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Innovating in a world of complex networks

Betting against the U.S. economy has never been a smart idea. Time and again, our economy has shown remarkable resilience to overcome major disruptions, collapses and failures. From the several panics of the 19th century through the Depression of the 20th, the national economy has regained its footing and moved to a new level of […]

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What’s next: Horizontal innovation

The next big transformation in economic development is coming. It’s about time. Remarkably, most economic development organizations are still playing a game invented in Mississippi in the 1930s. It goes something like this. (Apologies in advance to those offended by some small amount of sarcasm.) Make a quick assessment of your economy to figure out your […]

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Learning more about the “How” of clusters

Ever since Michael Porter began promoting the concept of clusters in the mid-1990s, a lot has been written about the What and Why: What are clusters and Why are they important. Not so much useful has been written about the How. The reason is obvious. Designing and guiding new clusters involves complex systems of open, […]

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Rebuilding our industrial commons

For over 30 years, U.S. manufacturing has been in relative decline in the face of relentless competitive pressure.  Rebuilding our relative competitive position in manufacturing will not come easily. Years of manufacturing decline have eroded the “industrial commons” on which globally competitive manufacturing depends. The networks within the industrial commons resemble an “ecosystem” that speeds […]

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Moving our innovation thinking from barriers to ecosystems

Introduction Commercialization of federally funded research at universities faces a bewildering array of obstacles. The reason: innovation — the translation of knowledge into value (or money) — emerges from continuous knowledge flows. Unfortunately, these knowledge flows can be easily blocked in multiple ways. Taken together, these knowledge flows form an “ecosystem”, networks embedded in other […]

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Innovation districts: Simple guidelines

For those of us who have been around a while, the new push to regenerate cities with innovation districts appears like yet another fad. But is it? Clearly, Brookings, the major proponent of the shift doesn’t think so. Veterans in economic development have a right to be skeptical. After all, we’ve seen metropolitan business plans. Before […]

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Testing our approach to Innovation Acceleration in New Jersey

In April, the New Jersey Institute of Technology launched the New Jersey Innovation Institute. In July, the Department of Defense announced a $5.6 million dollar award to support the Institute’s first initiative, MarketShift, a statewide cluster development effort in defense and aerospace. Strategic Doing provides a key framework for the new NJII. NJIT’s MarketShift initiative includes […]

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Adapting the Fraunhofer model to the US market: Innovation ecosystems

This 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 […]

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Visualizing regional innovation ecosystems: A high level perspective

Depending on your purpose, there are multiple alternatives for visualizing regional innovation ecosystems. These visualizations are best seen within the context of a strategic purpose. In other words, “What strategic outcome are you trying to achieve and how would a drawing help you?” This afternoon, I have been adapting a high level visualization initially presented […]

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Here are my take-aways from the Global Innovation Summit 2014

Here are some of my takeaways from the Global Innovation Summit that I attended in San Jose last week, a fantastic event. Before you go any further, though: Pull out your January 2015 calendar and mark down on January 1: Attend Global Innovation Summit 2015. I’m taking these observations from my notes, so apologies if […]

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To move quickly, go slowly (at first)

I (re)learned a valuable lesson this week. We design and guide new networks to move quickly, to be come more […]

Rebuilding our civic economy

Our future prosperity depends on developing new, collective habits of complex thinking together. At the Purdue Agile Strategy Lab, we […]

Is Collective Impact transformative?

Ever since its debut in 2011, the concept of “Collective Impact” has offered the hope that citizens, acting together, can […]

Step 1: Creating new narratives

In the world of networks, narratives provide guidance. They convey knowledge. They generate learning. They create coherence. They reflect and […]

Agile Strategy is Like Ocean Kayaking

Today, organizations of all types are facing an uncertain future. While we hope for calm times in which we can […]

Connecting Collective Impact and Shared Value

Are the concepts of “collective impact” and “shared value” connected? If so, how? Consider first the case of collective impact. […]