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Notes from Innovation Policyworks
I'm working on three projects in Virginia right now, so it's been a busy few months. But I've had the opportunity to interview entrepreneurs and those in the entrepreneurial support system from Loudoun County to Charlottesville and down the Shenandoah Valley. It's refreshing to see the level of initiative and enthusiasm for entrepreneurship, especially in the smaller localities. Folks see new business as a way to diversify their economies, to retain young people that come to their communities to go to college, and to contribute to revitalizing their downtowns. I've met so many dedicated and hardworking individuals who are doing what they think is right for their regions, regardless of whether or not their efforts are fully supported by local, regional or state government entities. Sometimes it takes this type of civic leadership to lead the way. Congrats to all who are doing the heavy lifting. 


Congrats to N-Squared Innovation District 
Congratulations to our client, the Newton-Needham (MA) Regional Chamber, for the completion of a successful fundraising campaign that will provide for the hiring of a full-time director and the creation of a new website, graphical identity and marketing campaign for the N-Squared Innovation District. The Chamber raised $336,000 that will sustain the effort to establish a suburban innovation hub. Chuck Tanowitz was named as the first full-time director to lead the effort. Chamber President Greg Reibman said, "Now we are poised to launch an effort marketing the region to employers and entrepreneurs and to create more programs and events for those who already work and live here." This marks an important milestone on the plan for the Innovation District that we completed last summer with our colleagues at Camoin Associates. 

Is Diversity Necessary for Creativity?
Is diversity necessary for creativity? A new study reported in the Harvard Business Review suggests that the question requires a more nuanced approach. Author Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic argues that diverse team composition does help generate a wider range of original and useful ideas, but more homogeneous teams are better at implementation. However, he does caution that diverse teams can excel at implementation if given good leadership that mitigates issues with biases, empathy and conflict. Most of us focus on demographic diversity, but Chamorro-Premuzic says that "deep-level" diversity is more important (personality, values and ability). [I'd also argue for diversity in training/disciplines - bringing a biologist's viewpoint to a physics problem, for instance.] At the end, the author says other drivers of creativity are more important than diversity, namely support for innovation, vision, task orientation and external communications. Read the whole article HERE.

Four Types of Innovation
Greg Satell's new article suggests that there are 4 different types of problems and therefore 4 ways to innovate to solve those problems. Sustaining innovation is getting better at what we already do. Roadmapping, R&D and methods like design thinking work here, according to Satell. In contrast, breakthrough innovation is to address a well-defined problem that is hard to solve. Open innovation is effective here, especially when you look at other domains for answers. Disruptive innovation is a third type, when the basis of competition changes and you have to innovate your business model, rather than your products and services. Basic research, on the other hand, is essential when going into a new domain entirely, where there are major discoveries to be made. Read more HERE
Consequences of Income Inequality
You might be interested in a new study of one consequence of income equality - how people vote. Recognizing that income inequality is a national phenomenon, the authors were able to construct a measure that goes back to 1969. As a result, they were able to identify the fourteen states with the largest increases in income inequality since then: CT, NY, NJ, CA, RI, MD, NV, HI, MA, DC, IL, VA, OR, and NH. Here's the kicker.....all of these states voted Democratic in the last election. The authors believe it's because high-income enclaves exist in these states alongside low-income minority and immigrant populations. Both vote Democratic traditionally, although for different reasons. Read the article HERE if you are interested in the implications going forward.

Which Public Universities Return
the Most to Society?
Brookings has produced a report with a premise that's shocking: universities should be measured on how well they do at producing a return on the public's investment in them by looking at whether they are knowledge-creators and/or increase social mobility. The latter idea stems from the assumption that when students gain an education and thereby improve their own situations, they also create a public benefit in the workforce, especially if it allows them to be upwardly mobile. Brookings looked at 342 selective, four-year institutions, and found that wealthy students dominate in these schools, and most do little to boost mobility for the few disadvantaged students they enroll. Prominent exceptions are the California State system and the City University of New York. Looking at the research side of the equation, the authors used the research intensity measures of the Carnegie Classification (not the outcome of the research!). Taken together, the research and social mobility scores show that just 20 percent of America's selective public universities do both. The "laggards" were:
  • James Madison University
  • Longwood University
  • Western Washington University
  • University of Northern Iowa and Appalachian State University
The five top schools were:
  • University of Texas El Paso
  • New Mexico State University
  • University of New Orleans
  • State University of New York Stony Brook
  • University of Houston System.
Read the whole report HERE.
Gender Gap in VC Financing
The gender gap in venture capital financing is well documented, and these days, it appears that some choices may also be motivated by the sexual harassment endured by female entrepreneurs at the hands of venture capitalists. New research has uncovered more subtle discrimination - how VCs ask different questions of male and female entrepreneurs. Using linguistic software, interactions between entrepreneurs and VCs were coded. The result: VCs tended to ask the men questions about the potential for gains and the women about potential for losses. According to the authors, "investors adopted what's called a promotion orientation when quizzing male entrepreneurs, which means they focused on hopes, achievements, advancement and ideals. Conversely, when questioning female entrepreneurs, they embraced a prevention orientation, which is concerned with safety, responsibility, security and vigilance." As a result, the entrepreneurs asked the promotion questions raised seven times as much as those asked the prevention questions. Read more HERE

See you in DC at the SSTI Conference
SSTI's annual meeting is going to be in Arlington, VA this fall, September 13-15, 2019. Innovation Policyworks is a sponsor, and will have an exhibit. We especially welcome first time attendees who want to learn about what other localities, regions and states are doing to support their economies through innovation and entrepreneurship. Hope to see you there. For more Information, click HERE

In This Issue - July/August 2017

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Quote of the Month 
" The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe it. "  

Connecting College and Careers
The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, one of the most thoughtful analysts of the workforce, has a new report that suggests that states could better integrate education and workforce data so that students and parents could make better decisions about what to study. They argue that public information should include:
  • Education projections, business expansions, workforce quality,
  • Program alignment with labor market demand,
  • Curriculum alignment with workforce requirements,
  • Counseling and career pathways, and
  • Job placement and skills gap analysis.
Read more HERE

Top 10 Emerging Technologies of 2017
  1. Deep learning networks that can "see"
  2. Artificial leaf that turns CO2 into liquid fuel
  3. Human cell atlas
  4. Precision farming
  5. Affordable catalysts for green vehicles
  6. Genomic vaccines
  7. Sustainable community design fights waste
  8. Quantum computing
  9. Liquid biopsies
  10. 10.Off-grid devices draw drinking water from dry air

Profiling Out of Work Americans
Of the nearly 80 million Americans ages 25-64 profiled in a recent Brookings report, nearly 26% or 20 million are not working. These people included the unemployed (4 million), who want to work and have looked for work in the past four weeks, and 16 million who are not in the workforce. Some of these folks are engaged in child-rearing or are in school, alternative activities to employment, and another significant number are already retired or on disability, totaling nearly 16.2 million not in the labor force. This means that approximately 7.7 million are out of the workforce, but could presumably work. 

Brookings further explores this population and finds a number of factors present. Around 11% are young men, under 35, with limited education. Another 38% are less-well educated persons of prime working age, often Hispanic or with difficulty in English language proficiency. Another 25% are moderately educated, but older, and often with some type of disability. You can read all the profiles HERE.

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Innovation Policyworks enables economic development officials at state, regional and local levels make better, data-driven decisions by providing expert research, analysis and recommendations. Our clients see innovation and entrepreneurship as critical elements of their economic development strategy, and are developing new programs or policies, and/or evaluating existing ones. 

Dr. Catherine S. Renault has been delivering innovation-based economic development results in rural states for more than 25 years, most recently as science advisor and Director of the Office of Innovation for the State of Maine. Cathy is currently working in Virginia for Loudoun County, and two regions encompassing the Shenandoah Valley and the Piedmont
.   For a list of selected projects, see www.innovationpolicyworks.com/projects.