Tag: innovation

Basque Country mentioned in Washington Post report on European innovation

Rick Noack of the Washington Post recently reported on European innovation levels in his article “Where Europe is most and least innovative, in 6 maps.”  Citing the recent European Union Innovation Scoreboard,  Noack notes that, “the Basque country — an autonomous region in Spain — is the country’s only area that is more innovative than the E.U. average.”

European innovation

Check out the full report here.

See, too, Javier Echeverria’s fascinating study of innovation at the European level: Innovation and Values: A European Perspective.

Likewise, the Center has published two books specifically on innovation–in all its guises–in the Basque Country: Implications of Current Research on Social Innovation in the Basque Country, edited by Ander Gurrutxaga Abad and Antonio Rivera, free to download here; and Innovation: Economic, Social, and Cultural Aspects, edited by Mikel Gómez Uranga and Juan Carlos Miguel de Bustos, free to download here.

 

Glowing online review for Basque education system

Sean Coughlan, education correspondent for the online BBC news service, recently published an illuminating report on the Basque education system that I would encourage you all to read.

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Students at the Altzaga Ikastola in Leioa, Bizkaia, take part in the “Gure Ohiturak” (Our Customs) dance group. Photo by Gorkaazk, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The article rests on the fascinating premise that the singularity of the Basque education system “with a strong sense of identity and ambition, emerging from conflict and with a need to compete with much bigger neighbours” potentially makes it “the next rising star” in the world of innovative education.  And referring to the strong emphasis on investment in research and development, Coughlan observes that, “In many ways, the educational profile feels more like a pocket of Scandinavia rather than southern Europe.”

Indeed, the Basque government’s education minister, Cristina Uriarte, is quoted as saying: “Education is the key to keeping our culture.” We couldn’t agree more!

Read the full report here.

If you’re interested in this topic, check out the Center publication Equality, Equity, and Diversity: Educational Solutions in the Basque Country, edited by Alfonso Unceta and Concepción Medrano. This book is available free to download here.

You may also be interested in the following related works:

Implications of Current Research on Social Innovation in the Basque Country, edited by Ander Gurrutxaga Abad and Antonio Rivera. Free to download here

Innovation: Economic, Social, and Cultural Aspects, edited by Mikel Gómez Uranga and Juan Carlos Miguel de Bustos. Free to download here

Basque Government signs partnership agreement with Minnesota State Colleges and Universities

A groundbreaking agreement, based on the exchange of information, research, and ideas, was signed last week, April 28th, between the Basque government and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.

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The four industrial revolutions. Image by Christoph Roser at AllAboutLean.com. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The agreement establishes a partnership that provides for several cooperative activities. For example, the participants may develop education and training resources, share research and best practices, and develop exchange opportunities for apprentices. A partnership between the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities eight Centers of Excellence (which promote connectivity between industry and our colleges and universities) and the Basque Centre for Investigation and Applied Innovation in Vocational and Educational Training (Tknika, which is a center of innovation and applied research funded by the Basque Government) will establish opportunities for collaborative research and professional development. Other avenues of cooperation described in the agreement include exchanges of non-confidential academic material, as well as government, business, and industry delegations, and exchanging information about vocational education and training systems.

The agreement is part of a general shift toward what many people consider Industry 4.0 or the fourth industrial revolution, which involves data exchange as well as technologies and concepts of value chain organization.

See a full report on the agreement here.

For an introduction to the Basque economy, see Basque Economy: From Industrialization to Globalization, by Mikel Gómez Uranga, free to download here.

Check out, too, a couple of other Center publications that specifically address the transformation of the modern economy to more knowledge- and innovation-based societies: on knowledge as a commodity to be developed, exchanged, and marketed, see see Knowledge Communities, edited by Javier Echeverria, Andoni Alonso, and Pedro J. Oiarzabal; and on the multiple (and sometimes surprising) ways in which we can think about innovation, see Innovation and Values by Javier Echeverria.

Innovation and Values Reviewed in the Revista Española de Investigaciones Sociológicas

We were pleased to see this great review appear of Javier Echeverria’s book Innovation and Values: A European Perspective in the respected journal the Revista Española de Investigaciones Sociológicas (Spanish Review of Sociological Research). Read the review (in Spanish) here.  The book, part of our Douglass Scholar series, is the result of research that Javier Echeverria conducted while he was here at the Center as the William A. Douglass distinguished scholar.

innovation and values

This important book seeks to understand “innovation,” a rather murky word that suffers from a glut of progandandizing both here and across the Atlantic.  Echeverria tackles the subject by arguing that, rather than solely focusing on R&D processes, true innovation stems from a number of sources that are social, cultural, public, political, and business and combinations of all of the above. In the opinion of the reviewer, and Echeverria, the European communities’ focus solely on R&D is to the detriment of true innovation. Instead, Echeverria argues for a different model of innovation that is based on society, innovation, development, and research.

In summary, the reviewer says:  “El rigor académico mostrado por este trabajo hace que sea una contribución de gran envergadura para el avance del estatus científico de los estudios de innovación y una referencia a la que los interesados en este campo podremos recurrir constantemente en busca de una hoja de ruta para nuestras propias investigaciones y análisis.” (“The academic rigor demonstrated by this work makes it a contribution of great importance for the advancement of the scientific status of innovation studies and a reference that those of us who are interested in the field will return to constantly in search of road map for our own research and analysis.”)

Zorionak Javier on this great review!

The Basque Economy: Present Reality and Future Prospects

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The Euro symbol. By Svilen.milev, at Wikimedia Commons

Two interesting articles on the Basque economy have recently been published by BasqueTribune:

In “How is the Basque Economy Doing?” economist Joseba Barandiaran offers a general overview of the present situation, describing a predominantly service-based economy but with an important manufacturing sector. While noting the healthy state of this “relatively rich economy,” Barandiaran also points out certain major challenges that need to be addressed: improving the technological dimension of Basque manufacturing, increasing RDI investment, and, perhaps most difficult of all, addressing the continuing demographic decline in the Basque Country. Read the full article here.

In “The Basque Country: We Lived in the Future (We Just Were Not Aware of It)” economist Asier Alea criticizes the assumption that advanced economies are merely service-based, arguing for a critical reflection on the place of manufacturing in contemporary societies. In his view, the recent crisis has demonstrated that those economies that maintained a robust manufacturing sector were better able to cope with the ensuing problems. We are, he argues, now on the verge of a new industrial revolution that will also herald new social and cultural changes involving a global vision rooted in strong local identities; changes that, he contends, the Basque Country is well placed to capitalize on, having embraced this vision already. Read the full article here.

If you’re interested in these topics, check out some of the Center publications on the Basque economy and related issues such as globalization and innovation.

Basque Economy: From Industrialization to Globalization, by Mikel Uranga, available free to download here. A general survey of the historical evolution of the modern Basque economy from its roots in heavy industry to the more diverse contemporary situation.

Implications of Current Research on Social innovation in the Basque Country, edited by Ander Gurrutxaga Abad and Antonio Rivera. An examination of social innovation in the Basque Country, focusing on knowledge transfer, learning, and innovation.

Innovation: Economic, Social, and Cultural Aspects, edited by Mikel Gómez Uranga and Juan Carlos Miguel de Bustos.  A study of the different ways in which innovation is understood in the Basque Country.

Basque Cooperativism, edited by Baleren Bakaikoa and Eneka Albizu. A comprehensive exploration of why the cooperative movement has flourished in the Basque Country and its response to the challenge of globalization.

Behavior and Organizational Change, edited by Sabino Ayestarán and Jon Barrutia Goenaga. Leadership, management, and cooperation in the workplace are all examined here from the perspective of the Basque Country.

See also a couple of more recent publications that examine the general issues raised in the abovementioned books in more detail:

Innovation and Values: A European Perspective, by Javier Echeverria. Charts the historical development of innovation policies and offers a new line of research that takes into account the history and philosophy of science and technology, but which underscores the profound specificities of the concept of innovation.

Building the Basque City. The Political Economy of Nation-Building, by Nagore Calvo Mendizabal. A critical examination of different perspectives on nation and state formation in Spain and the Basque Country within a European context, taking economic issues such as the controversial High Speed Train project and European integration as its focus.