A few weeks ago, I posted a blog entry about my work leading Microsoft’s Local Software Economy initiative, which aims to accelerate the development of innovative software industries worldwide. As part of this post, I pointed out five of the ten most important factors that influence a nation’s ability to foster a highly productive and innovative IT economy. In today’s post, I’d like to take a look at the remaining five.
6. National IT innovation policies
How a government perceives ICT can greatly influence its ability to encourage IT entrepreneurism. Nations that place a greater emphasis on ICT strategy, take steps to promote ICT, and have a clear role for ICT in their futures are more likely to foster an atmosphere of IT innovation and growth. Many countries are already leading the way when it comes to establishing clear innovation policies related to ICT. Take Mexico for example, which recently announced an ambitious new digital agenda. Ireland similarly unveiled its own national digital strategy in April.
7. Cohesive institutional webs
Without the right institutional framework, it can be difficult to create an entrepreneurial environment that encourages innovation. This includes having efficient legal frameworks to guide the establishment of new businesses, effective law-making bodies, judicial independence, and laws that protect proprietary innovations. With cohesive policies and regulations in place, nations can encourage the development of innovative IT businesses within their borders.
8. Public research systems
Knowledge is critical to the success of any nation’s economy and sustainability. To maintain a solid foundation of knowledge and to stay abreast of new developments in technology, a public research system is essential. Factors such as the quality of scientific research institutions, types of research services available to entrepreneurs in local cities, and the level of collaboration taking place between industry and universities can greatly impact the level of innovation found within a local IT economy.
9. A skilled workforce
Similar to having a strong public research system, a skilled workforce is essential to building a thriving local economy. Worldwide, Microsoft works closely with nations to extend educational opportunities to youth to help them develop the IT skills needed to succeed in an increasingly competitive workforce. For instance, Microsoft’s Innovation Centers around the world are helping students, local companies and startups with unique training, mentoring, certification, and business development opportunities.
10. Market environment
A nation’s overall market environment can also influence how well its IT economy performs. Market factors like the average cost and time required to start a business, as well as overall market demand for software can have an enormous impact on the maturity of a nation’s local IT economy.
By understanding how each of these factors affects IT innovation and entrepreneurism, nations can identify where future investment may be needed. By doing so, they are already on a path toward fostering stronger local IT economies. Be sure to check out my original blog post outlining the first five factors that influence innovative IT economies.
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