The 2008 innovation day: 'attracting and retaining global talent'

Innovation is at the heart of a successful, 21st Century knowledge-based economy. Co-hosted by Oracle and the Lisbon Council, one of Europe's premier think tanks, The 2008 Innovation Day brought together European business leaders and key EU officials to debate the challenges of 'Attracting and Retaining Global Talent', a decisive factor for Europe's long-term competitiveness.

Subtitled 'Attracting and Retaining Global Talent: How Europe Can Thrive in the Age of Knowledge', The 2008 Innovation Day was held on 13th November in Brussels, co-hosted by the Lisbon Council, one of Europe's foremost think tanks, and Oracle, the world's largest enterprise software company. Top of the day's agenda was the skills gap currently hampering Europe's aim of making innovation the heart of a competitive 21st century knowledge-based economy.

Dedicated to leading a campaign on the role and importance of innovation, to shedding light on its intricate dynamics and to providing a platform where innovative minds can meet and exchange ideas, the Lisbon Council, like Oracle, believes that innovation is the key to Europe becoming a successful, competitive 21st century economy. However, at present, attracting, training and retaining the highly skilled workers needed to ensure its long-term success is a major challenge.

Bringing together more than 40 business leaders and policy makers from the EU institutions for interactive dialogue with key EU officials on the day's primary topic, as well as on the wider debate of how to make Europe more innovative and competitive, the event was a unique opportunity for participants to have their opinions heard by high-level policy makers, to network with peers from other EU member states and to learn about the newest policy developments in key areas such as open innovation, the possibility of an EU-wide Blue Card for highly skilled third-country personnel, and the newly proposed "free movement of knowledge" or Fifth Freedom package.

A highly successful day commenced with this year's flagship event on innovation and creativity the 2008 Guglielmo Marconi Lecture, given by renowned UK thinker and writer, Charles Leadbeater, the best-selling author of We Think: Mass Innovation, Not Mass Production. Drawing on the contents of his book, Charles presented a timely and provocative appeal for Europe to embrace the challenge and possibilities of mass collaboration, such as social networking, and empowering citizens to become drivers of innovation and renewal.

Participants were then able to join Charles Leadbeater to discuss and debate his inspirational ideas in what proved to be a stimulating Interactive Policy Roundtable with Vasumathi Briquez, Vice-President of Innovation and Core Technology Industry Solutions, Oracle EMEA, and Khalil Rouhana, the European Commission's Head of Unit Strategy for ICT Research and Innovation, DG Information Society.

The day continued with another Roundtable led by Janez Poto─Źnik, European Commissioner for Science and Research, this time a fascinating discussion of Europe's 'Fifth Freedom', the freedom of knowledge. Titled 'Opening the Door to Talent: Why Europe Needs More Circulation of Great Minds and Innovators', the group looked at ways to fill the skills gaps presently being experienced by many EU countries, to retain Europe's most skilled workers, to attract others from outside Europe, and to better link Europe's innovation and human capital agenda and facilitate greater worker mobility.

Bringing the day to a close, a final working group engaged in further discussions on how to ease the skills gap, this time focussing on 'Facilitating Economic Migration' and the possibility of a Blue Card for qualified third-country nationals. The day's participants joined with Jonathan Faull, director general of DG Justice, Freedom and Security at the European Commission, Kacim Kellal, Assistant Deputy Minister of International Affairs and Co-Development of France, and Oracle EMEA Vice-President of Public Policy and Corporate Affairs, Karl Cox to debate what this might entail for companies, how they might benefit from immigration changes currently in the pipeline, and the possible challenges to their implementation.

More information on The 2008 Innovation Day is available from the link below:

Lisbon Council's website