Economic innovation — the process by which ideas become new goods and services — saves us money and time, enhances our quality of life, and improves our health and life expectancy. Businesses that excel at turning ideas into new technologies and processes gain a competitive advantage that translates into better jobs for our region's residents.
Our research laboratories, technology parks, universities, and advanced manufacturing firms are assets that create high-paying jobs that attract and retain the human capital our region needs to compete with other global centers of commerce. While we have the world-class research institutions, diverse industry mix, and strong civic organizations and foundations needed to support innovation, our region has not been keeping up with other metro areas' pace of commercializing technology — a trend that must be reversed to ensure future prosperity.
The public sector must support individuals and private institutions that can spur innovation, especially by connecting our researchers with entrepreneurs. Government can also improve the data systems needed to measure innovation, which will help guide decisions about infrastructure and other public investments to more effectively promote innovation.
By strategically encouraging "industry clusters" — among them biomedical / biotechnical, advanced materials, and transportation / logistics, as well as emerging clusters like green energy and technology — we can reduce duplication of workforce training and other efforts. And by supporting the experimentation and creativity necessary to produce commercial breakthroughs in these industries, we will create a culture that encourages innovation in our region.