Monday, June 29, 2009
The Chinese are filtering and blocking internet information. The governments in a dozen other counties are also internet enemies: Bahrain, Belarus, Burma, Cuba, Egypt, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Yemen.
And the Iranian government has installed a national firewall that blocks almost everything of value.
These countries are not really the Innovation Hall of Fame.
Some don’t care if they aren’t on the list, but some do. For example the Iran government claims they are a high-tech country. Saudi Arabia has an innovation policy and I’ve been briefly involved in a project to build an “innovation city” outside Medina. But they got cold feet when we insisted that women were prerequisite for innovation.
None of these countries can ever explore innovations. All of them can imitate, but create new radical innovations? No.
To begin with most of them discriminate half of the population. Secondly they think you can buy innovation or create innovation by organization. And thirdly they don’t understand that a free flow of information is absolute necessary for innovation, as well as free research and democracy. And by the way they all use western technology, such as Nokia, Siemens, Google and Microsoft, to filter the Web and emails.
China is today the factory of the world. But with their censoring mindset they can hardly move to become the world laboratory for innovations. Once you start censoring the internet, you restrict the ability to imagine and innovate. The Chinese government is telling young Chinese that if they really want to explore, they need to go abroad.
We should be taking advantage of this. For example in Sweden the medical education at universities are dominated by immigrants. It’s the same trend as in Silicon Valley. Not bad, right?
Recessions have always been a time when new technologies and companies get born. We might be able to stimulate our way back to economic stability, but we can only invent our way back to prosperity. Europe in general and Sweden in particular should have the borders wide open to these immigrants.