Victor Sánchez
Red OTT México
Expert Contributor

The Role of Technology Transfer in Fostering Innovation in Mexico

By Victor Gabriel Sánchez | Thu, 01/28/2021 - 09:16

In November 2019, Cornell University, INSEAD and WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) published the Global Innovation Index 2020 (GII2020). The report, which is the result of 13 years of research, presents the assessment of 80 innovation indicators from 130 countries, which represent 90 percent of the global population and 98 percent of the world’s GDP. The GII evaluates innovation processes and outputs on a yearly basis by identifying which factors are strengths or weaknesses within the selected countries and regions that take part in the study.

The last five reports (2016-2020) rank Switzerland in first place, with consistently solid results, whereas the United States and China have had ups and downs in the rankings every year. Chile has fallen several positions in the ranking (16 positions in the past 10 years) in Latin America, while Mexico has moved up in the ranking to second in the region. If this trend continues, Mexico might take first place in the next Global Innovation Index report, just above Chile and Costa Rica.

Despite its progress within the global ranking, Mexico has experienced a significant delay in several indicators in which technology transfer efforts can provide substantial value to further improve the country’s position, including industry-academia collaboration; foreign investment in local R&D; royalty payments; and an increase in local intellectual property mechanisms and registration of a greater number of family patents in a greater number of international offices.

During the last decade, the Mexican government created many programs and public policies to increase the number of technology transfer offices (OTTs) within the country and to strengthen their capabilities to generate a more effective articulation between technology supply and demand that results in the formation of a solid ecosystem. Technology transfer facilitates new knowledge and technology adoption by various types of organizations. Furthermore, it identifies, evaluates and filters technological needs that can be communicated to knowledge-generating institutions, which can focus on valuable lines of research and technological development.

Since its creation nine years ago, the Network of technology transfer offices in México (Red OTT México) has generated a variety of actions to strengthen technology transfer activities within the country, linking different actors within the ecosystem of entrepreneurship and innovation. Red OTT México aims to promote the transfer of technology through the development and synergy of the local OTTs and the professionalization of their human capital so as to strengthen the knowledge economy for the benefit of society. Red OTT México has adopted both training and collaboration as core elements to meet this objective.

At its last annual congress in November 2020, 820 people from 18 countries networked for five days on a digital platform composed of five master classes, four conferences, 19 workshops, one seminar, one round of pitches, four virtual visits to research centers and 17 business meetings that focused on improving the entrepreneurial ecosystem’s skills and competencies on issues related to technology transfer. In addition, the technological exhibition had 27 organizations that presented 185 technologies/services that were visited by 2,015 attendees.

Created in 2019 by Red OTT México with the support of the Ministry of Economy, LINKME, an interactive digital platform that centers on facilitating collaborations and technology transfer in Industry 4.0, today has more than 1,500 visits, 123 technological offer, demand and technological enablement files, and 311 users who interact to integrate solutions in the areas of big data, IoT, artificial intelligence and additive manufacturing, among other areas within Industry 4.0.

This is Red OTT México’s first article for Mexico Business News. In future articles, we will be sharing specific quantitative and qualitative information related to technology transfer. We will also address the national indicators of technology transfer obtained in the last four years and we will provide you with interesting cases of technology licensing and formation of technology-based companies that are impacting various markets through the integration of new products, processes and services.  Moreover, we will present the trends and areas of opportunity in technological development that are being addressed by competitors within Industry 4.0. Finally, we will share information about some of the internationalization programs that are focused on generating interaction with the Asia-Pacific and South American markets.

It is important for Red OTT México to communicate the technological capabilities and technological portfolio that are present in the country to solve different and complex national problems. In addition, Red OTT is eager to invite both the industry participants and the various government levels to identify the OTTs with which they can establish collaborations to solve specific technological needs, as it is only through a better connection and collaboration among the different actors present in the innovation ecosystem that tangible and sustainable results can be generated to improve the various indicators of science, technology and innovation in Mexico.

Photo by:   Victor Sánchez