Regions of Innovation program moves to GSB

Sept. 29, 2011, 2:08 a.m.

The Stanford Program on Regions of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SPRIE) announced its move from the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (APARC) to the Graduate School of Business (GSB) on Sept. 13. The privately and independently funded SPRIE, established in 1998, is an interdisciplinary, international research program focused on how high-tech regions grow and are sustained over time.

The program has five research focus areas: China 2.0, Japanese Entrepreneurship, Smart Green Cities, Telecom Regulation in India and the Silicon Valley Project. SPRIE Directors, all of whom have been or are affiliated with the GSB, cited the program’s global focus as a major reason for its move.

“The immediate environment will have an effect, and the immediate environment will be global,” said one SPRIE Faculty Director Henry Rowen. “Asia is a pretty big place, but the world is even bigger and that’s the big difference.”

Research will be targeted toward academic audiences, policy makers and business leaders, according to SPRIE Associate Director Marguerite Gong Hancock. In the past week, SPRIE hosted a Chinese delegation of over two dozen policy makers from national ministries, provinces and major cities.

“We conduct training programs for senior policy makers from other regions and national-level governments,” Hancock said. “We either bring our research to them in their countries or they come and spend time with us here at Stanford.”

SPRIE researches how innovation and entrepreneurship help create economic value. The regional focus is what Hancock believes differentiates the program from others.

“Some programs focus on the national level and some on the firm level, and we do the regional level,” Hancock said.  “It’s explicitly regional and explicitly international and comparative.”

Interviews, drawing on expertise from other regions, workshops and other forms of research provide the basic framework of operation.

“Our role is to integrate all the forms of research — to pull it all together, based on our experience in different regions, and this becomes the basis for our findings,” said a SPRIE Faculty Director William Miller.

SPRIE has ties in its focus regions, as well as on the Stanford campus.

“We will continue to expand our programs but our goal is to link them with other activities at Stanford — we progress by being collaborative with other groups,” Miller said.

Among these groups are universities, government agencies and companies in the program’s focus regions, including Tokyo University and the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. On campus, SPRIE collaborates with the Department of Management Science and Engineering and faculty who teach entrepreneurship in the School of Engineering. The program is also a co-sponsor of Entrepreneurship Week.

On Sept. 30, SPRIE will host the first of four major conferences scheduled for this academic year. The “China 2.0” conference, the third in a series on the rise of the Internet industry in China, will address media and commerce.

“We have a lineup of alums from the venture capital world, entrepreneurs and people who are actively leading growth in China’s Internet industry,” Hancock said.

“There’s a flow of talent and ideas between the United States and China, and we research what is happening there, what kind of innovation is coming out of China and what the implications will be for global players,” she added.

The conference, as well as SPRIE’s seminars and events throughout the year, are open and free to students.

Marwa Farag is a senior staff writer at The Stanford Daily. Previously, she was the managing editor of news, managing editor of the former features section, a features desk editor and a news writer.

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