Posts Tagged ‘Annalee Saxenian’

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Thu Jul 16th 2009 at 9:53am UTC

Global Sources of American Innovation

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

Yesterday, we looked at overall trends in U.S. innovation measured by patents. Today, we break out U.S. patents between U.S.-resident and non-resident or foreign inventors patenting in the U.S.

Numerous studies have shown that, over the past two or three decades, the role of foreign scientists, technologists, and entrepreneurs in U.S. innovation has increased. Recent studies by AnnaLee Saxenian and Vivek Wadhwa and others find that anywhere between a third and half of all Silicon Valley start-ups during the 1990s had a foreign entrepreneur or scientist on their core founding team. As I have previously argued, foreign-born scientists currently make up 17 percent of all bachelor’s degree holders, 29 percent of master’s degree holders, 38 percent of PhDs, and nearly 25 percent of American scientists and engineers. My earlier research shows that Japanese companies – and some European companies as well – chose to locate research labs in the U.S. to access a diverse mix of scientific talent they cannot attract in their home countries.

The graph below shows the overall trend in patenting for U.S.-resident and non-resident foreign inventors between 1980 and 2005. Non-resident inventors have just about pulled even with U.S. inventors in patenting, and their rate of inventive activity more or less tracks that of U.S.-based inventors. But here again, even with two dips since 2000, the rate and level of innovation over the past decade remains up.

Clearly, foreign inventors have become a key feature of the U.S. innovation system. Without them the level of innovation would be much lower. Another way of saying this is that the American system of innovation has become increasingly dependent upon non-resident inventors. Foreign inventors patent in the U.S. to secure intellectual property protection in the large U.S. market. Clusters of sophisticated and demanding consumers and end-users help make the U.S. the place to be for high-end innovation, as Amir Bhidé points out in The Venturesome Economy.

While foreign patenting boosts the overall rate of innovation in the U.S., there is a considerable chance that these patented innovations are commercialized and produced off-shore, and thus that the U.S. economy will accrue less overall economic benefit from those technologies. While this is not direct evidence for Mandel’s innovation interrupted thesis, it provides a possible mechanism that might limit the commercialization and overall economic impact of innovation in the U.S.

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Mon Mar 2nd 2009 at 12:07pm UTC

Flight of the Creative Class

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

The exodus of foreign talent is accelerating, according to a new report by Vivek Wahawa, AnnaLee Saxenian, Richard Freeman, and Gary Gereffi. The New York Times‘ Steve Lohr provides the gist.

The real worry should not be smart foreigners coming to take jobs in America, said Mr. Wadhwa, but all the bright, ambitious immigrants who are leaving the United States and returning home, especially to India and China. That is the topic of a report, “America’s Loss is the World’s Gain,”, to be released Monday, with Mr. Wadhwa as its principal author and the Kauffman Foundation as the funder.

In the last two decades, Mr. Wadhwa estimates, 50,000 immigrants left the United States and returned to India and China. In the next five years, he projects that 100,000 more will make the return trip. “A trickle is turning into a flood,” he said.

Economics, not visa headaches, is the main engine of the shift, according to the two-year research project, which surveyed 1,203 Indian and Chinese workers who had studied or worked in the United States for a year or more before returning home. Growing demand for their skills and shining career opportunities back home were cited by 87 percent of the Chinese and 79 percent of the Indians as the major professional reason for returning. Most also cited the lure of being close to family and friends. Most of the returnees were young –- in their early 30s -– and nearly 90 percent had master’s or doctorate degrees.

Add to this the many, many more who are choosing not to come at all. The full report is here.

David Miller
by David Miller
Wed Aug 6th 2008 at 8:51am UTC

Does Your Campus Drive Away Entrepreneurs?

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

We often talk about the importance of universities to growth in the Creative Economy. Usually we measure scientists, patents, and other similar variables. But we also need to pay attention to the entrepreneurial culture of a college or university.

How welcoming and supportive is the campus of ‘campus entrepreneurs’ (whether they are undergrads or profs)? Saxenian really highlights this topic at a regional level in her work Regional Advantage, but it is just as important at the campus/university level.

An interesting post by Simona Covel at the WSJ’s Independent Street Blog looks at what Yale is trying to do to stop the exodus of startups that leave Yale’s campus and head for Silicon Valley.

In order to fight this high-tech flight, Yale created the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute a few years ago to provide more support and increase retention of high-growth firms. From Covel’s post:

So far, says YEI director James Boyle, it’s working — at least a little bit. Two of last summer’s crop of six start-ups remain in New Haven. Just as important, Mr. Boyle says, is that the program leaves students and potential students with the impression that Yale is an incubator for student-run businesses, just like Stanford or MIT.

“It has been pivotal in demonstrating to the student body that you can start high-tech companies at Yale — a space where Yale usually isn’t known,” he says.

Does your campus put out the welcome mat for entrepreneurs? Does the administration and faculty support entrepreneurs? Have local and regional policy makers gotten involved?