Mr. Wang Fansen once raised an interesting historical question: Why do geniuses always come in groups?
In the history of science and technology, we can also pay attention to an interesting phenomenon: Why do technological innovations always focus on one place?
Explaining this problem and finding solutions to foster science and innovation centers is becoming more and more important today.
From Silicon Valley in the United States to the Black Forest in Europe, from Tokyo Port in Japan to the Greater Bay Area in China, the prosperity and development of informatization and technology industries seem to be closely related to a certain location becoming a “science and innovation center”. After uninterrupted scientific and technological development and industrial revolution, the comprehensive significance of the science and technology innovation center to a region and country is irreplaceable, and it can even be regarded as one of the core paths towards technological independence and modern prosperity.
Once upon a time, every country was building its own “Silicon Valley”; in the future, perhaps every city is looking forward to building its own “Bay Area”. Then we may not only need to understand the construction process of the Science and Technology Innovation Center, but also need to analyze the experience and methods behind it.
A high-quality scientific and technological innovation location is like a piece of fertile soil. Under the nourishment of the soil, market activity and technological breakthroughs go hand in hand, and large companies and entrepreneurial ecology prosper together. The prerequisite for the realization of these goals is to cultivate a soil layer suitable for technological innovation.
On December 7, the 2021 Greater Bay Area Science Forum featured event “Bay Area Science and Technology Innovation Summit” was held in Guangzhou. The summit brought together technology practitioners, entrepreneurs and researchers from all over the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area to discuss the innovative interaction between the “Greater Bay Area and small enterprises”.
If we look at it from another angle, this summit happens to be a “sampling test report” of the soil layer of science and innovation in the Bay Area. In it, we can see how the unique science and innovation soil of the Greater Bay Area is constructed, and thus extract a “Bay Area Science and Technology Innovation Soil Science” that is worthy of reference by more regions.
How to cultivate the “science and innovation cultivation layer”?
Soil science is the intersection of agronomy and geographic science, the starting point of all modern farming. A core idea of soil science is how to cultivate a cultivation layer suitable for crop growth between the weathered layer on the soil surface and the rocky layer at the bottom, and continuously increase the thickness of the cultivation layer to increase soil nutrition.
The construction and development of scientific and technological innovation locations is also such a process of achieving balance and continuously expanding advantages. The success of the Greater Bay Area in science and technology innovation is not only due to its good geographical and policy advantages, but also because of the joint efforts of industry, academia, and government to continuously expand and cultivate these advantages, and finally accumulate positive factors. stand up.
Cultivating comprehensive development factors in location is a proposition that is easier said than done. Because it is difficult to quantify and refine when it comes to synthesis. In the process of cultivating science and technology innovation centers around the world, we often see two kinds of challenges: one is that the policy is excessively inclined to key technologies and key industries, which eventually leads to enterprises leaving the market, resulting in location innovation with empty slogans and no practical actions; One is to allow the market to grow wildly. As a result, there is no effective linkage between the industrial chains, and bad money in the market drives out good money, which eventually leads to insufficient innovation motivation at the bottom layer, and even breeds various business hidden dangers and security risks.
It is not only one method and one goal to cultivate the soil of science and technology innovation. It is a historical experience and the reason why science and technology innovation locations in the Greater Bay Area have successively achieved excellent results.
At the Bay Area Science and Technology Innovation Summit, what we saw was how this piece of fertile land in the south of the country achieved balance and compatibility among various factors of science and technology innovation. Perhaps it can be said that taking into account the prosperity of the market and breakthroughs in core technologies, the Greater Bay Area has created a “scientific and innovative soil science” that incorporates many nutrients.
Clay: regional integration
The material in the soil that can avoid nutrient loss and resist the attack of desertification and weathering is called clay. The clay in the soil of the Bay Area is the aggregation effect of the geographical location here.
When the concept of the Bay Area was first proposed, it aimed at the general trend of the integration of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao. Today, this geo-cohesion is becoming more and more obvious. In the technological innovation of the Greater Bay Area, the various industrial advantages of Hong Kong and Macau have been brought together, and the geographical aggregation of Shenzhen and Guangzhou, the two super-large cities, has been brought into full play, and Dongguan, Zhuhai and other Bay Area cities and regions have been deeply involved.
In the “Selected Cases of Science and Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Greater Bay Area in 2021”, we can see that entrepreneurs from Macau and Hong Kong have established enterprises in Dongguan and other places, and opened up markets in Shenzhen and Guangzhou. normal. Behind this is the bonding effect of social economy and policy orientation, as well as the internal driving trend of “Bay Area Integration” in the technology industry.
For example, we have interviewed Shenzhen Jiguan, a well-known company in the machine vision industry. Its founder Chen Zhenjie started his business in Macau in 2014 and transferred the company to Shenzhen for development in 2015. Because Chen Zhenjie found that Shenzhen, Zhuhai and other places can effectively meet the company’s talent supply and capital needs. Although Macau is a capital-intensive city, there are few angel investments; Hong Kong is rich in basic technical talents, but the number of engineers is small. By integrating the location factors of multiple cities in the Greater Bay Area, Extreme Vision has achieved rapid development, which can also reflect the “clay quality” of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area integration, which can actively promote new companies and new technologies.
The high-viscosity, strong-integrated Greater Bay Area is the first strong nutrient for technological innovators.
Organic Matter: Sensitive Innovation
Organic matter is the main component of soil nutrition, which activates the growth of all things and the prosperity of vegetation. The renewal rate and growth capacity of organic matter determine the fertility and sustainable development of soil.
The organic matter in the science and innovation location is a relatively complex and diverse set of concepts. Factors such as technological innovation, entrepreneurial vitality, and talent attraction jointly build an “organic” whole. Returning to the vision of the Bay Area Science and Technology Innovation Summit, we can find that the characteristics of sensitive innovation are fully displayed in the Bay Area. The sharpening of technology, the low threshold for entrepreneurship and the rejuvenation of talents have outlined the “organic quality” map of science and technology innovation in the Bay Area. We can see several such trends in the summit.
1. Dancing at the Frontiers: The companies that were showcased and empowered at the summit showed the characteristics of diversified and cutting-edge technologies. Everyone’s technical focus is very flexible, but with key technological innovation as the core. From cutting-edge information technologies such as artificial intelligence and VR to underlying core technologies such as semiconductors and aerospace, it can be seen that there are entrepreneurs and innovators investing in each track, and the Greater Bay Area has become a stage for cutting-edge technologies.
2. The hotbed of budding enterprises: The technological innovation and entrepreneurship in the Bay Area has been concentrated in the use of low-threshold, low-cost entrepreneurial channels. As long as you have enough vitality and potential, you can find nutrients to cultivate budding enterprises in the Bay Area.
Founded in 2018, Dongguan Songshan Lake Chuanglong Smart Technology Co., Ltd., the founder Deng Wenjun is from Hong Kong. But when he was in Hong Kong, people around him were generally not optimistic about his entrepreneurial path, so at the age of 29, he came to the Greater Bay Area to look for opportunities. After visiting a large number of cities in the Bay Area, during a business roadshow in Songshan Lake, Deng Wenjun connected with a local manufacturing company and successfully earned his first income of 100,000 RMB. Today, Chuanglong has become a technology service company with AR as its main business, providing digital support for the developed manufacturing industry in the Bay Area.
3. The arrival of Generation Z: In the summit, young technological innovation entrepreneurs from Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao accounted for a very large proportion, and the post-85s and post-90s became the main body of innovation. Generation Z can take on the main axis of technological innovation here, and the trend of younger talents is very obvious. At the Bay Area Science and Technology Innovation Summit, we can see that Generation Z has become the frontline subject of innovation and entrepreneurship, including entrepreneurs, technical leaders of first-line enterprises, and technical leaders of key laboratories. Rejuvenation of talents and rejuvenation of entrepreneurship have become a label in the Bay Area.
Whether it is technology, talent or entrepreneurship, the Bay Area is characterized by high activity and high efficiency. These scientific and technological dynamism and the overall social and economic development of the Bay Area are intertwined, promoting the sustainable and ecological growth of the Science and Technology Innovation Center.
Parent material: head goose effect
All nutrients in soil come from parent material. The most important thing to cultivate a new farming soil is to find suitable parent material. Just as big companies such as Dell and IBM have activated the innovation potential of Silicon Valley, the head-geese effect brought by big companies is also the core of the development of the Bay Area’s science and innovation location.
Gathering leading technology companies such as Huawei, Tencent, and Ping An, the Bay Area Science and Technology Innovation Center has a clear and reasonable structure, and has a clear leading role in technology and industrial development.
Fan Gang, President of China (Shenzhen) Comprehensive Development Research Institute, delivered a keynote speech on “China’s Science and Technology Innovation and Science and Technology Innovation Bay Area” at the Bay Area Science and Technology Innovation Summit. He focused on analyzing the significance of “shared innovation” for science and technology innovation in the Bay Area. Based on the shared innovation model, the Bay Area has effectively played the role of large enterprises, forming a joint situation and collaborative innovation of basic scientific research forces. In the rise of science and technology, the Bay Area has demonstrated a shared innovation model that is strong first and then strong. This is the “head goose effect” advocated and promoted by the state in fields such as artificial intelligence.
Taking Tencent’s empowerment plan for small and medium-sized technology innovation companies at the Bay Area Science and Technology Summit as an example, we can see that the leading goose effect of large companies can be presented in the following directions.
1. In the exploration of cutting-edge technologies, we can use the head goose as a pioneer to build a platform-based innovation system and technology ecology, thereby enhancing the industrial vitality of the entire location. For basic core technologies such as artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, and VR, it is difficult for small and medium-sized enterprises to “reinvent the wheel”, and they also lack the resources to explore cutting-edge technological fields on a large scale. In the exploration of cutting-edge technologies, large companies such as Tencent can serve as the vanguard and pave the way. In the fields of artificial intelligence and autonomous driving, it can be seen that leading goose enterprises have brought effective pioneering effects to the industrial ecology.
2. In terms of market cultivation, leading enterprises can effectively open up business space and expand market scope, thus enhancing the market opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises and supply chain enterprises. The source of vitality of small and medium-sized scientific and technological innovation enterprises is effective and high-precision market space docking. And this often depends on large companies to carry out market development, share the market on this basis, and build a structured market supply chain. In the market, leading companies and innovative companies are more mutually beneficial and interdependent.
3. In terms of shared innovation, leading enterprises can share their own basic technologies and industrial platforms, and turn them into effective industrialized public products, so as to prevent entrepreneurs from making their own wheels and repeatedly wasting social innovation resources. Leading companies can also help small and medium-sized enterprises through a variety of empowerment programs.
For example, during the epidemic prevention and control period, Tencent Conference can remotely solve problems such as production coordination and scheduling, global communication, etc., and solve the communication and collaboration problems suddenly faced by a large number of small and medium-sized enterprises; using Tencent PerfDog, many Internet innovative companies have completed efficient applications. Performance testing to promote their own entrepreneurial projects to the market more stable, efficient, and low-cost.
In terms of industrial platforms and ecology, we can also see the distinctive shared innovation characteristics of large companies. For example, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Base of Tencent Industrial Internet, which started operation at the end of last year, brought Tencent’s technology and ecological capabilities to a large number of enterprises in the Bay Area relying on Foshan’s regional advantages, and promoted the cooperation of governments, enterprises, service providers, platforms, etc. Win-win development.
The parent material of the Bay Area can also be the parent material for more regions to build science and technology innovation centers. The head-goose effect can be said to be an indispensable nutrient for the aggregation of science and technology innovation locations.
Conclusion: A “Bay Area Soil Handbook”
Today, we are actively exploring technological self-reliance and self-improvement, promoting the filling of shortcomings, and solving the “stuck neck” technological problems.
However, in this process, it should be noted that the cultivation of underlying technological innovation capabilities and the formation of scientific and technological innovation location centers are not a one-dimensional project. It requires integrated development and cultivation of comprehensive factors. If a single technological breakthrough is overemphasized and market laws and the prosperity of the entrepreneurial innovation ecosystem are underestimated, it is likely to fall into problems such as technology that does not meet the needs and policies that are out of touch with the market. Moreover, the fundamental proposition of technological self-reliance is not to solve the “stuck neck” of a certain technology, but how to avoid being “stuck” by any technology from now on.
We can see a unique exploratory experience from the cultivation of the “technological innovation soil” in the Bay Area. The development of scientific and technological innovation locations promoted here has never been unidirectional, but seeks a balance between market vitality and industry guidance, and integrates many factors such as large companies, entrepreneurs, talents, policies, geography and economy, and jointly cultivates a Long-term dynamic location ecology.
Perhaps it can be said that the Bay Area has written a “Science and Technology Innovation Soil Cultivation Manual” with clear elements, innovative ideas, and pioneering demonstration value.
Its value lies not only in the Bay Area, but also in the Chinese technology industry that will inevitably have more Bay Areas, and in embracing the deterministic future of technological self-reliance.