Thursday, December 13, 2012

что Сколково?

Two years ago, I wrote a paper about Russia's Skolkovo Project.

The Skolkovo Project is known as Russia's attempt to replicate the Silicon Valley's successes in technology and innovation.  Projects are underway, such as the construction of Skol-Tech, an engineering school to complement the already built Hypercube and School of Management.  Those involved in the project hope that Skolkovo will be a testing ground for new ideas in business, technology, and society.

With the help of the Stanford Program, we were able to attend an "Open Government" Conference at the Skolkovo Hypercube this evening.

The Skolkovo "complex" lies twelve miles west of Moscow.  I write "complex" because there is hardly anything there; the business school consists of a small cluster of buildings a short distance from the main Skolkovo entrance, and then, inside Skolkovo, there is the Hypercube, which is a seven story cube in the middle of a snowy field.

According to our guide, the Skol-Tech Engineering school will be opened in 2014.

Our evening in the Hypercube began with a talk about the Skolkovo Project.  "What is Skolkovo?" rhetorically asked our guide.  "Well, that is what we would like to know too."
Interior of Hypercube
Hypercube Auditorium
Following a brief tour of the Hypercube, which is purposely designed to look unfinished with concrete walls and visible metal bolts, we assembled in the main auditorium to hear from a panel of international ministers and political figures including Russian Prime Minister and former President Dmitri Medvedev.


The panel discussed the necessity of Open Government in enabling its citizens to advocate for change.  Open government projects such as access to documents and data are important steps for Russia as it seeks to better its credibility in the business world.  However, pledging to join an Open Government Partnership is one thing; actually enacting these procedures is a far greater demonstration of openness than any partnership.



*I wasn't sure how tight security would be, so I only had my point-and-shoot camera.

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