Partnerships are the cornerstone to building the infrastructure for a global economy and then succeeding in it, a high-ranking US Government official said last week at the Internet Commerce Expo conference here.
That was the message from Dr Cheryl Shavers, undersecretary of Commerce for Technology at the US Department of Commerce during her keynote address. Countries and small businesses are looking at technology as the great equaliser. But building partnerships globally is a key factor in the success of those businesses and countries, according to Shavers.
"If you don't have partnerships globally, you aren't in the Internet economy."
US businesses have excelled in creating such partnerships by identifying problems, forming consortiums, and then working together to solve the problems. The private sector "has its act together" when it comes to partnerships, Shavers said. The Government can play a key role in helping US businesses create such partnerships, Shavers added.
For example, Shavers' group formed an initiative to hook up US and Egyptian businesses. Egypt's cash society, however, formed an obstacle. So Shavers' group worked to put an infrastructure in place so that transactions could happen.
Another important role for government lies in creating policy. That happens when technology develops so quickly that it threatens to interfere with the "social contract", Shavers said.
Shavers urged Silicon Valley executives to get involved with the process of policy making by writing to their government representatives about issues that affect them and their businesses.