Previously, we discussed “Regional Innovation Clusters” and why they an important driver of economic growth. The Brookings Institute posits that “clusters generate powerful synergies in local economies by organizing, matching, and linking the key actors and assets.”
The question then becomes, what characteristics are associated with Regional Innovation Clusters? The same report cited several examples as evidence that biotechnology, and other technology-based companies, are likely to be much more innovative if they are located in a clusters with strong specializations in their own technologies.
In its recent study of regionalism, the Council on Competitiveness emphasized the three “Cs” of successful regional collaboration: connection, converstaion, and capacity. Its assertion that “regionalism is a contact sport best pursued through personal interactions at every stage of the game” especially rings true in a highly innovative economy where most projects are multi-disciplinary in their approach.
Capacity building, as related to regional clusters, involves leveraging assets that a particular region has to offer and connecting them with start-up companies. Connecting start-ups to professional services and universities can then lead to connections with key capital resources. The common denominator of the renewable energy industry in Colorado, the battery industry in Michigan and Indiana’s own life sciences industry cluster is not only are they regional innovation clusters, but that they are all also highly integrated with strong research universities that closely support the cluster.