By essence is meant that which constitutes the nature of things, that which is permanent and unchanging in them. Essence means the unchanging characteristics that make a thing what it is and without which it wouldn´t be what it is.

The experience of 15 years working in a technology centre has allowed me to realise and appreciate the importance of keeping the essence for which the Technology Centres (TTCC from now on) are created.

TTCC as they are conceived are the hinges of innovation by opening and closing the opportunities of innovation systems and by having the mission to connect the other four actors of the systems: public administrations, reserach organisations, enterprises and society. As centres have such an important role to play in linking science and funding with competitiveness and value, a strong and clear long-term commitment is needed from all actors to achieve robust TTCC clusters in terms of size and availability of resources and infrastructures. Without going into who was the chicken or the egg first, there are numerous examples that demonstrate the link between the competitiveness and prosperity of regions and the existence of establishe TTCC that have been able to drive science towards their exploitation.

TTCC are those entities that should strive to seek collaboration to enhance the results and not for the generation of pure science; they are entities that acts as a lever to move the innovative culture of the regions, providing value and growth to society. They are entities that seek to transfer knwoledge generate impact. They are the key agents for the leveraging funds aimed at increasing business competitiviteness and, in short, they are agents that grease the innovation wheel so that it becomes a virtuous circle in the regions.

What should define and differentiate TTCC is the impact we generate in the industrial ecossytems to which we belong, an impact measure from an economic and social point of view. That is why a pure Technology Centre that preserves its essence must be able to incrementally influences and modify a technology and adapt it to the resolution of a problem. Therefore, TTCC must focus their sustainability and growth strategy on choosing which technology or technologies to act on in order to generate value. The most common tendency that distorts the role of a TC and distances it from its essence is to focus its strategy on a sector. The sector shouldn´t be the means but the end. There are no strategic sectors if there are technologies (otherwise we should be called sectoral centres, not technology centres)If you know and control a technology very well, you will have no obstacles to belong to the value chain of any sector and you can be excellent in technology and bring value to the ecosystems by implementing it, you can have the essence of a technology centre.

TTCC must find, defend and work to maintain our role within the industrial ecossytems to which we belong, but above all to maintain the essence for which we exist: to work for and behalf companies and society to generate value, sustainable growth and prosperity. In short, we must work to generate innovation because this is the only way to preserve our essence.

Irene Hompanera
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