Friday, January 20, 2006

What's a high impact company? How about Burt's Bees?

Increasing entrepreneurial activity that creates wealth is one of the three legs of a highly innovative economy, along with increasing educational attainment and enhancing innovation capacity.

At InnoVenture, we define the type of entrepreneurial activity we are looking for as a high-impact company. In a meeting yesterday to begin the selection process for emerging companies to present at InnoVenture, the question came up again, "What is a high-impact company?". While many technology-based companies are high-impact, some aren't, and many non-technology companies are.

This morning a press release from a company crossed my desk that is a great example of what I am talking about, "Burt's Bees Names John Replogle as CEO and President." Burt's Bees is definitely a high-impact. Many of us would love to have Burt's Bees as an investment, as a customer, as an employer, or however high-impact is defined from our perspective.


BFU Rector said...

I would add two legs to your base for innovation.

Low taxes.

Minimum regulations.

Swamp Fox said...

No question that low taxes and minimum regulations are important, but alone they are not sufficient. Building a highly innovative economy requires an effective public/private partnership.

There are activities that the private sector can do much better than the public sector, such as creating new markets of customers for highly innovative products and services. Regulation of the private sector should be kept to the minimum necessary, but some regulation is essential. Without environmental regulations, private concerns would be incentivized to pour waste products into public spaces spoiling them for everyone. No one wants that.

On the other hand, there are public goods, such as universal primary education, which should be publicly funded because everyone in the community will benefit from it and therefore everyone should contribute towards it. Taxes should be kept to a minimum, but if taxes don't aren't sufficient to provide essential public services, they are too low and we'll all suffer from that.