Archive for the ‘Technology & Innovation’ Category

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Mon Feb 28th 2011 at 5:54pm UTC

Chart of the Day: The Geography of Successful Start Companies

Monday, February 28th, 2011

The chart, from the blog Empirical Reality, shows SP Tech 1500 companies by location & founding date  (via vwadhwa, @ngoggans).  We’ve all known the Silicon Valley is important, but its dominance over time is striking.

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Thu Oct 28th 2010 at 12:30pm UTC

The Spiky Social Network

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Social media is redefining the landscape of everything we do, from the way we connect to family and friends, how brands and celebrities capture attention, to the way business and journalism function. Hundreds of millions of people across the world use social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. If any technology promised to shatter the constraint of geography, overcome distance, and flatten the world, social media would be it.

But a quick look at the map below, from the NetProspex 2010 Social Business Report, shows this is not the case at all, certainly not for the United States.


Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Wed Sep 29th 2010 at 9:00am UTC

Occupational Organization

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

That’s the title of an important new study by my Martin Prosperity Institute colleague Kevin Stolarick. Economists have long used the firm as their basic unit of analysis. But Marx long ago said it was the kind of work people do that not only defined their class position but is what really propelled the economy. The study makes the case for the emerging field of “occupational organization” as a complement and counterpoint to the more established field of industrial organization. Here’s the abstract.

Industrial Organization studies the behavior of firms, markets and economies through the lens of industry.  With the transition to a knowledge or creative economy, occupation has become an equally important consideration for understanding regional economies and markets. Industry alone is no longer a sufficient discriminator to understand regional markets and structures.  This paper discusses the rising importance of occupation as a unit of analysis for understanding regional economies and economic structures. However, occupation does not supplant industry as occupation alone is also not sufficient.  Rather, an understanding of the organization of occupations and industries across regions and occupations within industries is required. The study of Occupational Organization is needed.

The full study is here.

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Fri Jul 30th 2010 at 4:30pm UTC

Internet Connectivity and Economic Development

Friday, July 30th, 2010

Across the world, two in 10 households have access to the Internet at home, according to a just released Gallup survey. Internet access at home was far greater in more economically advanced countries: Nearly eight in 10 people (78 percent) in countries where gross domestic product (GDP) is more than $25,000 have Internet access at home. Home Internet access drops off steeply in less affluent, less developed nations, according to the Gallup survey, especially in countries with less than $10,000 in per capita GDP. The survey is based on telephone and face-to-face interviews with approximately 1,000 adults, aged 15 and older in 116 countries, and was conducted in 2009.

The map above, by Zara Matheson of the Martin Prosperity Institute, shows the percentage of households with Internet connectivity, highlighting the top 10.


Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Wed Jun 30th 2010 at 9:42pm UTC

Geographies of Scope

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Economists and geographers have looked at the role of scale economies in shaping industries and also in the the clustering or agglomeration of economic activity. Princeton University economist William Baumol identified the role of economies of scope – for example, when large companies leverage shared research and development or marketing capabilities across their product lines or even used the same assembly lines to make different products. The theory of scope economies has been influential in economics and business studies but has not really been applied or discussed in economic geography or regional terms.

A new study with my Martin Prosperity Institute colleagues Charlotta Mellander and Kevin Stolarick explores the role economies of scope in shaping geographic outcomes, advancing a concept we call geographies of scope. Here’s the abstract: (more…)

Steven Pedigo
by Steven Pedigo
Thu Jun 24th 2010 at 10:48am UTC

A Regional Exchange:

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

At the heart of effective economic development is regional cooperation. In 2004, the Department of Labor launched WIRED Initiatives across the U.S. to improve regional efforts for talent development and effective economic development strategies. For over a year, leaders from the Wired65 region, an area spanning 26 counties and two states, have been been working to improve the area’s economic competitiveness and quality of life.

For this feature in our Creative Capstones series, we interviewed Debbie Wesslund, program manager for the Wired65 region, about the area’s efforts to launch – The Kentucky Indiana Exchange, an interactive community platform to facilitate networks for employment opportunities and discussions about regional challenges.

Creative Class Group (CCG): Tell us about Wired65. What communities make up the region?

Debbie Wesslund: Wired65 is an initiative that brings together civic leaders in a 26-county, bi-state area around the need to support its human capital – or “talent.” This region is anchored by the Louisville, KY MSA and the Elizabethtown, KY MSA. The Ohio River divides the states of Indiana and Kentucky, but the economy reaches across county and state lines, forming a region with a strong sense of place and sharing talent. (more…)

Steven Pedigo
by Steven Pedigo
Thu Jun 17th 2010 at 10:01am UTC

Building the Next (and Greener) Silicon Valley

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Silicon Valley has always been a safe haven for risk-takers, entrepreneurs, and big thinkers. But, it is also home to one of the most innovative public-private partnerships in the country: Joint Venture Silicon Valley.

As the fourth feature in our series, Creative Capstones, we interviewed Russell Hancock, president of Joint Venture Silicon Valley, to learn more about Silicon Valley, Joint Venture, and the organization’s current initiatives to “build the next (and greener) Silicon Valley.”

Creative Class Group (CCG): Tell us about Silicon Valley. What makes it a special place to live?

Russell Hancock: We’re  a sun-kissed land with countless amenities, but I love Silicon Valley because it is an amazing collection of people. They’re talented, they’re creative, they’re from all over the world, and they are doing innovative things. The culture here is all about risk-taking and there’s a high tolerance for failure, and this has made it possible for innovation to blossom here more than most any other place you might name. You can feel it when you’re here – the buzz and the energy – and it brings out the best in people. In Silicon Valley everything seems possible – inventing a better mousetrap, inventing a new energy future, making a niftier gadget, planning communities that have fabulous urban designs… there’s a sense that if you can’t do it here, you can’t do it anywhere. (more…)

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Tue Jun 1st 2010 at 1:30pm UTC

Global Innovation Paradox

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

It’s commonly thought that even though globalization was shifting manufacturing jobs from America to lower-cost, more efficient, off-shore competitors, the U.S. retained a vast lead in high-end innovation. But are the powerful forces of globalization now leading to the off-shoring of America’s innovation and R&D? New statistics from the National Science Foundation (via Mike Mandel) certainly point in that direction.

Way back in 1990, I wrote a book titled The Breakthrough Illusion with Martin Kenney that argued that the U.S. had developed a powerful capacity for venture capital-backed innovation, but that the actual manufacturing  and production of those innovative new products – and the jobs that flow from that – was increasingly being shifted off-shore.

A couple of years later, I was invited to be part of a Council of Competitiveness group that was looking into the future of American research and innovation. After completing a round of interviews with the R&D directors of leading U.S. and foreign companies and looking into the data, I reported my provisional conclusions saying I was convinced that R&D was becoming much more globalized and that U.S. R&D in particular was being “externalized”  – more and more of it taking place outside the wall of big companies with their own R&D labs. My results were met with stunned silence and disbelief. “The U.S. was still the unquestioned leader in R&D, and had little to fear” was the prevailing attitude.


Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Wed Feb 24th 2010 at 11:05am UTC

How High-Speed Rail Can Help Expand the Economy

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010


It’s been hard to justify high-speed rail (HSR) projects in terms of conventional cost-benefit analysis. But, it may be time to rethink – and broaden  - the way we think of the benefits of HSR. HSR’s benefits are usually thought of in terms of lowering transport costs by reducing problems like gridlock, pollution, and travel time. But the real benefit of HSR may turn on its ability to expand economic growth, according to a new analysis by my colleagues at the Martin Prosperity Institute.

There are three main mechanisms through which high-speed rail can help expand the economy, according to the MPI study. First, HSR expands the labor pool available to firms, bringing talented workers from nearby centers within commuting distance and thus expanding the quantity and quality of available employees. Second, HSR makes more jobs available to workers without making them have to relocate and move to a new home. Third, HSR extends the benefits of other expensive, productivity-enhancing infrastructure such as airports across broad regions. International airports, major research universities, and reference libraries are all more financially viable and internationally competitive when they serve a larger population. High-speed rail allows them to build the scale they need to achieve world-class excellence and also spreads their high costs across a wider population.

The MPI report is here.

Wendy Waters
by Wendy Waters
Wed Jan 6th 2010 at 9:11am UTC

Are Women Taking Over the Workplace?

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010


From The Economist, December 30, 2009:

The rich world’s quiet revolution: women are gradually taking over the workplace

At a time when the world is short of causes for celebration, here is a candidate: within the next few months women will cross the 50 percent threshold and become the majority of the American workforce. Women already make up the majority of university graduates in the OECD countries and the majority of professional workers in several rich countries, including the United States. Women run many of the world’s great companies, from PepsiCo in America to Areva in France.

Women’s economic empowerment is arguably the biggest social change of our times.

From another article in the same issue:

The rich world has seen a growing demand for women’s labor. When brute strength mattered more than brains, men had an inherent advantage. Now that brainpower has triumphed the two sexes are more evenly matched. The feminization of the workforce has been driven by the relentless rise of the service sector (where women can compete as well as men) and the equally relentless decline of manufacturing (where they could not). The landmark book in the rise of feminism was arguably not Ms Friedan’s “The Feminine Mystique” but Daniel Bell’s “The Coming of Post-Industrial Society”.

Or perhaps Rise of the Creative Class is a landmark book for demonstrating why women have increasingly found a fit in the wage-earning world.

Your thoughts?

(Thanks to colleague MW for drawing my attention to the article.)