Our allies at SPUR recently released a report, Growing green: How San Francisco can become a leader in the cleantech boom, which while focused on San Francisco (as you might have gleaned from the title) makes some points worth considering by anyone looking to drive economic development strategies in their cities in a bright green direction:
Every region has an “innovation pipeline.” This pipeline is the aggregate of public and private research, study and discovery; the development of discoveries and innovations into new technologies and products; and the deployment of these products into the marketplace.
The discovery portion of San Francisco’s innovation pipeline consists of research universities, institutes and laboratories. These institutions are centers of research, and generate scientific publications and intellectual property. They also train students and workers. The development system is made up of companies that harvest discoveries from their own research as well as research by outside sources, from which they develop technology and products in their own laboratories. The development portion also includes startups — companies that are newly founded upon the potential of one or more discoveries. The deployment system consists of companies and their marketing, sales and distribution partners.
Innovation is the key requirement for the growth of many cleantech firms. Over one third of firms surveyed for this study indicated that proximity to innovation centers was extremely important to their location decisions. Over 40 percent stated that it was somewhat important.
For more, listen to the second half of this great Smart City Radio podcast, where SPUR leader and Worldchanging friend Gabriel Metcalf talks about the limits of economic development planning, smart growth and climate, and the role of civic groups in the present debate.
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