Thursday 1st NOVEMBER 2012
Dear Friends, it is a pleasure to join you at the launch of this
innovation fair.
It seems nothing can stop Turkey's determination to innovate, not
even the Kurban Bayrami and Republic Day celebrations!
I hope you had a wonderful holiday.
It is an honour to address you alongside my good friend Nihat
Ergun, the minister for Science, Technology and Industry, and
Cevdet Yilmaz, minister for growth and development.
The presence of both ministers is symbolic of the importance the
Turkish government gives to innovation in the face of many
After all, there seems to be no end to the number of Presidents,
Prime Ministers, Secretary Generals and ambassadors beating a
path to Istanbul, stopping traffic and demanding time with Ministers.
From the UK, in the last year, the British Business Secretary,
Universities Minister and Deputy Prime Minister have all been to
Istanbul to discuss Turkey's expansion.
The reason for such interest is obvious.
There are few countries with the current growth, or the potential for
further growth, that Turkey has. People naturally want to take
advantage of this.
But my message today is slightly different.
For sustainable growth to continue, products, processes and
technologies have to be developed here in Turkey. This is where
value must be created, not just added.
The role of outsiders should be to act as co-operative catalysts to
domestic innovation, which will benefit all of us.
The challenge is how to make that happen.
The good news is that Turkey has made huge progress in
innovation in the last decade.
Research and development spending has doubled as a share of
There are fifty thousand more full time R&D researchers.
Crucially, this growth in innovation hasn't just been about the state
spending more.
The private sector's share of research and development spending
has quadrupled in just seven years.
As a result, the number of domestic patents has increased by more
than ten times.
Nor are you satisfied with your achievements.
The Prime Minister's recent announcement of extra help for “angel
investors” will help many of the exhibitors at this fair attract
This will help Turkey reach the Vision 2023 targets of a two trillion
dollar economy and five hundred billion dollars in exports.
But innovation is about more than just economic growth.
Innovation is the most practical path we have to a better, more
secure, safer, more prosperous future.
This is a grand claim to make.
After all, how does making a better car battery, or even launching a
rocket into space, compare to the crises that dominate politics and
foreign affairs?
But consider this:
Just two weeks ago, the world paused for a moment, to gaze at
televisions, computers, tablets, mobile phones, to watch a man
jump from the sky to the earth.
Whatever our differences, millions – billions – of us shared a
moment of wonder, one only made possible by innovation – in the
technology to perform the feat, and in the technology to transmit it,
to communicate it, to watch it.
Innovation matters, not just because it helps us address the
challenges we know we face, but because it allows us to
collaborate in ways we can never predict when we decide to look
for solutions, together.
This is why I have dedicated my life and career to supporting
innovation, first in Britain, then around the world.
It is more than thirty years since I founded Warwick Manufacturing
Group, in the English midlands, home to Britain's then faltering
automotive industry.
We started with just two people and a small office, like many here
today, I expect.
I wanted to show British car manufacturers that to compete with the
world, they needed world class research in engine and automotive
design, and employees with world class skills.
Thirty years later global giants like Tata are convinced that to
compete globally, they need the automotive innovation excellence
we helped create.
Indian, Chinese and American companies are investing in Britain
because they want our innovation expertise to develop better
products in markets around the world.
If I had said that thirty years ago, people would have looked at a
British car and laughed at me.
Today, a Jaguar gets admiring glances, not dismissive smiles.
Helping our business partners innovate inspired us to do the same.
We realised that to help manufacturers succeed, we needed to help
them innovate in materials sciences, computing, secure digital
communication and improved process management.
As the economy globalised, we saw that our partners would have to
understand some very different markets. They would need to
understand an ambitious Indian family as well as the wealthy
This expanded our horizons.
The knowledge we acquired in Automotive allowed us to ask how
digitisation and improved process management could help the
Healthcare sector.
Today we are developing ambient health monitoring systems to help
doctors treat patients, even from a distance of hundreds of miles
from the hospital.
We asked how our knowledge of materials sciences, virtual reality
and rapid prototyping might help designers in fields beyond mass
We have now developed lightweight but strong, site specific
housing solutions for use in the development and rapid construction
of affordable homes.
From our beginnings helping car makers, we have grown to help
innovators in fields as varied as luxury plane designers or curators
of Byzantine art!
One project is to use high fidelity virtual reconstructions of
Byzantine sites to show how great works of art were seen over a
thousand years ago, in the light of flickering oil lamps. The use of
this in the cultural and tourism sectors is obvious.
Yet while WMG has grown from two people to many hundreds, our
work is based on the same insights as the day we were founded.
First, the best way for academic researchers to help deliver
commercial innovation is to cooperate and collaborate with the
private sector, helping real businesses create real value.
We at WMG won't start a programme without commercial and
international partners, who can tell us the real world problems that
need to be solved, and who will need to implement any solution we
develop, so know what is practical and what isn't.
Second, world class academic research and teaching must be used
to address business problems.
There's no value in today's economy in being second rate. We
recruit the best innovators from the university and business sector,
and ask them to use their detailed knowledge to address sectoral
We don't tell them how to innovate; we give them the freedom to
find the best path, to be inspired and to find partners to work with.
We ask only that their work is of the highest academic rigour and
addresses our business partner’s needs. It is our researchers
hunger to get details right that makes the difference.
This demonstrates that, third, the path to sustainable success lies in
investing in the capabilities of your people.
At WMG we see supporting skills development in our partners'
businesses as an essential to our success.
After all, if managers can't confidently deliver innovation to the
market, they're unlikely to want to innovate with us in future.
So we work with our Business partners to develop academically
rigorous qualifications for their staff.
This creates a positive loop – an ecosystem of innovation, if you
We benefit from this in unexpected ways. We've now educated
several Chinese leaders of multi-billion dollar corporations, who
now in turn, wish to develop their people, and have turned to us to
share our expertise.
So, to innovate well Collaborate to succeed;
Keep your focus on practical problems and on the details of
Develop the skills of your people.
Sounds simple!
In a way, it is.
Successful innovation is not rocket science.
It doesn't require Business school mantras or management
consultant jargon.
But nor is it easy.
You have to be really committed to co-operating.
No matter how big the barriers seem,
Often it's easy for organisations to be sceptical of what others can
offer them, to be stuck in their own way of doing things.
This is understandable, but a huge mistake.
To achieve more, you have to give up a little control, so you can
learn from others and let them learn from you.
This year, Turkey is leading EUREKA, the European innovation
The foundation of your chairmanship, under the leadership of
TUBITAK is 'coop-etition', the idea that in order to compete
effectively, sectors, universities and governments must first co-
This is absolutely correct.
But we don't do enough of it.
Take the challenge of low carbon transport.
Turkey needs to increase the number of cars built and designed in
Turkey to grow.
You also need to cut energy usage.
Last month WMG launched a multi-million pound energy storage
facility, with partners including Jaguar, Nissan and leading first tier
We are working together to improve low carbon vehicles by
reducing vehicle weights, improving performance simulations, and
developing advanced batteries.
In Turkey, you have three quarters of global Boron reserves, and
have developed the first ever Sodium Borohydride fuel cell powered
car, which Minister Ergun has driven.
The potential for collaboration here is enormous.
By moving together, we will develop hybrid vehicles with better
performance, and reduce energy consumption more quickly.
But if we connect everything together, the opportunities go beyond
fuel cells.
One of the issues with electric vehicles is how they sound.
Imagine a Formula One race where the cars ran whisper quiet. It
would sound all wrong!
Similarly, many drivers want to hear and feel the power they are
controlling. Hybrid cars often just don't sound right to them.
Worse, for pedestrians, quiet engines mean electric vehicles can
creep up on them, making people feel unsafe.
At WMG we are researching experiential engineering, researching
how we react to sounds, visions, perception, with one project that
tests Electric vehicle engine noise model another that discovers
what defines consumer response to lightweight materials.
For Turkish automotive businesses, the advantages of experiential
engineering are that it will help develop vehicles that meet
consumer perceptions of high quality and performance, while
delivering both low carbon and lower production costs.
This makes them especially attractive in Turkey's biggest potential
export markets.
But across Europe and around the World, are we collaborating to
take advantage of all this?
I would argue that too often, we allow ourselves to remain in silos,
not understanding what we can offer each other.
There is a major role for government here, creating links, between
institutions and companies from different backgrounds.
Even, if necessary, banging a few heads together!
We cannot innovate together if we are unconnected.
The other essential role of government is developing the next
generation of innovators.
Look at the most successful high growth economies of the last fifty
years- Germany, Korea, the US, China – and you see an incredible
concentration of researchers in the private economy.
In Istanbul's universities and laboratories today there are the
innovators who will create businesses that employs thousands, like
Henry Tseng of Kingtronics and Roy Chung of Techtronics, both
graduates of WMG. They may be in this hall today!
That is why I am so keen that WMG works with Turkish Universities
and businesses to offer world class engineering education to the
Turkish workforce.
I'm pleased to say WMG are working with President Ismail Yuksel of
Yildiz Teknik University and the Yildiz Teknopark, to offer a
certificate in Technology R&D management to give research
engineers in Istanbul businesses the knowledge needed to lead
innovation successfully.
I want to do this for very simple reasons.
I am convinced of Turkey's outstanding future, human resources
and talents.
I know you will succeed in your ambitions.
So let us seize that opportunity to define the global future –
Because in future, when asked where a new product was invented,
around the world, people will say