Dr. Jon Padfield Discusses Public/Private Partnerships at the “Knowledge is Growth Forum 2020” in Panama City, Panama

February 19, 2020
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IUPUC professor, Dr. Jon Padfield, was invited on behalf of the Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars to present a keynote address at the Knowledge is Growth 2020 Forum on February 12, 2020 in Panama City, Panama.

The forum, operated in partnership with Panama's National Secretariat for Science, Technology and Innovation (SENACYT), fosters understanding through design thinking and explores innovation policies geared towards implementing Panama’s National Economic Plan, 2019-2024. According to Padfield, “Panama has made improving the skills of their current and future workforce a national priority and this conference was an early step in getting the various stakeholders together to discuss ways to improve.”


Dr. Padfield’s three-hour presentation included a discussion of successful public/private partnerships in the United States, including programs such as the Joint Transportation Research Program which amounts to a joint venture between the Indiana Department of Transportation and Purdue’s Department of Civil Engineering. Padfield also reviewed the Manufacturing Extension Program which is funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce, and conducted a workshop on applying the principles of design thinking to public/private partnerships to help Panama’s government agencies, universities, and private sector work together to grow their economy and implement their national economic plan.


“This forum was designed to bring together stakeholders from Panama’s government, universities, and private sector to discuss ways they can work together to better meet the needs of students individually and Panama’s workforce and economy as a whole,” said Padfield.


Padfield, who is currently an Assistant Professor of Management within the Division of Business at IUPUC, spent 13 years working in competitive analysis, R&D, technology development, and new product development in the automotive industry. In addition to teaching, he currently provides consulting, training, and mentoring services to organizations committed to turning their data, people and processes into competitive advantages.


Following the forum, Padfield was asked to continue working with Panama’s government to help them develop a national 10-year plan for improving the skills and opportunities of their workforce. “My initial role was to discuss how design thinking principles could be applied to improve the effectiveness of public/private partnerships related to workforce development,” said Padfield. “I look forward to expanding that role and continuing the work we started at the forum.”