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Knowledge Wave - Selected Speaker Biographies

Selected Speaker Biographies

Media wishing to arrange interviews should contact:

Greg Shand Pattrick Smellie
Baldwin Boyle Group Baldwin Boyle Group
Tel: (09) 486 6544 Tel. (04) 473 3443
Email: greg.shand@bbg.co.nz Email: pattrick.smellie@bbg.co.nz

Dr Robin Batterham
Chief Scientist, Australia

As Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Robin Batterham advises the Australian Government on the contributions of science, technology and innovation to national goals and assists in ensuring that public investment in science and technology supports national priorities.

A chemical engineer by training, Dr Batterham was appointed to his role in 1999 and almost immediately led a major review of Australia’s science capabilities. His brief was to report on how Australian science, engineering and technology capabilities could continue to help Australia grow.

His final report “The Chance to Change” was the result of extensive public consultation and generated hundreds of submissions and letters of support, including an unprecedented letter of support from industry leaders and Academe, published in all national newspapers.

Dr Batterham recommended that significant new resources go into Australia’s science, engineering and technology base with the objective of driving much greater activity in the knowledge-based economy. He recommended that the emphasis of the expenditure should be on supporting excellence under conditions of strict accountability to the community.

The recommendations led to Prime Minister John Howard announcing a major new package involving some $A2.9 billion to back Australia’s innovative ability. It is the largest group of measures ever put together by an Australian government to foster innovation and encompasses education, research and development, taxation concessions and a raft of investments all designed to strengthen Australia’s innovative abilities.

It included $A736 million more in funding for research, $A176 million to establish world class centres of excellence in ICT and biotechnology, $A20 million to double Australia’s biotechnology innovation fund and some $A151 million to create in five years some 21,000 new places for university students, with emphasis on ICT, mathematics and science.

The government also announced heavy investment in programmes to enable small and medium enterprises to progress innovative projects and strategies. $A100 million was provided for an Innovation Access Programme, for example, while a further $A22 million has been committed to a New Industries Development Programme to accelerate the development of new agribusiness products, services and technologies. New tax concessions were introduced to encourage companies to increase their R&D efforts. In addition to the existing 125% R&D tax concession, companies that undertake additional R&D can now access a premium rate of 175% on the additional investment.

In a recent speech, Dr Batterham said the growing levels of wealth in the world are increasingly based on knowledge-rich products. He says leading economies are those where market capitalisation is increasingly based on intangible assets, where the knowledge that people have is embodied in products and where companies small and large are valued to a large extent on this knowledge component, whether it is in the digital context in films, or the smart technology behind a fuel cell generating electricity that drives a hybrid car.

He described his vision for Australia as a country “powered by ideas and innovation and fuelled by a spirit to succeed.” Dr Batterham’s comments on Australia’s future will resonate with New Zealanders seeking a knowledge society.

“In the extreme we have a choice. We can be dynamic and growth oriented, investing in knowledge and settling the framework for our young people, or we can remain a fascinating tourism destination offering little of interest to other members of the global economy by way of investment or trade.”

Dr Batterham, who will serve in his post until 2002, also leads research and development for Rio Tinto, the world’s second largest mining company and also holds the position of organist at Scot’s Church, Melbourne.

Horace “Woody” Brock

“Woody” Brock is a leading American economist whose specialty is to understand the future better than his competitors in an information-soaked age. The founder and president of Strategic Economic Decisions, Dr Brock is recognised internationally as one of the foremost thinkers on the “economic aspects of complexity” in international currency and credit markets.

“As we enter the 21st century, it is increasingly recognized that there are three logically possible ways to outperform the market: (i) Be lucky; (ii) Obtain (inside) information ahead of others; and (iii) Interpret generally available information better than others do,” says Dr Brock of SED’s philosophy. “Earlier in the twentieth century, the second option was indeed possible. The possibility of gaining information sooner than others was the reason why people paid a lot of money for a "seat" on an exchange: owning one put you physically "nearer to the news". But this is no longer the case, and it is now thus necessary to exploit the third and more challenging option: interpret generally available information better than others do.

“But this in turn raises a deeper question. How and why is it possible for some to interpret the data better than others, and thus be less surprised by tomorrow's "news" than the rest of the market?”

S.E.D. specialises in identifying and explaining structural changes in the economy and the financial markets, with the spread of technology identified as a primary source of financial market volatility.

Dr Brock has warned that while the US economy thrived from 1994 to 2000 because of “a near-monopoly in both the innovation of and utilisation of a wide array of productivity-enhancing goods and services”, competitors are closing this knowledge-based gap so swiftly that the American lead will disappear “sometime between 2000 and 2005”.

S.E.D.'s current clients include Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, The World Bank, McKinsey and Co., Credit Suisse First Boston, ABN AMRO Bank, The White House, Fidelity Funds, Merrill Lynch Mercury Asset Mgmt., Deutsche Bank, ING Baring, Siemens AG, ABP (Holland), CALPERS, Dresdner Bank, General Motors, and Warburg Dillon Read.

Dr. Brock holds five academic degrees. He earned his B.A., M.B.A., and M.S. (mathematics) from Harvard, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton (mathematical economics and political philosophy). His interests are broad and include economics, political theory, mathematical aesthetics, game theory, axiomatic ethics, mathematical physics, and the philosophy of science.
John Seely Brown
Chief Scientist, Xerox Corporation

As Chief Scientist of Xerox and former director of its Palo Alto Research Center, John Seely Brown has been responsible for guiding one of the most famous technology think tanks in the world and leading one of the most celebrated and far-reaching corporate research efforts.

A major focus of his research has been in human learning and in the creation of knowledge ecologies for creating radical innovation. He is a co-founder of the Institute for Research on Learning, a non-profit institute for addressing the problems of lifelong learning and a member of the National Academy of Education and a Fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence.

Described as “part scientist, part artist and part philosopher”, Brown says economic and social wealth is increasingly dependent on knowledge creation.

“Organisations that create value through new products, services and ideas will prosper. Those that fail to build the intellectual capacity and personal engagement of their members will stagnate.”

He developed a formula called the “new law of knowledge” to describe the competitive dynamics of the knowledge economy.

“It is a straightforward proposition. In a time when both the rate of change and the growth of knowledge keep accelerating, the more people you have who can learn more in a shorter time, the more competitive you will be.”

A successful film maker ("Art : Lunch : Internet : Dinner" which won a bronze at Worldfest '94, the Charleston International Film Festival), Brown brought physicists, sociologists, psychologists, anthropologists designers, and artists together in collaborative projects at the Palo Alto Research Center.

“The perceived barriers between scientists, who move molecules, and artists, who move minds, are overstated. Artists and scientists collaborate naturally, as do designers and engineers. Why? Both scientists and artists are concerned with looking inward. They are pursuing inner truth, self expression. On the other side of the coin, no designer or engineer can succeed without thinking about the outer world of user needs.”

An advocate of creativity as a precursor to innovation, Brown says it cannot be managed, but it can be encouraged in the right environment.

“Nurturing creativity means understanding the mindsets of those involved in the creative process. A healthy knowledge ecology needs two types of contributors – the serious scientist and the hungry artist. How we bring together different thinking styles largely determines the outcome.”

Brown has a B.Sc. in Mathematics and Physics from Brown University and an M.Sc. in Mathematics and a Ph.D. in Computer and Communication Sciences from the University of Michigan. He has published over 95 papers in scientific journals and was awarded the Harvard Business Review's 1991 McKinsey Award for his article, "Research that Reinvents the Corporation." In 1997 he published "Seeing Differently: Insights on Innovation" and his most recent work “The Social Life of Information”, co-authored with Paul Duguid, measures how information technology interacts and meshes with the social fabric.

Edward De Bono

Dr Edward de Bono is one of the very few people in history who can be said to have had a major impact on the way we think. In many ways he could be said to be the best known thinker internationally and he is the leading authority in the field of creative thinking and the direct teaching of thinking as a skill.

The author of more than 62 books with translations into 37 languages, he has been invited to lecture in more than 50 countries around the world. His career began at St Edward's College, Malta, during World War II and then the University of Malta where he qualified in medicine. He attended Christ Church, Oxford, as a Rhodes Scholar, where he gained an honours degree in psychology and physiology and then a D.Phil in medicine. He also holds a Ph.D from Cambridge and an MD from the University of Malta. He has held appointments at the universities of Oxford, London, Cambridge and Harvard.

Dr de Bono's special contribution has been to take the mystical subject of creativity and put it on a solid basis. He has shown that creativity was a necessary behaviour in a self-organising information system. His key book, 'The Mechanism of Mind' published in 1969, showed how the nerve networks in the brain formed asymmetric patterns as the basis of perception. The leading physicist in the world, Professor Murray Gell Mann, said of this book that it was ten years ahead of mathematicians dealing with chaos theory, non-linear, and self-organising systems.

From this basis, Edward de Bono developed the concept and tools of lateral thinking. What is so special is that instead of his work remaining hidden in academic texts he has made it practical and available to everyone, from five years olds to adults. The late Lord Mountbatten once invited Dr de Bono to talk to all his admirals. Dr de Bono was asked to open the first ever Pentagon meeting on Creativity. At the UN Social Summit in Copenhagen he was asked to address the banking and finance group.

The term 'lateral thinking' was introduced by Edward de Bono and is now so much part of the language that it is used equally in a physics lecture and in a television comedy.

In the University of Buenos Aires, five faculties use his books as required reading. In Venezuela, by law, all school children must spend an hour a week on his programmes. In Singapore, 102 secondary schools use his work, while in Malaysia, the senior science schools have been using his work for ten years. In the U.S.A., Canada, Australia, and the Republic of Ireland and the UK there are thousands of schools using Dr de Bono's programmes for the teaching of thinking. At the International Thinking Meeting in Boston (1992) he was given an award as a key pioneer in the direct teaching of thinking in schools and in 1988 he was awarded the first Capire prize in Madrid for a significant contribution to humankind.

Dr de Bono has worked with many of the major corporations in the world such as IBM, Du Pont, Prudential, AT&T, British Airways, British Coal, NTT(Japan), Ericsson(Sweden), and Total(France). The largest corporation in Europe, Siemens (370,000 employees), is teaching his work across the whole corporation, following Dr de Bono's talk to the senior management team.

Traditional thinking is to do with analysis, judgment and argument. In a stable world, this was sufficient because it was enough to identify standard situations and to apply standard solutions. This is no longer so in a changing world. There is a huge need world-wide for thinking that is creative and constructive and can design the way forward. Edward de Bono has provided the methods and tools.

Nitin Desai
UN Under-Secretary for Economic and Social Affairs

Mr. Nitin Desai is on the permanent staff of the United Nations in New York and was appointed Under-Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs in 1992.
He received a Bachelor's degree from the University of Bombay in 1962 and, in 1965, earned a Master's degree in Economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Mr. Desai worked as a consultant for Tata Economic Consultancy Services and lectured in economics at the Universities of Southampton and Liverpool in the United Kingdom. He has published several articles and papers on development planning, regional economics, industry, energy and international economic relations.
His government career began in 1973 in the Planning Commission of the Government of India where he served in various capacities. In 1983 he served concurrently as Secretary of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister of India.
Before joining the United Nations, Mr. Desai was Secretary and Chief Economic Adviser in India's Ministry of Finance. From September 1985 to March 1987, he served as Senior Economic Adviser for the World Commission on Environment and Development (The Brundtland Commission). From 1990 to 1993, Mr. Desai was the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. In that capacity one of his primary responsibilities was to coordinate the work of the UNCED Secretariat related to the development of Agenda 21, the principal programmatic outcome of the Conference.
In early 1993 the then United Nations Secretary-General established three new departments at United Nations Headquarters in the economic, social and related fields. In February 1993 he appointed Nitin Desai at the Under-Secretary-General level to head the newly created Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development. The substantive work of this Department supported the various United Nations intergovernmental bodies, including the Economic and Social Council, and the Commission on Sustainable Development. Other functions of this Department included the follow up to the Fourth World Conference on Women, the World Summit for Social Development, and the Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States.
In March 1997, Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed Mr. Desai to coordinate, and subsequently head, the consolidation of the three economic and social Departments. The consolidated Department provides substantive support to the normative, analytical, statistical and relevant technical cooperation processes of the United Nations on the economic and social side. Mr. Desai is also the Convenor of the Executive Committee on Economic and Social Affairs which brings together the heads of all the UN Secretariat entities directly concerned with economic, environmental and social issues.

Sean Dorgan
Chief executive of Ireland’s Industrial Development Agency

Sean Dorgan is Chief Executive of Ireland’s Industrial Development Agency (IDA), the organisation that over the past decade has helped transform Ireland’s economy to its new status as the “Celtic Tiger”.

The IDA is responsible for securing new foreign direct investment in Ireland’s manufacturing and international service sectors and for encouraging existing foreign enterprises in Ireland to expand their businesses.

A low company tax rate, a highly educated workforce, and infusions of funds from Europe have made Ireland an attractive site for multinationals to establish operations.

However, it has been the IDA that has actively courted information technology, pharmaceutical and healthcare companies to come to Ireland and has marketed the country’s competitiveness internationally.

Since Mr Dorgan became head of the IDA in January 1999, the agency has performed spectacularly, significantly boosting economic development in Ireland’s rural areas and smaller towns.

In 2000, IDA secured 96 new projects in manufacturing and international services - 64 of these greenfield developments - and a record 23,300 new jobs were created.

This growth increased total employment in IDA-supported companies to 139,890 jobs, almost 30,000 of which are in rural Ireland. Forty per cent of the new jobs negotiated in 2000 across all IDA-backed projects were in salary ranges above (Pounds) 25,000 per annum.

During the last year, the value retained in the Irish economy from IDA-backed foreign company operations increased by over (Pounds)1.2 billion, or 11.6 percent, and stands at more than (Pounds) 12 billion a year.

Strategic projects secured by the IDA during 2000 included a US$2 billion investment by Intel to construct a wafer fabrication plant beside its existing Irish operations and a US$1 billion investment by American Home Products, Wyeth Medica to develop an advanced integrated biotechnology campus in Dublin.

As the Celtic Tiger continues to roar, Mr Dorgan acknowledges it still faces challenge. These include the availability of skilled workers, especially engineers and technicians, and achieving more regional distribution of key projects, despite infrastructural challenges including upgrading electricity and telecommunications services.

Before taking over as head of the IDA, Mr Dorgan played a key role in the Irish reforms, which have underpinned the country’s economic and social renaissance. In the late 1980s, he was Assistant Secretary in Ireland’s Department of Industry and Commerce and played a critical role in promoting and shaping the Culliton Review of Industrial Policy in 1991. He was instrumental in implementing the review’s recommendations, which have provided the basis for much of Ireland’s industrial and economic development since then.

As well as being CEO of the IDA, Mr Dorgan is a member of the Board of Forfas – the policy, advisory and co-ordination board for industrial development and science and technology in Ireland.

Jilly Evans,
Director of Pharmacology, Merck Research Laboratories, USA

Jilly Evans is a passionate advocate for the benefits of science and life-long learning, whose impressive international scientific career grew from inspirational teaching she received in rural New Zealand schools and at The University of Auckland.

Dr Evans is Director of Pharmacology at Merck Research Laboratories USA, the research arm of Merck Sharp & Dohme NZ Ltd’s US parent company, Merck & Co.

The daughter of a district school’s principal, Dr Evans was born in Northland and attended rural schools in northern Hawke’s Bay, Waiheke Island and Onewhero (north west of Hamilton).

“The sense of wonder and passion for learning started very young in me. It was nurtured and encouraged by my parents and two special teachers I had at Onewhero,” she told the American Chamber of Commerce in a speech in Auckland last year. (3 November 2000)

Her science teacher Neil Akehurst toiled to build a large double helix model to illustrate the structure of the building blocks of life. “This was incredibly inspiring. As a little fourth former, I didn’t understand DNA or the genetic basis of life. But what I saw was this teacher with passion in his eyes, trying to communicate this to us.”

In recent years, Dr Evans has linked up with Mr Akehurst, now a department head at Rangitoto College, at science promotion events she has hosted for secondary students.

In the sixth form at Onewhero in 1969, Dr Evans studied Chemistry by correspondence from an equally inspiring teacher, Mrs Jean Struthers.

“Tapes would come from Wellington every week. I never met her, but her voice was lovely. She described the composition of water in all its forms with such passion and she was very encouraging. We kept in touch through my early years at University.”

Last year, Dr Evans finally met Mrs Struthers, who is now 101 years old, living in an elderly care institution in Christchurch. “It was very special to finally meet her, and find her so alert and encouraging. It was a graphic illustration to me that the valuable knowledge-empowered individuals of tomorrow are today's students waiting to be excited, educated and inspired.”

Jilly obtained her BSc and MSc (Ist class honours) from The University of Auckland in Cell Biology in 1972 and 1974, respectively, collecting several top scholar awards along the way.

She studied under Dr Michael Smith (Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1993) to obtain her Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia, Canada, in Biochemistry in 1978. After postdoctoral studies in Biochemistry at McGill University, Montreal, Jilly joined Merck’s Canadian research division in 1993.

Jilly was a key member of highly successful teams which discovered and developed new human health medicines in the areas of arthritis and asthma treatment. The anti-leukotriene anti-asthma pill Singulair was first to market, followed in the last two years by a new COX-2 inhibitor, the anti-arthritic & pain medicine VIOXX.

She moved to Merck Sharp & Dohme’s West Point facility in Pennsylvania in 1998 to become a director in the Health Genetics department, focusing on identifying key protein receptors to target with drugs. Jilly is now a Director in the Department of Pharmacology at Merck West Point and is involved in a range of basic research projects and communicating with medical audiences.

In 1999, Jilly and her colleagues at Merck and the University of Virginia succeeded in the cloning and characterisation of the GPCR target of Singulair, namely the CysLT1 receptor. In 2000, with other colleagues she achieved a step change in research targeting heart disease receptors.

Dr Evans has almost 100 published papers and chapters in international science journals and literature, and has lectured and spoken extensively over the past 20 years. She was Adjunct Professor, Department of Biochemistry, at McGill University from 1992-1998.

In recent years, she has returned to New Zealand on several occasions to host a number of inspirational events for secondary and tertiary students, as part of MSD New Zealand’s science promotion programme.

In 1999, she shared a stage with DJ Mikey Havoc, and in March this year addressed 450 senior students at an event in the banquet hall of the Beehive. On the eve of the Catching the Knowledge Wave conference, Dr Evans will address more than 1500 students at two major Auckland schools.

Earlier this year, Dr Evans was appointed as a non executive director of the Fletcher Challenge off-shoot Rubicon. She is enthusiastic about the progress New Zealand can make if industry, politicians and the education sector work together.

“We must be able to work from our strengths in agriculture, for instance, to develop a biotech sector. And I am confident there is a good opportunity for us to target medical research as a growth industry over the next 10 years. Looking at the big picture, we need to innovate, create value, protect and exploit that value then re-invest for new innovation.”

As medical science offers up new benefits and complex questions in the field of human health, she stresses the responsibility faced by scientists and their organisations to communicate.

“It’s not easy but it’s necessary. It’s imperative that scientists become more open and transparent. They must engage in new and exciting ways, be authentic and discuss risk. There is so much good that is being done and not being talked about. The ability to diagnose early, for example. There is a growing list of diseases which otherwise would kill children at a young age if it were not for our improving understanding of genes. There is a great story to be told in genetics and it needs to be delivered with passion.”

Dr Dick Foster
Senior Partner McKinsey and Company

Dr Dick Foster is a Senior Partner at international business consultancy McKinsey and Co and a best-selling author of leading books on business innovation and knowledge societies.

In the widely acclaimed Creative Destruction, which he co-authored with Sarah Kaplan, Mr Foster argued that one of the fundamental tenets of American business - that a company must be designed to stand the test of time - was seriously flawed.

Once they were successful, companies tended to institutionalise the thinking that allowed them to thrive. Foster argued instead that corporations could only outperform capital markets and maintain leadership positions if they creatively and continually reconstructed themselves.

Markets now changed too quickly for traditional management structures to keep up. Rather than aiming for continuity, companies should embrace discontinuity.

Drawing on research from more than 1000 companies over four decades and a concept advanced by economist Joseph Schumpeter 70 years ago, Foster and Kaplan showed that even successful corporations under-performed over time.

Corporations which had attained lasting excellence had done so by shedding harmful practices and adopting innovations that added value. “The key to their success is the balance they have struck between creativity and destruction, between continuity and change,” Foster and Kaplan said.

This approach to ‘corporate Darwinism’ has been widely praised by corporate business leaders in the United States and Europe as well as leading publications such as the Harvard Business Review.

When not writing, Mr Foster’s responsibilities include McKinsey’s worldwide knowledge development efforts, including new management tools and concepts and the integration of Western and Eastern management philosophies and approaches.

Mr Foster has served on advisory boards of several companies and organisations.

Hon Paul J Keating
Paul Keating was first elected to the Australian Parliament in 1969, having spent all his adult life active in the Australian Labor Party. He became the youngest ever federal Minister in 1975, as Minister for Northern Australia in the Whitlam Cabinet.
In 1983, he was appointed Treasurer in the Hawke Cabinet, a position he held until 1991. As Treasurer, Mr Keating implemented far-reaching economic reforms, including the progressive deregulation of the financial sector, the float of the Australian dollar, extensive tax reform, the dismantling of many protectionist barriers, and deregulation of sectors including telecommunications and aviation.
Mr Keating became Prime Minister in December 1991 and led the ALP to an historic fifth term of Government in March 1993. As Prime Minister he continued his progressive reform program which included a national superannuation scheme, labour market and training reforms, laws against sexual discrimination, and recognition of Aboriginal land rights.
A prime mover in efforts to reconstitute Australia as a republic, Mr Keating also focussed Australians on their place in Asia, and took an active role in the establishment of APEC, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, and initiated its annual leaders' meeting with its commitment to a regional free trade agenda. Following the defeat of the ALP in March 1996, Mr Keating resigned from Parliament.
He continues to take a close interest in the national issues with which he was associated in public life. Mr Keating is Visiting Professor of Public Policy at the University of New South Wales and has been awarded Honorary Doctorates in Laws from both Keio University in Tokyo and the National University of Singapore.
“In the days that I grew up, capital was king,” Mr Keating told the Australian trade union e-magazine, “Workers Online”, in an interview published in July last year. “In future, capital is going to be in reasonably plentiful supply and the prizes are going to go to intellectual product. A lot of people who formerly were simply employed are going to find themselves, certainly in a world without the old certainties, but also in a world where they actually earn more and have more freedom for themselves. And this has come by way of developed education.”
And in a 1999 speech entitled “Transformations”, he noted that the old adage that “information is power” was changing: “Information is no longer a scarce commodity. In this sort of environment, the power is not the information itself, but the ability to collate, analyse and assess it”.

“The old measures of international power, things like abundant land and physical resources, matter less in the new environment, while knowledge in all its forms, and all its manifestations, matters much more. Successful economies in future will be constructed around good education systems, effective research and development, and sound investment in infrastructure. Most Asian countries know this and the best are acting on it.”

Dr Lee Yuan Tseh
Dr Lee occupies a position of authority in Taiwanese society that spreads far more widely than his status as a Nobel Prize-winning chemist and head of Taiwan’s leading scientific institution. As the king-maker in last year’s historic Taiwanese elections, in which 55 years of Nationalist Party rule ended, Dr Lee was offered the premiership of the island state, but turned it down. He remains a publicly acclaimed figure, an internationally influential force in China-Taiwan relations, gifted educational theorist and human rights and anti-corruption champion.
A graduate first of National Taiwan University, and then National Tsinghua University, Dr Lee entered the University of California at Berkeley as a graduate student in 1962, receiving his PhD in 1965, and joining Professor Dudley Herschbach at Harvard University as a post-doctoral fellow in 1967. He became an American citizen in 1974. It was with Professor Herschbach and Professor John C Polanyi of the University of Toronto that he would eventually win the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1986 for their work on the use of crossed molecular beams to gain new understandings of the dynamics of elementary chemical processes.
Dr Lee has headed the Academia Sinica, which runs a network of 25 research institutes in Taiwan, for seven years during a period in which government research spending has increased by close to 10 per cent annually. Dr Lee’s influence has been crucial to this policy, which has helped to plug a scientific brain drain.
He was also behind a Technology Transfer Office to accelerate the commercialising of intellectual property. Dr Lee has since turned his attention to helping start-ups in Taiwan's advanced materials and fledgling biotech sectors, although he remains a strong supporter also of basic science.
However, it was his role in the 2000 Taiwanese elections which gained him widest international recognition. Dr Lee supported the Democratic Progressive Party of now-president Chen Shui-bian, an endorsement regarded as instrumental in tipping the scales in favour of the DPP, which favours self determination for Taiwan and ended 55 years of government by the Kuomintang party.
A reluctant politician, Dr Lee resigned briefly as head of Academia Sinica during the election campaign, was offered the premiership by President Chen, and turned it down.
Dr Lee is also a social activist, opposing corruption, has endorsed a Human Rights Marriage Certificate for Taiwan to create awareness of violence in marriage, and heads a non-profit agency, the Society for Community Empowerment, which promotes activities from recycling to musical festivals.
He advocates education systems which foster non-conformity, creativity, and willingness to tolerate failure, rather than systems which favour rote learning and waste talent by excluding students when they fail. Students should be encouraged to “become more creative, entrepreneurial and adventurous in the new economic era”, he says. "The reason we have not produced enough scientists in Asian countries is because of uniformity. If Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison were now in Asia, they would not make it because Einstein was very slow in thinking. You ask him a question, he will think about an hour to come up with deep solutions."
On the emergence of knowledge economies, Dr Lee told the Taiwan Times in April this year that “economic development in the future will not be about scale, land, and capital. When people talk about the knowledge economy, it is about the wisdom and knowledge that make us do things more efficiently or do things that develop us to a higher level. It doesn’t just contribute to the development of high-tech telecommunications, but to many other fields as well. The major concept is: Earth is limited and populated with people. Knowledge will play a more important role when what is increasing is not quantity but efficiency.”
Michael E Porter

Michael E. Porter holds the Bishop William Lawrence University Professorship at the Harvard Business School and is a leading authority on competitive strategy and international competitiveness. He received a B.S.E. with high honours in aerospace and mechanical engineering from Princeton University in 1969, an M.B.A. with high distinction in 1971 from the Harvard Business School, and a Ph.D. in Business Economics from Harvard University in 1973.

Professor Porter joined the Harvard Business School faculty in 1973 and his ideas are the foundation for one of the required courses at the School. Professor Porter teaches strategy and he created and leads a workshop for newly appointed chief executive officers of billion dollar plus corporations as part of the school’s programmes. He speaks widely on competitive strategy and international competitiveness to business and government audiences throughout the world.

In his international advisory work he has undertaken major studies of the economy for governments including New Zealand, India, Canada, and Portugal, and his ideas have inspired national competitiveness initiatives in more than a dozen other countries and subnational regions such as Catalonia, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. In 1991, the “Porter Project” brought home to New Zealand the opportunities for economic growth. Five years on, he observed “New Zealanders have accomplished a lot…. however, I believe that New Zealand has only partially achieved its potential.”

Professor Porter is the author of 16 books and over 60 articles. His book, Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors, published in 1980, has been translated into seventeen languages. A companion book, Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance, was published in 1985. His 1990 work, The Competitive Advantage of Nations, developed a new theory of how nations, states, and regions compete and their sources of economic prosperity. The ideas in this book have guided economic policy throughout the world and Professor Porter has published follow-on books about national competitiveness in New Zealand, Canada, Sweden and Switzerland.

He is a respected counsellor on competitive strategy to many leading U.S. and international companies, among them AT&T, Credit Suisse First Boston, DuPont, Edward Jones, Procter & Gamble, and Royal Dutch Shell. He has also served as a counsellor to government and was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1983 to the President's Commission on Industrial Competitiveness.

Professor Porter is currently working with the heads of state of the Central American countries to develop an economic strategy for that region. He also co-founded the Center for Middle East Competitive Strategy, an effort which brings together business and government leaders from Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Palestine to advance the competitive potential of the Middle East.

The awards and honours won by Professor Porter include Harvard’s David A. Wells Prize in Economics for his research in industrial organisation. His book Competitive Advantage won the George R. Terry Book Award of the Academy of Management in 1985 as the outstanding contribution to management thought. In 1993, Professor Porter was named the Richard D. Irwin Outstanding Educator in Business Policy and Strategy by the Academy of Management. He was the 1997 recipient of the Adam Smith Award of the National Association of Business Economists, given in recognition of his exceptional contributions to the business economics profession. He was named a Fellow of the International Academy of Management in 1985 and received that group’s first-ever Distinguished Award for Contribution to the Field of Management in 1998.

Robert Prichard

President Emeritus at the University of Toronto, Rob Prichard embodies the modern role he advocates for tertiary institutions as key contributors to a nation’s economic competitiveness and social development in the knowledge age.

He is a leading advocate of Canada’s 1990s reform of its federal policy towards tertiary education which he called ‘The New Paradigm’, built around four elements: the Canada Foundation for Innovation, Networks of Centres for Excellence, the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, and the Canada Research Chairs programme.

In his ten years leading the University of Toronto, Prichard has elevated academic standards, deepened research and built bridges to the business community. His reputation derives as much from his energy and passion for research, education and public policy as from his expertise and academic success, including numerous books and articles.

Arguing in support of Canada’s education reform process, Prichard articulated his philosophy in his 2000 Killam Annual Lecture in Winnipeg last October: “Suffice it for me to observe that our universities make an irreplaceable contribution to our nation’s welfare; that our future prospects as a nation will be intimately tied to our ability to strengthen and advance our capacity for higher education and research; that the products of university-based research are essentially raw materials for building both national prosperity and national identity; and that the vitality of our higher education and research will be critical to Canada’s retaining a place in the first rank among nations.”

A student of economics, finance and international business and law from Swathmore College, the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business and Yale Law School, Prichard is Professor of Law and holds the Prichard-Wilson Chair in Law and Public Policy at the University of Toronto. He is a director of the Bank of Montreal, Onex Corporation and Four Seasons Hotels. He is a member of the advisory board of the World Bank Institute and a national trustee of the NeuroScience Canada Foundation. He has served as Visiting Associate Professor of Law at Yale Law School and as Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. He served as a member of the Ontario Law Reform Commission from 1986 to 1990, and chaired the Federal, Provincial, Territorial Review on Liability and Compensation Issues in Health Care.

Toronto author Jack Batten, reviewing Prichard’s decade as president for the University of Toronto magazine, emphasises his larger than life character. “Prichard’s obvious fervour, and celebratory joy he brings to his job, the passion for the office that has carried the university to a position where, unmatched since Sir Robert Falconer’s day, it is achieving great distinction in the broadest world of higher education. Prichard may go over the top, but it looks like he has taken everybody else at the University of Toronto with him.”

Jorma Routti

Professor Jorma Routti is one of the world’s leading thinkers and policy-makers in the area of technology transfer and capturing economic gains from knowledge development.

A key figure in formulating policies for Finland which fostered the emergence of global companies such as Nokia, Routti has been, since 1996, the Director General of the European Commission’s Directorate General for Science Research. As such, he oversees the EU’s ‘Fifth Framework’ research programme that manages US$15 billion in projects focusing on life science, energy, the environment and sustainable development.

A focus of Routti’s EU programme is on helping small to medium enterprises to unlock innovation by participation in research projects and international cooperative ventures.

Professor Routti is a former president of the Finnish National Fund for Research and Development, a think-tank that reports to the Finnish Parliament with advice on linking research to public policy.

With a background in physics and technology, Professor Routti is a leading expert in the area of harnessing basic research and promoting technology transfer. Discussing the EU’s Fifth Framework, he said recently: “It is an important part of the competition policy that we are successful in converting our achievements in science and technology more effectively into economic benefit. Of course 10 or 20 years ago, it was very often thought that an interest in the economic impact would contaminate science. It was also thought that the capitalisation of public property – which after all is what publicly funded research is – would not be fair. It is true that economic interest should not be the principal guiding mechanism for basic science. But rather than being content with the discoveries of basic knowledge, we must find ways to convert these into economic and social benefits.”

His advocacy of a multi-disciplinary approach has led to research reviews conducted by teams comprising a number of disciplines. “I found it rather useful, in a small organisation, to have a biology project looked at by a team which includes biologists, economists and technologists. In the scientific world, it is very often crossbreeding between ideas from different fields which is most fertile,” he said.

Professor Routti has warned against “innovation in a straight jacket” based on a narrow focus, because of the rapid changes – like BSE and the World Wide Web – occurring in the world, which long lead time programmes could not have foreseen.

“One can say that it took the industrial empires of yesterday decades to build their power and strength; steel manufacturing or the car industry took many years to get established. If you look at the software world, we have seen evolutions such as Microsoft, which has taken only a few years to become a global player. Now we begin to see evolutions which mature in the space of a year – like Netscape and other World Wide Web applications,” he told ‘CORDIS Focus’.

Sally Shelton-Colby
Deputy Secretary-General OECD

Prior to her appointment as Deputy Secretary-General of the OECD in Paris, Ms. Sally Shelton-Colby was Assistant Administrator of the Bureau for Global Programmes at the United States Agency for International Development.

Her government experience also includes US ambassadorships to several Eastern Caribbean nations and holding the position of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs.
Ms. Shelton-Colby also has wide-ranging experience in the private sector. She was Vice President of Bankers Trust Co., New York, responsible for developing country debt risk and advisor to multinational corporations on investment and trade strategies.
She was co-editor of the economic journal Global Assessment as well as Director of Valero Energy Corporation, a Fortune 500 oil and gas company, and of Baring Brothers & Co’s Puma Fund, an investment fund traded on the London Stock Exchange.
Mrs Shelton-Colby is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She was a Fulbright Scholar at the Paris Institut des Sciences Politiques and has an MA in International Relations from The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Bologna, Italy and Washington DC.
She has been a Fellow at the Harvard University Center for International Affairs and the Georgetown University Center for Latin American Studies and has taught US foreign policy decision-making at the John F. Kennedy School of government and political and economic change at Georgetown University.
Ms. Shelton-Colby is fluent in French and Spanish and has been a frequent writer, television commentator, and lecturer on international affairs and development.

Professor Shih Choon Fong
Vice-Chancellor of the National University of Singapore

Professor Shih Choon Fong was appointed Vice-Chancellor of the National University of Singapore (NUS) in June 2000 and quickly outlined his mission to make NUS a “knowledge enterprise that transcends boundaries”.

“NUS will be to Singapore what Stanford is to Silicon Valley. We will aim to be the intellectual, entrepreneurial pulse of Singapore, the confluence of local and foreign talent. We want to build a borderless community that has a larger perspective which transcends culture and racial boundaries,” the Harvard-trained materials scientist said in his inaugural address.

Since taking office Professor Shih has acted promptly to transform NUS into a “microcosm of a global knowledge community”. A major focus has been the creation of borderless departments and faculties within the university “which allow for the cross fertilization of ideas and flow of people”.

NUS already has a strategic alliance with MIT and is seeking to develop working relationships with other leading institutions worldwide. It seeks to attract top foreign students and strives to evaluate programmes and research initiatives using international benchmarks.

The vision for NUS to attract global talent, and “discover, create and apply new knowledge” is in line with the Singapore Government’s plan to make Singapore a regional and global life sciences hub.

Professor Shih has described the combining of life sciences such as medicine, chemistry, physics and mathematics as the greatest intellectual and scientific challenge of the 21st century. “To succeed in life sciences you’ve got to bring down the barriers in departments and faculties. The breakthroughs in research are happening at the edge of disciplines,” he says.

The energetic 55-year-old is a firm advocate of changing the traditional rigid academic system to a more open structure where students can register for all classes regardless of discipline.

He is in the midst of setting up a Harvard-style core curriculum for NUS to be drawn from several disciplines. One hybrid course was created last year by marrying humanities and computing.

Prof Shih has impeccable academic and professional qualifications, having taught at various universities in the US, Europe and Japan and worked with NASA on satellite-tracking projects. He spent 30 years living and working in the United States, of which 16 years were spent teaching at Brown University, Rhode Island.

Professor Shih returned to Singapore in 1997 at the request of Singapore’s National Science and Technology Board to set up the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering. He is an enthusiastic public speaker and has more than 150 publications in refereed international journals to his credit.

David J Teece

If New Zealand is to reach the top as a nation in the knowledge age, then a goal must be to produce more New Zealanders like entrepreneur and academic David Teece.

With his global consulting business LECG, founded in 1988, he is believed to have been the first New Zealander to take a company public on the New York Stock Exchange. LECG was a ‘virtual’ firm long before the idea was popularised and today has 17 offices around the world, employing more economics PhDs than any other private-sector organisation.

Born in Blenheim and educated at Canterbury University and then the University of Pennsylvania, Teece is currently the Mitsubishi Bank Professor at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.

Teece’s career has embodied the nexus of theory and practice. He has held teaching and research positions at Stanford and Oxford Universities. He is a leading researcher on knowledge management and intellectual property, technological innovation, corporate strategy and public policy. He is the author of more than 150 books and articles, and editor of Industrial and Corporate Change, a journal published by Oxford University Press.

He combines advisory and academic work with the management of LECG. He is an internationally-recognised advisor on corporate strategy in telecommunications, computers and energy. He has assisted arbitrators, judges, juries and tribunals in numerous countries resolve regulatory policy disputes. Recent honours include the Andersen Consulting Award and an Honorary Doctorate awarded by Russia’s St Petersburg State University.

Teece has a number of investments in New Zealand, including Pelorus Properties LLC, and is an investor in venture capital funds including ICAP and Jump Capital. He and his family are frequent visitors to their holiday home in Nelson.

Lord Robert Winston

Professor Lord Winston is Europe’s foremost fertility pioneer and a leading commentator on issues raised by developments such as gene therapy.

Made a life peer in 1995, Professor Robert Winston is best known for his work in the field of reproductive medicine and his appearances on BBC television series such as Making Babies, The Human Body, Super Human and the Secret Life of Twins.

He carried out the first human tubal transplant in 1976 and founded the first National Health Service in vitro fertilisation (IVF) programme in Britain in 1981.

Lord Winston is a professor of fertility studies at Imperial College, London, founder member of the British Fertility Society and has held posts at universities around the world.

He chairs the House of Lords Science and Education Committee, is Chairman of the All-party Parliamentary Group on Reproductive Health and speaks regularly in the House of Lords on education, science and medicine.

However, it has been his work at London’s Hammersmith Hospital helping couples unable to conceive naturally that has captured the public’s imagination.

Since 1990 his team at Hammersmith has pioneered various improvements in fertility medicine and IVF treatment.

The team’s achievements include the birth of the first baby after DNA tests to avoid sex-linked disease (e.g. muscular dystrophy, haemophilia), the birth of the first baby after embryonic chromosome screening, the birth of the first baby after total body irradiation for maternal leukaemia (using frozen embryos), and the first pregnancy after screening embryos for chromosome translocations.

Lord Professor Winston has been an enthusiastic contributor to the debate surrounding gene manipulation and argues ethics must be driven by an accurate scientific understanding of the world.

Speaking to the National Press Club in Canberra recently, he said he doubted human cloning and genetically engineered babies with enhanced characteristics would eventuate because the risks of abnormality were too high.

However, he has described genetic research with a view to treating or eliminating diseases such as Parkinson’s diseases, diabetes and arthritis as presenting a huge opportunity for human good.

Lord Professor Winston is currently researching transgenic technology, genomic imprinting and screening zygotes for genes causing cancer in young people. He is also developing methods for maturing eggs in vitro, a technique which should make IVF much more accessible.

Brigadier General George Yong-Boon Yeo
Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry

As Singapore’s current Minister for Trade and Industry and a long-time Government Minister, Brigadier General George Yong-Boon Yeo has been at the forefront of Singapore’s drive to become a knowledge-based economy.

BG Yeo had a distinguished academic career, winning the prestigious Singapore President’s and Singapore Armed Forces Scholarships. He graduated from Cambridge University with a Double First and served in the Singapore Air Force before attending Harvard Business School and graduating with an MBA with high distinction (Baker Scholar).

He was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General in 1988 and that same year resigned from the military to enter politics at the age of 34. Since then BG Yeo has held the positions of Minister of Information and the Arts, Minister of Health, Minister of State for Finance and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs. He has been Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry since June 1999.

BG Yeo has been a strong advocate of Singapore’s policy of opening its doors to talented foreigners and has spoken frequently about how governments can address the challenges posed by globalisation.

A topic he has frequently addressed is how countries need to retain their talented citizens and attract qualified foreigners to ensure they have a large enough talent pool to thrive in the knowledge-driven economies of the future.

“Talent is mobile. Capital is mobile. Knowledge is mobile. So unlike in the industrial world where you are trapped within a jurisdiction and at the mercy of a monopoly government, in the coming world, governments will have to compete for that same talent, capital and knowledge,” BG Yeo told the Wall Street Journal.

With a population of only three million Singaporeans plus one million foreigners, the key to Singapore’s continued economic vitality was its willingness to keep its doors open to foreign talent and its ability to make international companies feel completely at home.

“This means that in the natural course of things, many players, including CEOs, would be non-Singaporean. This is what we have got to accept, because without bringing our standards up to international levels we cannot compete in this new environment,” BG Yeo said.

In its bid to attract talent and make Singapore a technology capital and hub for e-commerce, the Republic has developed cultural facilities and its arts scene and has transformed the education system.

“In the past, the (Singapore’s) whole educational system was designed to suit an industrial economy. People were trained in certain skills to plug into different sectors of the economy. But for the new economy we need people with broader skills because everything is changing so fast. This means equipping them more generally so that they have a knowledge of science, computers, biology, culture and are able to adjust as the economy evolves,” BG Yeo told Business Week recently.


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