Education and R&D and innovation: two keys to development

According to the European Union (EU), “Highly skilled human capital, investment in research and development, market conditions conducive to innovation and faster take-up of new technologies are critical factors for Europe’s future wealth.

The strategy is not new. In his book “Civilization: The West and the Rest,” Niall Ferguson analyzes the reasons why the West has out-developed other civilizations since the fifteenth century and includes similar factors as the key drivers of this development.

Centering on the first two identified in the above EU quote, few people would quibble that education and R&D loom large in any country’s development. Far fewer, however, particularly among those who have the political clout to act in accordance with that basic conviction, would be capable of managing and nurturing them as activities that are top priority in any commitment towards a better future.

Among the three items that account for the lion’s share of public spending: education, healthcare and state pensions, the first is arguably the most important. The other two allow us to live better in the present whereas education will enable us to live better in the future and with a multiplier effect of the initial outlay.

Education and R&D and innovation are two activities that should always go hand in hand to ensure any country’s progress. Firstly, investing in knowledge and secondly transforming this knowledge into a greater wellbeing for citizens on the strength of a better stock of products and services at lower cost, especially those related to health and the quality of life.

The first without the second may create better citizens but not necessarily a richer society. The second without the first is quite simply impossible.

Although this wealth might not be a precise measurement of the quality of life, other indicators more akin to the concept of wellbeing, such as the “Human Development Index (HDI)”, are closely tied in with this wealth, as analyzed in Other indicators like the “Happy Planet Index” come to different conclusions but there is no doubt that part of this happiness is bound up with health and this in turn calls for big investments that are possible only in an advanced country. Together with this wealth, its redistribution, as measured for example by the “Gini Index”, is also essential for the wellbeing of society. Investment in education, according to the World Bank, is one of the keys to the reduction of inequality.

Education and R&D share other features in common besides their importance as drivers of a country’s development. Both call for talent and effort from all stakeholders: teachers, pupils, managers and engineers or researchers. Two among all these stakeholders are particularly crucial: teachers within education and, within companies or institutions, people who are capable of setting priorities and identifying the focus of R&D and innovation. Both are much more important than the laws that promote and define these activities.

Education and R&D share also the same underlying curiosity and inquisitiveness, continually unearthing new knowledge to drive further success and learning new skills even as this knowledge is being acquired.

Among all the other stakeholders it is companies that are perhaps best placed to bring together the two factors analyzed and transform them into specific results that are beneficial to society as a whole.

Companies like GMV have understood the importance of these two key growth factors.

GMV was born from a working group of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (Madrid Polytechnic University); it then developed by constantly tapping into the educational excellence of this university and bringing its students into the company. GMV’s personnel selection policy continues to work from this same principal.

GMV also continues to support education, sponsoring the research activities of diverse university chairs or sponsoring and promoting activities that aim to kindle an interest in science and research among the youngest: schoolchildren and university students. A good example is the First Lego League.

This same inquisitiveness and eagerness to learn is still an essential part of every GMV worker’s skillset as they seek new technological solutions for the projects they take on.

R&D and innovation is one of the keys to GMV’s ongoing growth, merging the necessary research and development for carrying out projects to meet clients’ new needs, such as equity-funded research to develop new inhouse products and improve their productive processes. GMV’s main growth areas today have all been painstakingly built up from risk-laden R&D projects.

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Author: Joaquín Cosmen

Las opiniones vertidas por el autor son enteramente suyas y no siempre representan la opinión de GMV
The author’s views are entirely his own and may not reflect the views of GMV
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