Over 140 people from Australia and overseas participated in the Asia-Pacific Symposium on Entrepreneurship and Innovation on the University of Sydney campus between April 1 and 3, 2009. The focus of the Symposium, the first to be held in Australia, was to discuss issues of innovation and entrepreneurship in Australia, provide opportunities for interchange between academic researchers, business executives and government, and look for new ways of developing innovative businesses.
The Symposium was organised by the International Entrepreneurship Research Group, which includes Professor Sid Gray and Dr Richard Seymour from the Faculty of Economics and Business and Professor Bruce McKern from the US Studies Centre. The US Studies Centre and the Faculty's International Business group, together with the NSW Department of State and Regional Development, sponsored the Symposium.
A highlight of the Symposium was the keynote address titled "Strategically Managing Corporate Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Turbulent Times" delivered by Professor Robert Burgelman, the Edmund W. Littlefield Professor of Management at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Burgelman is an expert in the fields of strategy, leadership and innovation, and well known for his extensive research into the corporate venturing process.
Professor Burgelman noted the high failure rate of large companies over time, and stressed the importance of continuous innovation to a corporate long-term survival. He described competitive "rules of the game" which changed over time and could be influenced by a company's innovative strategy. He stressed the need for autonomous processes of innovation within organisations as well as induced processes (the formal processes of research and development). He concluded by describing the challenge faced by leaders of business today in simultaneously managing for fit with the current business environment, and "evolvability" to meet dynamic future challenges.
The Symposium included a series of panel discussions involving researchers and business executives on such topics as creativity, the internationalisation of innovations, the experience of large companies in promoting innovative processes, and the perspectives of companies in emerging markets. A series of research papers were also presented in three sessions concerned with new approaches to innovation. The Centre's Professor Bruce McKern organised and chaired a panel discussion in which a group of experts compared systems of innovation in the United States, Israel, Japan and Australia.
Symposium guests attended a formal dinner in the University's Great Hall, at which Mr Joe Skrzynski AO, Managing Director of Champ Private Equity and a Fellow of the University Senate, gave a thoughtful address about innovation and leadership in the performing arts. Also at the dinner, Professor Wang, Executive Dean of the School of Management at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, signed a memorandum of research cooperation with Professor Sid Gray, Chair of the IERG.