Silicon Valley legend challenges Australia's tech future

Right blend of ideas, people and capital

Silicon Valley legend, Dr William Miller, is coming to Australia in February to discuss the opportunities and challenges for Australia with government, academics, researchers, entrepreneurs and investors.

He will be presenting at a series of events covering five capital cities. As the author of "The Silicon Valley Edge" Miller will spotlight the challenges facing Australia.

When trying to emulate the success of Silicon Valley, Miller says there is no silver bullet but the ecosystem needs the right culture, organisations, infrastructure, and entrepreneurs to flourish.

"It takes the right blend of ideas, people, and capital, all collaborating towards success," he said.

Miller will also talk about the role of the university in the 21st century and outline the opportunities for collaboration especially the commercialisation of academically derived technologies.

Miller argues that research he has undertaken proves that for countries or regions to participate in the global growth of the high tech industries they must promote and facilitate education and advanced scientific and technological research.

"If they do not promote and facilitate a favourable habitat for innovation and entrepreneurship the talent that they develop will go elsewhere to exercise that talent," he said.

Looking ahead, Miller says there are three factors that will shape the future IT industry: the growing importance of Asian demand for IT products; the further development of venture capital; and the prospect of Asia becoming a creator of technology.

Miller is a Herbert Hoover professor of public and private management emeritus at the graducate school of business, Stanford University. He is also professor emeritus of computer science and senior fellow emeritus in the Stanford Institute for International Studies.

Miller was CEO of SRI International, CEO and founder of the David Sarnoff Research Centre and recently founded a neew nanomaterials start-up NanoStellar.

Start-up companies created from Stanford University accounted for about 60 per cent of total Silicon Valley revenues in both 1988 and 1996 and include companies such as Hewlett Packard, Sun MIcrosystems, Silicon Graphics, Adobe, Yahoo and Google.

Australian Information Industry Association strategry and policy services general manager James McAdam, said Dr Miller presented to an Australian ICT industry delegation to Stanford last year.

"His insights into the challenges facing small companies on a fast growth track were of enormous benefit to our group," he said.

Dr Miller's visit is being supported by Westpac, Microsoft, Australian Institute for Commercialisation, SA Venture Capital Board, the South Australian government, Centre for Innovation and NanoVic.

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