At the begin­ning of ACADEMIA SUPERIOR‘S fifth oper­a­tional year, we opened an aca­d­e­m­ic dis­course to answer the ques­tion about how to take the ascent to join the cir­cle of the best. In dis­cus­sions with renowned experts we were look­ing for new approach­es and meth­ods, poten­tial obsta­cles and dif­fi­cul­ties, strate­gies and solu­tions that accom­pa­ny us on our jour­ney to the top. What makes us better?

The experts all agreed that striv­ing to improve is the key fac­tor that dri­ves progress and inno­va­tion. All the same, tak­ing the jour­ney to the top suc­cess­ful­ly requires focus­ing on your own strengths and pas­sions. Only through per­son­al pas­sion will you keep your inner dri­ve alive, reach your goal with deter­mi­na­tion and not allow your­self to be dis­cour­aged by set­backs. Because mis­steps are inevitable, indeed nec­es­sary, on the jour­ney to the top. We can learn from our mis­takes, gain expe­ri­ence, take in new per­spec­tives, and by doing so find bet­ter solu­tions and alter­na­tive avenues.

All the same, for peo­ple and com­pa­nies to be able to suc­cess­ful­ly fol­low the path­way to the best, pub­lic pol­i­cy­mak­ers have to cre­ate a gen­er­al frame­work in which per­son­al devel­op­ment and indi­vid­ual tal­ents are fos­tered. This is the only way we can make Upper Aus­tria into a supe­ri­or region. To do this, it is nec­es­sary to sig­nif­i­cant­ly dis­man­tle bureau­crat­ic hur­dles that inhib­it and thus slow down progress. Our soci­ety is also called on to change its views. In times like these, when we are demand­ing that the pol­i­cy­mak­ers present us with solu­tions, all of us are also called on to think and act more respon­si­bly when mak­ing deci­sions. We are all called on to con­tribute to the com­mon good.

Because the jour­ney to the best is long and ardu­ous. And if we want to take Upper Aus­tria to the top, com­pared with oth­er regions inter­na­tion­al­ly, we have to – whether as indi­vid­u­als, busi­ness­es, or politi­cians – work hand in hand. The experts were also in agree­ment on this point: On the jour­ney to the best, it’s not about scor­ing indi­vid­ual suc­cess­es, but rather it’s about ongo­ing self-improve­ment. Often it’s the road that already lies behind us that makes us suc­cess­ful. Or as Sue Camp­bell put it, “Bet­ter nev­er stops.”

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