The fundamental role of Universities on the
inception and growing of Innovation and Business Clusters
with real Economic Impact
José Basílio Simões
Founder CEO of ISA, Invited Professor at University of Coimbra
IICM Mateus Meetings, 23rd-25th September - Universities, Knowledge Partners for Intelligent Communities
We have a competitiveness issue…
Evolution of the position of Portugal in the ranking:
Top 50...
Position 45 of Portugal corresponds to
77% of the score of the leader: Switzerland
Idea is not enough...
What is the Competitiveness?
“We define competitiveness as the set of institutions,
policies, and factors that determine the level of
productivity of a country. The level of productivity, in
turn, sets the level of prosperity that can be earned by an
economy. The productivity level also determines the rates
of return obtained by investments in an economy, which
in turn are the fundamental drivers of its growth rates”
Portugal must act immediately in order to increase the
capability of creating and delivering value into the economy!
Idea is not enough...
Where should we act?
Portugal is in the stage 3 of development, which means that
we have an Innovation-driven Economy
(not anymore based in the low price of the goods or low labor costs...)
Why did we lose competitiveness?
Portugal is improving the pillars that were already good,
and getting worse in the weak pillars!
How we compare with “countries like us”?
How we compare with “countries like us”?
In terms of Competitiveness, Portugal is dangerously
in the tail of this club of “countries like us”…
Portugal and “Countries like us” benchmarking...
Portugal ranks very well in Infrastructure and Technological Readiness
pillars, but very bad in Institutions and Innovation pillars!
Innovation is turning into the best
opportunity for business growth!
Top 5 countries confirm
the importance of Innovation!
Innovation, Labor market efficiency and Country’s Institutions
are crucial to the Competitiveness!
We need Innovation.
… but that is not simply having an idea!
Innovation is the creation and delivery of new
customer value into the marketplace with a
sustainable profit for the enterprise.
So… we need customers!
We must focus into the important customer
and market needs!
... and this is true also for the Universities!
Investing in R&D is also not enough…!
Since 2005 Portugal has been the European country
with the higher increase in the R&D budgets!
(we are now the 16th in Europe, spending more than Norway
and Spain for instance, as a percentage of the GDP)
However… remember that Productivity level determines
the rates of return obtained by investments in an
economy… which in turn are the fundamental drivers of
its growth rates”
We must improve our capability of converting R&D
investment into economic value! That is Innovation!
Entrepreneurship is the key!
We must develop an entrepreneurial mindset
in our young people.
That mindset should be present everyday,
everywhere, either when we are students,
employees or promoters of a new venture!
This should be a key priority for the University
(and for the School...).
Customer and Market Focus, Value Proposition, Negotiation
techniques, Business Model, Planning of Operations, Taking Risks...
-> are topics that should be addressed by the Universities!
Role of the University
As a CEO, I need to hire entrepreneurial people
in order to grow my business.
Customer and Market Focus, Value Proposition, Negotiation
techniques, Planning of Operations, Taking Risks...
-> topics that should be addressed by the Universities!
I also need new local innovative companies that
I can subcontract! (Innovation Ecosystem...)
So... The University must align with those goals:
- the criteria to finance the University
- the KPIs of each Group/Department
- the Compensation Plans of the Professors
- the criteria to conduct the performance appraisals and
sorting of the Professors
Role of the University
Entrepreneurs and new startups are not enough!
We need to create and deliver to the market sustainable value...
It is mandatory that companies grow, as fast as possible.
If they have a sustainable and scalable business model, they
should be “easily” internationalized...
Universities should be very concerned with that.
Universities should “work” to help local companies to grow
(be focused in the market and customer needs; be aware of the
market dynamics!).
Helping companies to grow is the best strategy to translate R&D
budget into real economic value.
So, Universities should measure and be ranked by the creation
and delivering of economic value into the society.
We are what we share!
As important as the entrepreneurial mindset is the
development of a truly sharing attitude.
Sharing is crucial to build an innovation ecosystem that
could help everybody, every company to grow and to
succeed faster.
Sharing contacts, sharing ideas, sharing experiences
and, above of all, sharing the failures and the reasons of
All of us learn with our mistakes, but wisdom is really
learning from other people’s mistakes. That’s why smart
people love to share, because we cannot receive if we
are not used to give!
Silicon Valley
If you look into the reasons why Silicon Valley is what it
is, you quickly find out that main reason is due to the
innovation ecosystem. For long time world-class
engineering, marketing and sales talent from all over the
globe are attracted to that environment where
academics, investors, lawyers, public relation specialists
and many others who understand their role in starting
and scaling the hottest tech companies are used to
share not only their successes but also their failures.
Young people who want to startup their own new
venture can easily learn from experienced investors and
serial entrepreneurs.
What is and Why a Living Lab?
ISA Living Lab
Platform for exchanging the best practices towards the
user driven open innovation of products and services, in
our case specially focused but not limited to the
metering and sensing domains of Energy and Health.
Open community / ecosystem that facilitates the
establishment of partnerships between the different
actors involved in the co-creation and full life cycle of a
new product or service from idea to the market launch.
ISaLL - Intelligent Sensing and Smart Services Living Lab
SmartCity, SmartRural
International Connections
Luleå LL
Helsinki LL
Escelsa LL
Bandeirantes LL
(APOLLON pilot)
R&D Pilots
Business Partnership
Business Partnership
Vitória LL
Vitória LL
Technology Transfer
Lisbon LL
Amsterdam LL
Electro-Paulo LL
Business Model
North of Europe…
The role of the University
Entrepreneurial and sharing attitudes are characteristics
that we cannot teach, neither we can learn reading a
book or an excellent paper. We should practice them!
The University should be aware of that and promote and
facilitate that kind of behaviours.
The University has a fundamental role on the inception
and growing of Innovation and Business Clusters with
real economic impact.
Thank you for your attention
Jose Basilio Simoes
President and CEO
[email protected]

Smart LPG metering in Europe