Philippe Vanrie looks at the relevance of open ways of thinking and doing business in an increasingly complex geopolitical context
Thinking out-of-the-box, acting out-of-theplace! This might well be the baseline of any networked organisations, or any open and interacting communities, which have deliberately been built on the power of collective intelligence. It is about intelligence!
And you may have recently observed that a worrying proportion of our political leaders are not exactly behaving as we would expect or want. Instead there seems to be much thinking inside-the-box; and an assumption that closing doors (and building walls) would eventually bring better solutions to combat societal and economic challenges.
Our theory, however, backed by massive evidence and anchored in decades of field experience, is the opposite one. Intelligence is not only built by our individual cognitive skills, but grows thanks to ideas and experiences brought out by, and shared with, others. These others being citizens and business objects often living outside of the village/the valley, working in different ecosystems, active in another business sector, adopting disruptive economic models, inventing new organisational patterns, reconnecting small and big businesses (yes, we’re talking open innovation), twinning public and private, etc.
And guess what? This connected and collective intelligence generates innovation, competitiveness, welfare, and, more often than not, happiness.
Our vision, fed by imagination and action, is also nurtured by discovery - scientific discovery, entrepreneurial discovery, and territorial discovery. Geography is everything. Next door (in other European regions), or further afield in other continents, adopting an open international vision is a critical success factor, and can make the difference. International Networks (such as EBN and EUREKA) are perfect examples of what can be done when you combine the networked community mode with the international vision.
The power of the Open Eureka, Eurostars and Global Stars concepts, and the bridges created by EBN and its partners with the new EU International Centres (NearUS, ERICENA and CEBRABIC) are creating virtuous connecting platforms between European countries, and countries like the US, Canada, Israel, India, China, SouthKorea, Japan, South Africa, Chile, Argentina, etc. Our strengths also rely on the effective decentralised pattern of our networks, irrigating the geographies throughout place-based operational nodes, at regional and local levels; think the EU|BICs of the EBN network, and at national levels, the national funding and innovation agencies of the EUREKA network.
And yes, this enables thousands of innovative startups, spin-offs, SMEs and larger firms to grow, expand, and create wealth, in multiple places, with multiple partners, and multiple socio-economic impacts. Wishing you an inspiring journey across our ecosystems’ geography and its diversity.
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