Thursday, October 16, 2008

Mexico Interested in Injo Initiative

I have had a three day tour in Mexico, with fifteen conferences and meetings on Innovation Journalism, all inspiring. The meetings crossed the 'triple helix', involving news organisations, universities, industries and government.

I gave a keynote in the parliament, the Congreso de la Union, for journalists, PR-people and politicians. It was hosted by Jesus Vicente Flores Morfin, member of parliament and secretary of the Commission of Science and Technology. He also participated in the panel discussion after my talk. You can read the coverage of the event here (html) (pdf) in Spanish and here in Google-translated English).

I also keynoted a journalism conference at the Tecnologico de Monterrey university campus in Mexico City. Coverage here (html) & here (pdf) in Spanish and here in Google-English.

The man who brought the idea of Injo to Mexico is Jorge Zavala, Mexican entrepreneur and founder of the Mexican TechBA accelerator in Silicon Valley, which is connected to FUMEC - the United States-Mexico Foundation for Science. Jorge pretty much grew up in a newsroom. His father was a well known journalist, who often brought his boy along to work. People like Jorge, who work with entrepreneurship and public innovation policy, and also have strong personal ties to journalism culture, often immediately grasp the concept of innovation journalism and the potential for it in the innovation economy.

Jorge and Fumec brought a sizeable Mexican delegation of journalists and funders to IJ-5 at Stanford in May, and they now followed up by arranging this visit with funding from Conacyt - the Mexican National Council of Science and Technology.

FUMEC is headed by CEO Guillermo Fernandez and chairman Leopoldo Rodriguez. The visit program was put together by Madai Quiroz Uria. Together with Jorge they form an entrepreneurial team, bridging Mexico and Silicon Valley, who want to drive an innovation journalism initiative.

Mexico is very well positioned for it. There are well connected people in journalism, universities, industry and government who get the Injo concept, that the Fumec/TechBA team can include or leverage on.

A Mexican Injo initiative has a great potential for both Mexico and Silicon Valley. Here in Silicon Valley there is a large Mexican population, but most of them are not in the innovation ecosystem. There is cultural separation between the Hispanic workers and the hightech workers in the Valley which is not constructive. If high quality Mexican journalists will be Injo Fellows working with Silicon Valley newsrooms, it will create networks between journalists in both countries enabling them to bridge subconcious cultural divides, and connect the dots between Mexico and Silicon Valley in the innovation economy. Given the large constituency of Mexicans in the Valley, this can be huge.

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