Innovation Economy - the first to leave...


A comment on a blog item about Yahoo and Google choosing to base their European operations in Switzerland.

As someone who participated in the EURIM exercise in 2006 to prepare a briefing paper on UK Competitiveness entitled "A Flourishing Innovation Economy:- How the UK must attract and retain knowledge-based businesses", the warning signs were evident to me even then.

The abstract paragraph summarizes the situation well:

"Attracting innovative businesses is rather like gardening – creating an environment in which plants can flourish over the long term. A buddleia bush is a butterfly magnet, attracting not only insects but supporting a whole food-chain. Cutting it down will not give rise to angry butterfly demonstrations; instead they will simply vanish, along with a host of other creatures, to the garden of a more enlightened neighbour. Similarly, knowledge businesses, footloose and global in outlook, can quietly and quickly abandon locations that cease to be advantageous for them."

Why were the warnings ignored?


The gardening metaphor was one of my contributions, prompted by my paper from 1999 The Garden of Knowledge. At the time of the EURIM exercise, the topical example of an industry sector voting with their feet was the pharmaceutical sector.