Objective of the session
To bring together the world’s top innovators to showcase the tools that have had the greatest
impact on competitiveness, productivity, and development, and that can therefore be relevant to
growth in the Caribbean and to learn about the regulatory and policy barriers that would need to
be addressed in order to promote the use of these tools.
Key messages to the participants
A well-educated and skilled population, combined with strong intellectual property rights
incentives – what Microsoft calls “IQ + IP” – is key to help drive the kind of innovation that society
needs. Skills are important to formulate good ideas but the right policies and regulatory
frameworks will allow these ideas to flourish.
A patent for the Cardiac Surgery Simulator developed at the University of the West Indies was
obtained but it has been difficult to license the patent to potential investors and enter into mass
production due to the lack of clear policy frameworks for intellectual property rights in Jamaica.
Telecommunications present an important opportunity that can contribute to growth but Haiti
lacks the necessary regulatory frameworks to manage service offerings because regulators do
not understand the business model of mobile carriers.
Key take-aways from the participants’ interaction
The online platform for petitions behind the winning 2012 Danilo Medina presidential campaign in
the Dominican Republic was the first initiative in the Latin America and the Caribbean region that
allowed citizens to submit proposals to be included into a government program. Once Danilo in
August 2012 assumes power the platform is envisioned to serve as a monitoring and
accountability tool to track government action on the submitted proposals.
Creating an environment that fosters innovation on a regular basis requires institutions that can
attract, encourage and engage creative minds in providing solutions to social problems. This
requires institutions to have a better understanding of intellectual property rights, what can be
protected and how, the kind of stand forms, template agreements, and valuation guidelines that
are needed to help license patents and allow creative solutions to be taken to market.
Microsoft’s approach to innovation has been to invest steadily on research and development to
develop and transfer technology to help generate innovative ideas that can have a social impact
but also work with a large team of lawyers to help promote the policies and regulations that can
advocate for the promotion of innovative products.