How to Make a Region Innovative
To foster economic growth, innovation clusters need to draw on the power of an interrelated “quad” of sectors: public, private, civil, and academic, according to an article published in the latest issue of strategy+business magazine by Ernest J. Wilson III.
The author has studied innovation clusters in more than a dozen countries for the last 15 years. He argues that clusters can be vitally important to a country’s innovation and prosperity, but when they are misunderstood, they do not realize their potential. To generate one groundbreaking technological development after another, innovation must be embedded within long-lived social institutions and networks. Four different sectors must be linked together: government, business, civil society (not-for-profit organizations), and academia. This is what the author calls “the quad.” In such an environment, creativity needn’t wait for the unpredictable “aha” moment. It is continually nurtured. The decisions made at every level — investment funds, corporate engineering teams, regional planning boards, philanthropic councils, academic faculty reviews, and many more — are naturally aligned.
In most communities, this quad alignment can be deliberately developed if leaders put three measures into effect:
- First, they should construct cross-sector networks that are richer, more diverse, and more deliberately structured than those of the past.
- Second, these leaders should continually reform the way their organizations are managed — creating a climate that fosters innovation, and adjusting the incentives and organizational structures to reward creativity and collaboration.
- Third, leaders should invest in talented, innovative individuals, attracting, retaining, and empowering the right mix of people who can foster serial innovation.
The author analyses further the four ingredient the a successful quad system and provides examples of both successful and unsuccessful clusters.
How to Make a Region Innovative (free registration is required).