Friday, April 28, 2006

Place matters because innovation is a contact sport

There is a very interesting dichotomy developing. People globally to collaborate via the Internet in incredible ways that were not possible a few years ago, but people are social creatures and personal relationships still matter.

Randall Kempner, vice president for regional innovation at the Council on Competitiveness, observes that in a recent interview that,
We believe that regions are the place where innovation takes place, because innovation is actually a contact sport. In this highly-connected world, people still like to have personal interactions and know the suppliers, buyers and related institutions that enable new product and idea development.
He also identifies what I believe is an enormous untapped opportunity for all regions, especially ours.
I'll just use Rochester , New York , as an example. Kodak has a bunch of orphan technologies. There you have a large company that has developed a bunch of patents and potential technologies that don't fit into their business strategy because the opportunities are too small or not in the company's core market. However, one firm's “small” $100 million dollar market is another man's fortune. But, as of yet, neither the region nor the company has found a way to get their technology into the hands of people that could actually do something with these opportunities.
InnoVenture is at the infancy of building on these concepts.

1 comment:

The Front Stoop said...

John, this is a great post because it illuminates what some consider is a major bottleneck in advancing innovation in this country. The dynamic (or lack thereof) that Kempner mentions also happens, as is well known, in universities. Here at the Kauffman Foundation, we have a whole department looking into this issue. Many thanks.