Blog: Innovation Clusters

I recently spoke at the Minnesota High Tech Association’s (MHTA’s) Spring Conference. I was in a breakout session on Innovation. I started with a retrospective of the last 30 years of software R&D. During that time, infrastructure and capital expenses for advanced computing have decreased and internet connectivity has increased. So we have been able to move from centralized R&D organizations to diverse, decentralized R&D. Many large organizations are using the market to resolve R&D, so instead of funding advanced research, large companies just buy surviving startups, effectively outsourcing R&D. Even government agencies are adopting this approach with the more near term, “field-able within a year” procurements. In summary:

  • The R&D Landscape has changed over time, it has moved from the domain of large industrial and academic enclaves to garages and basements.
  • Disruptive technologies have been documented and are recognized in market forces.
  • To stay competitive, large organizations need to use “technology scouts” to track disruptive technologies and stay relevant.
  • Commercialization requires nimbleness, agility, perseverance, talent, and luck.

One thing that the MHTA needs to be aware of is world-wide competitiveness. So, the most requested slide from my presentation is presented here.