Adapting the Fraunhofer model to the US market: Innovation ecosystems

T his morning a friend shared an article that triggered some thoughts:

Behind Germany’s Success Story in Manufacturing

For the past year, I have been developing an approach with our colleagues at Fraunhofer to apply market-tested principles of innovation to Purdue.

As the article notes, the Obama Administration is using the Fraunhofer model as a template for its new national network of manufacturing institutes.

We start from a different premise. Our approach, developed in close consultation with our colleagues at Fraunhofer, is far more lean, agile and scalable. Practically, it is more adaptable to the US context.

Rather than establishing freestanding institutes, our Purdue-Fraunhofer team believes we can adopt Fraunhofer’s market-facing frameworks and tools to accelerate innovation within the ecosystem surrounding our research universities.

As a first step, it requires distinguishing between a university’s startup ecosystem and its innovation ecosystem. The two are different. Overall, I suspect, we have not been spending attention attention to the innovation ecosystems surrounding our universities.

We are finding a receptive audience for these ideas:

Accelerating Innovation at Purdue Ecosystems.013

Ed Morrison is Director of the Purdue Agile Strategy Lab. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. For the past five or six years, he has been developing new, agile approaches to strategy in open, loosely joined networks, a discipline he calls Strategic Doing. Prior to starting his economic development work, Ed worked for Telesis, a corporate strategy consulting firm. In this position, he served on consulting teams for clients such as Ford Motor Company, Volvo, and General Electric. He conducted manufacturing cost studies in the U.S., Japan, Mexico, Canada, Italy, Sweden, and France. Ed started his professional career in Washington, D.C., where he has served as a legislative assistant to an Ohio Congressman, staff attorney in the Federal Trade Commission, and staff counsel in the US Senate. He holds a BA degree cum laude with honors from Yale University and MBA and JD degrees from the University of Virginia.

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