The good news, however, is that most business leaders agree that in addition to its excellent physical infrastructure, Europe is endowed with an energetic, well-educated workforce. Can the EU harness this core strength and focus its talent and energy to promote innovation? A significant number of respondents believe that the answer is yes. If the region is to do so, however, it must take such measures as prioritizing science and technology at every level of education.
Jean-Philippe Courtois, President of Microsoft International sees digital skills as a key enabler for growth potential in Europe - it has become necessary to have these skills in almost every industry. Cloud computing is also a big enabler is a driver of growth and enables innovation. It should create many jobs in Europe.
Barbara Frei, Region manager Mediterranean, ABB Italy Country Manager and CEO of ABB S.p.A. feels that there is a lack of young people with the skills that her company needs in Europe and feels that more needs to be done. She also wants to encourage entrepreneurship - making things easier and encouraging people to take risk.
Most panelists discussing "reinventing innovation and technology" added that there is not a great appetite for mobility for employees in Europe and would like to see more flexibility on the work market.
Bruno Strigini, President of Europe/Canada, MSD feels that the Silicon Valley should be seen as an example of something that Europe could emulate. It is essential to define what sectors in which Europe can be competitive and focus on those - rather than try to be good everywhere. There is the impression that China is just good at manufacturing but they are making strong progress in Academia and Europe needs to invest massively in certain sectors.
Mark Otty, Area Managing Partner EMEIA, Ernst & Young agrees that it is essential to create a concept of silicon valley and bring together skills, companies and academia to create a center for innovation. We should not assume that the emerging countries are not able to innovate and not worry about it because more and more companies are also outsourcing their R&D.
Copyright INSEAD Knowledge 2012