White organized a visit to Boeing culminating in a tour of the 787 plant.

The delegates agreed to move forward with the development of benchmarks to help identify best practices and provide tools to measure progress, and Barcelona agreed to host the next conference in 2009. You can read more about the consortium and view conference photos and speaker presentations online.

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