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Stanford Graduate School of Business

The Stanford Program on Regions of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SPRIE) was active from 1998 through fall 2013. Led by faculty co-directors William F. Miller and Henry S. Rowen, with Associate Director Marguerite Gong Hancock, SPRIE was dedicated to the understanding and practice of innovation and entrepreneurship in leading regions around the world. SPRIE fulfilled its mission through interdisciplinary and international collaborative research, seminars and conferences, publications, and briefings for industry and government leaders. 

We are grateful to have made our home at two remarkable parts of Stanford, the Shorenstein Asia Pacific Research Center until 2011 and then the Graduate School of Business.

— Henry Rowen, SPRIE Faculty Co-Director

The impact of SPRIE’s work among leaders around the world has been made possible through wonderful relationships with faculty colleagues across the university and beyond, active Advisory Board members, generous donors, engaging alumni and students, strong corporate and government partners, and extraordinary staff.

William Miller, SPRIE Faculty Co-Director

Under the direction SPRIE faculty co-directors William F. Miller and Henry S. Rowen, Marguerite Gong Hancock launched and led China 2.0 from 2010 to June 2014. Important contributors to the development of the program included faculty from across campus, a distinguished and active Advisory Board, generous donors and sponsors, as well as GSB staff, including China 2.0 team members Yan Mei and Rustin Crandall. During this time, it has grown into a platform for convening thought leaders in China and Silicon Valley, supporting cutting-edge research and curriculum development by faculty, and organizing programs to educate students as next-generation leaders.

With staffing and a facility now grounded in Beijing, Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) is transitioning management of our China initiatives. In early 2014, the GSB launched a new organization structured to further increase the research support of our faculty and their teaching objectives. That group, called Centers and Initiatives for Research, Curriculum and Learning Experiences (CIRCLE), supports areas of academic focus including social innovation, entrepreneurship, value chain, data and analytics, and corporate governance, in addition to China-related work.

While our organization has changed, Stanford Graduate School of Business remains committed to bringing together executives, entrepreneurs, investors, policy makers, academics and students through a number of existing and emerging programs related to innovation and entrepreneurship around the world.

SPRIE research focused on the nexus of innovation and entrepreneurship in high technology clusters, through questions such as:

  • What factors enable innovative and entrepreneurial regions to advance and be sustained? What divergent models and strategies are evident in emerging regions?
  • Why have some regions lagged, despite strong assets such as skilled workers or capital investments? What obstacles hinder a region's development?
  • How can the performance of high-technology regions be analyzed and evaluated?
  • How do the flows of ideas, technology, people, and capital define new global linkages? How do these shape the emerging global high-technology system?
  • With the rise of China, India, and other high-technology powerhouses, what new patterns of interaction are emerging among major players? How can companies and governments best respond to new critical challenges and opportunities?
  • What are the implications for the United States, and especially Silicon Valley?

Emerging global high-technology system

During the latter half of the 20th century, Silicon Valley was widely acknowledged as the preeminent example of a high-technology region. It had combined unrivaled leadership in successive generations of information technologies with the creation of new firms, which have grown into global leaders.

Yet the Valley is not a singular success, nor can any region in this era of globalization be sustained in isolation. New firms and technological advances are expanding in regions across Asia. These new centers of high-technology dynamism are linked through flows of people, capital, and technology that define the emerging global high-technology system.

Bringing together business, academia and government

SPRIE brought together a team of distinguished faculty, researchers, visiting scholars, and students from business, political science, economics, and technology. SPRIE also conducted research through international, interdisciplinary collaboration with scholars at other eminent research institutes and universities, and partnerships with leading international/high-technology firms. SPRIE sponsored seminars, workshops, and conferences in the United States and Asia for scholars as well as leaders in government and business. SPRIE research results were disseminated through briefings, reports, case studies, articles, and books.

Interdisciplinary and International Research

The following were some areas of SPRIE investigation.

Understanding Innovation Patterns

Rapid increases in Asia’s innovative capacity and competence—most notably in China and global India—are fundamentally changing the patterns of innovation. The scale and scope of these new powerhouses portend even more significant impacts in the years ahead. From research and development (R&D) to manufacturing to marketing, key activities are migrating to—as well as within—Asia. Motivations reach beyond the well-known lures of lower costs: the quest is for higher value added productivity, growth markets, and pools of talent. SPRIE research examined the roles that Asian firms and institutions were taking in an era of the globalization of R&D, and identifying the most significant regions and technologies of rising R&D competency. The work investigated emerging strategies, best practices, and models for innovation in these regions, and considers the implications for other players in the global high-technology system, such as the United States.

Profiling New International Leaders

From an unprecedented number of startups to a new class of billion-dollar giants going global, high-technology companies in China, India, and elsewhere are demonstrating their clout. A new generation of firms and their leaders aim to leverage lower costs while increasing value-added activities. As these firms seek to continue a trajectory of dramatic growth, build competitive advantage, climb the value-added ladder, and leverage their roles vis-à-vis growing global markets and resources, the critical challenges for high-technology leadership will only intensify. Focusing first on China, SPRIE studied metrics to describe, analyze, and evaluate the performance of effective and successful high-technology business leaders. There are important questions about how the rising generation of leaders is being developed, and whether those leaders can take Chinese firms global: Who belongs in this elite cadre? Do they share similar attributes or best practices? How are they leading their companies to face the critical challenges and opportunities of the dynamic business environment?