Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Connecting Smart Risk Takers: A Better Formula for Economic Growth

From "A Better Formula for Economic Growth: Connecting Smart Risk Takers" by Vivek Wadhwa in the Chronicle of Higher Education:
Build a magnificent technology park next to a research university; provide incentives for chosen businesses to locate there; add some venture capital. That is the common recipe for harnessing higher education and industry to spur economic growth as prescribed by management consultants touting the "cluster theory" developed by Harvard Business School's Michael E. Porter.
It simply doesn't work that way. It takes people who are knowledgeable, motivated, and willing to take risks. Those people have to be connected to one another and to universities by information-sharing social networks.
One way to understand what works and why no one has been able to replicate Silicon Valley is to compare it with the Route 128 ring around Boston.
By the 80s, Silicon Valley and Route 128 looked alike: a mix of large and small tech firms, world-class universities, venture capitalists, and military financing.
Yet, today, most people don't even know where Route 128 is. Silicon Valley raced ahead because of its dynamism, which overwhelmed the slow pace of technological change in the Boston area. What gave Silicon Valley its advantage were its high rates of job hopping, new-company formation, and a culture of information exchange and risk taking. Silicon Valley firms understood that collaborating and competing at the same time is a recipe for success in the tech world, where complex products often comprise chunks of technology harvested from many organizations. In addition, failure was tolerated and often worn proudly.
Read Wadhwa's complete commentary here.

No comments:

Post a Comment