Now I have been a few days in Bogotá. I have, together with other Swedish representatives visited and held meetings with universities and organizations that organize and promote investment or innovation.
Many impressions. Several of the universities are of high class. The country has many talents, both Bogotá but also, for example, Medellin is becoming interesting hubs of innovation. Growth and enthusiasm are evident, not least after the peace agreement last year. Colombia and Bogota are already and will likely become an increasingly important gateway to several other countries in both the South and Central America. So, the prospects for both scientific exchanges and business is good.
Challenges? Yes. Here, as in so many others countries, large social and economic gaps are visible and if/when these gaps will increase further, it will of course mean major hardship. Something that also applies to Sweden by the way. Another thing is the lack of good infrastructure here in the very big city of Bogotá. Public transports need to develop to improve the everyday life and air quality.
I was invited to join this trip to talk about how Triple Helix collaboration works in Sweden. I have tried to give an honest image and presented what I believe are the most important challenges.
When the Colombian hosts have described their situation, it is a word that appeared many times. Trust. All stakeholders want to build synergies between the different parts of the innovation ecosystem. But to make Triple Helix to work requires stakeholders to trust each other, that they dare to let go of control and trust that cooperation means that the effect, so to speak, will be even greater than the joint effort. In successful Triple Helix 1 + 1 + 1 will be at least 4 so to speak.
Innovation requires courage. Even in collaborative practices. If not, it does not matter how large the expertise there is within each stakeholder.