A personal view from David Axam - Director at Surrey Connects and BT Plc.

A personal view from David Axam - Director at Surrey Connects and BT Plc. Click to enlarge

25 Jan 2013

Smart Economic Development

I have lived in Surrey all my life and have teenage children who have benefited from the education system in Surrey at all levels. I feel very passionate about education as an enabler for economic growth and as Chair of Governors at Ash Manor School in Surrey I don’t just watch I get involved and can see first-hand the hard work and dedication that goes into our education system. 

Looking towards further education and higher education I believe we are well served in Surrey with some excellent establishments delivering fantastic results and also acknowledge that our business schools are well established to operate at a level of excellence in their specific chosen fields. All goodness however there is a “but” and that is that frankly I see a gap in the critical areas of Leadership and Innovation which, when comparing provision in Surrey against those at the very highest global level, is not leading and yet is so important to Smart Economic growth which will underpin the economic future for Surrey.

Why do I take this view? I look around the world and see institutions like Stanford, LBS, Harvard, Insead, Berkley and more recently the Indian Institute of management and Ceibs (China) as business schools that truly excel, but more importantly having visited some of these places, I see how large business gravitate towards the excellence in management produced and also how new businesses grow from the intellectual and innovation stimulus produced. Now I don’t want to come across as attacking the fine work in our great Universities in Surrey but I do think we should set our ambition high and believe that by working together, business and education, we can build ourselves a plan to deliver Surrey a world class business school

I remember reading “The World is Flat” by Thomas L Friedman some years back and thinking then that my children need to develop skills that are valued in a global knowledge economy of the future, if you have not read this book then I would summarise it (badly) as: the world is globalising, manufacturing moved first essentially to the lowest economic environment and now services are following so for more developed countries, read us here in Surrey,  the secret is stay ahead of the curve hence why innovation, leadership skills and the knowledge economy are so critical.

So I am thinking of my children, how the world will change and my belief that it is possible, with ambition and lot of hard work, that they can have the choice to attend the finest business school in the world and that it can be here in Surrey.