Víctor Sánchez
Red OTT México
Expert Contributor

Promote Regionalization to Foster Innovation Collaboration

By Victor Gabriel Sánchez | Wed, 06/30/2021 - 12:51

The dynamics of collaboration between actors coexisting in the same region and focusing on strengthening both their technological capacities and their strategic sectors have served as significant strategies to boost their competitiveness through regional innovation systems in various places.

The OECD has analyzed how these collaborations can cross borders to generate synergies among countries by evaluating six case studies from Europe in which growth opportunities based on innovation are identified in border cities that share relevant economic activities.

Global Ecosystem Dynamics, an initiative affiliated with MIT’s D-Lab Local Innovation Group, creates collaboration maps to understand how economic ecosystems work around the world. Its studies highlight the importance of collaboration in cities and regions to give cohesion and sustainability to ecosystems, whether they focus on social issues, economic issues, or innovation.

In Mexico, different academic and scientific institutions (ANUIES and CONACYT, for example) have promoted regionalization to articulate their institutions and research centers in joint collaboration projects.  Likewise, business chambers such as COPARMEX and CANACINTRA consider that regionalization is a key element in the economic reactivation of the country. At the governmental level, the Central-Bajio-Occidente Alliance (made up of Aguascalientes, Guanajuato, Queretaro, San Luis Potosi, and Jalisco’s state governments) generates collective actions to promote economic issues such as the strengthening of productive chains.

In this same dynamic, one of the strategic projects of the RED OTT MÉXICO is the regionalization of technology transfer in our country. The project, launched this year, is coordinated by Elizabeth Solis who serves as director of memberships on the Board of Directors of the RED OTT MÉXICO.  The purpose of these activities is to strengthen the innovation and technology transfer ecosystems of the country and the regions to:

  1. Boost innovation and entrepreneurship activities.
  2. Foster the integration and joint participation of TTOs in Mexico.
  3. Strengthen communication and alliances between TTOs and actors in the regions.

Through seven regional leaders and the various institutions within each region, specific projects will be carried out promoted by the RED OTT MÉXICO and by the participants of each group, adding value to each of them and taking advantage of their capacities, strengths, and alliances.  These projects include:

  1. Training of specialized TTO personnel.
  2. Identification and integration of new TTOs to the network.
  3. Regional innovation projects.
  4. Procurement of regional funds.

The Northwest Region, coordinated by the Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education of Ensenada, includes the states of Baja California, Baja California Sur, Sonora, and Sinaloa.

The Northeast Region concentrates the states of Chihuahua, Nuevo Leon, Coahuila, Tamaulipas, Durango, and Zacatecas and it is coordinated by the University of the Valley of Mexico.

Due to its size and concentration of technology transfer offices, the Mexico City Region concentrates only organizations located in the city. It is coordinated by the Panamericana University.

The Western Region, coordinated by the University of Guadalajara, includes the states of Nayarit, Jalisco, Michoacan, Colima, and Aguascalientes.

The Central Region, coordinated by the Autonomous University of San Luis Potosi, covers the states of San Luis Potosi, Guanajuato, Queretaro, the State of Mexico, Morelos, and Guerrero.

The Veracruzana University coordinates the Southeast Region, which includes the states of Veracruz, Hidalgo, Puebla, Tlaxcala, and Oaxaca.

The Southeast Region, coordinated by the Anáhuac Mayab University, integrates the states of Tabasco, Chiapas, Campeche, Yucatan, and Quintana Roo.

The first meeting of these regional groups was held in May to start work. Some of the most relevant activities proposed in the meeting include the following:

• Document regional activities related to technology transfer.

• Contribute to making technology transfer mechanisms cross-sectional and non-linear.

• Position the TTO Mexico Network as a united and strengthened organization across all regions.

• Disseminate the events of the different TTOs to have greater scope and coverage.

• Promote regional innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystems.

• Establish goals among all regions that stimulate technology transfer within the country.

• Exchange good practices in technology transfer and promote synergy among TTOs.

• Strengthen communication, incubation, development, and consolidation of TTOs in the country.

• Organize joint activities articulating regional impact efforts.

Several challenges are important to address so that the collaboration generates the expected effects in the region: knowledge of the various actors that support the innovation initiative in the region; the diagnosis of technological needs specific to specialized economic sectors by region; the relevance of the decentralization of organizations to speed up decision-making; and the design of effective and flexible collaboration mechanisms to operate in scenarios with limited financial resources. To date, the RED OTT MÉXICO has begun to generate interactions with academic, business, and governmental institutions to advance in these aspects.

In a country so diverse in its regions and sectors, consolidating technology transfer activities through the interaction of TTOs located in these seven regions constitutes a strategic move to continue promoting innovation in the country and articulating technology supply and demand at different levels.

Photo by:   Victor Sánchez