Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Open innovation a turning point for R&D collaboration?

In retrospect, as detailed in a report by Business Korea, many plans by large global IT firms to establish R&D centers in Korea turned out to be empty promises.  The article noted that "According to industry sources on Nov. 13, most foreign firms have failed to fulfill their promises to set up R&D centers and make investments in the country. Even if R&D centers were created, they did not play a significant role, ultimately leading to shutdowns after only a few years. Or, they have been merely used as a place to test products." The article went on to note that Huawei's recent announcement of its plan to set up an R&D center in the nation has raised suspicions once again. "Industry analysts are saying that Huawei's announcement can be interpreted as a conciliatory gesture to the Korean government to target the local market, following its recent entry. In the end, the announcement turned out to be merely a possibility that the Chinese Android device maker will consider building an R&D center with the Korean government's support."
On the other hand, as reported by The Joongang Daily "The governments of Korea and France decided to conduct jointly funded R&D projects to develop software and parts for driverless cars, wearable devices and digital medical devices. The projects will start next year with 3 billion won ($2.7 million) from the two countries and 10.3 billion won from the European Commission’s Eureka program fund." The article quoted Hwang Gyu-yeon, assistant minister of industrial creativity and innovation at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy as saying that “Open innovation through international technology cooperation is a must to survive in a time when global technology competition is heated than ever before. So far, the Korea-France relationship was mainly based on Korea’s unilateral importing of advanced technologies,” he added. “But through today’s cooperation, I hope the two countries can benefit from each other’s technological strengths.”
The digital network revolution along with the rise of big data, citizen science and more mobile, ubiquitous networks seems to be pushing government, corporate and public institutions toward more open sharing of data and research aimed at innovation!  It will be difficult, if not impossible to turn back this tide.

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