Notes from Innovation Policyworks


A good friend recently asked me, "Why don't you take the lead and have a statewide conversation about innovation?" I had no particular answer, except, "Been there, done that." After all, in most states, the policy prescriptions for increasing the culture of innovation or building the innovation ecosystem or growing science and technology-based companies or whatever you want to call them, are well known. What's missing is the political will to put them in place.....MORE



You Can't Buy a Biotech Cluster or I'll Take That Job for $1 Million!


A decade ago, South Florida embarked upon a quest to build a life sciences cluster. Their first act was to lure Scripps Research away from San Diego. Then, a few years, ago, they tried to lure Jackson Labs away from Maine. In between, the state of Florida and Palm Beach County have spent a combined $856 million to land Scripps and Germany's Max Plank Society. When these deals were being crafted, projections of over 44,000 jobs were bandied about. The actual numbers - 944 so far, 509 of them at Scripps, and two dozen biotech start-ups in the region. If you are doing the math, that's a little less than $ 1 million per job. MORE

Now We Need an Industrial Ecosystem...


A new report on production in the innovation economy from MIT recently painted a challenging picture of the ecosystem when it comes to creating and sustaining production capabilities in the US. This report echoes the recent concern expressed by McKinsey about the separation of innovation and manufacturing capabilities, but goes further to bemoan the loss of local supply chains, local banking expertise, and local contractors. They suggest that renewing the production capacity in the US must be done by "rebuilding the industrial ecosystem with new capabilities that many firms of all kinds would draw on when they try to build their new ideas into products on the market." MORE 

Manufacturing Workers Are Knowledge Workers


There was near universal agreement among manufacturing managers in a recent Manpower survey that companies need to build their own workforce, especially if they want to take advantage of the trend toward insourcing. Most agreed that their workers were now "knowledge workers," using their skills to solve problems, improve processes and work with customers. Another big change is that manufacturing skills are increasingly computer skills, and are generally more sophisticated and complex. And while most felt that educational institutions needed to address these skills, the respondents also felt that connecting demand and supply for manufacturing talent requires a partnership of industry, education and governments. MORE 

Is Homegrown Talent Better?


A recent study suggests that foreign works brought in under the H1B program are not as good as the American workers they replace, and are paid lower wages, causing a "brain drain." The report concludes, "H-1B and related programs are not raising US Levels of talent and innovation in the tech fields, and are in some ways reducing them." The author, Dr. Norman Matloff, a Professor at the University of California, Davis, argues that immigration policy that causes the loss of America's "best and brightest" from science, technology, engineering and math programs should be reversed. MORE

We Paid for It; Now We've Got It!


The White House issued a directive that intends to make research and digital scientific data funded by the federal government more accessible to the public. The directive compels agencies with more than $100 million in R&D expenditures to put together plans for making the results of federally funded R&D available to the public for free within 12 months after its initial publication.


This is designed to combat the current practice of most academic research being published through journals that are only available through university libraries that are able to pay the high fees. The general public generally does not have access to the published research except for brief abstracts.


Academic publishers who are hopeful that a reasonable policy will ultimately be crafted greeted this directive with measured enthusiasm, while open government activists cheered. MORE

In This Issue
You Can't Buy a Biotech Cluster
Now We Need and Industrial Ecosystemn
Manufacturing Works are Knowledge Workers
Is Homegrown Talent Better?
We Paid for It; Now We've Got It!
Can Faculty be Entrepreneurial?

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To Maine Angels, who last year invested a record $1.5 million in eight Maine companies, and a total of $3.3 million in 20 companies overall.


To Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory (MDIBL) for its first spin-off, Novo Biosciences, which will focus on the therapeutic potential of drugs that help biological tissue heal and stimulate regeneration of damaged or missing body parts.


To Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC), who was named to Fast Company's List of Ten Most Innovative Energy Companies. 

Quote of the Month 


"Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself."


Eleanor Roosevelt

Can Faculty Be Entrepreneurial?


The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced expansion of its Innovation Corp that teaches NSF-funded researchers how to build start-ups around their technologies. Originally funded at Stanford, Michigan and Georgia Tech, the program is now being rolled out in the San Francisco area, New York City and Washington, DC . The Innovation Corp program is relying heavily on the Lean LaunchPad process developed by Steven Blank at Stanford. MORE

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96 Maine Street, Suite 183 Brunswick, ME 04011 207.522.9028

Innovation Policyworks, LLC, is an innovation strategy and evaluation firm focused on the development and measurement of effective state and regional technology-based policies and programs. Dr. Catherine S. Renault has been delivering innovation-based economic development results in rural states for over 22 years. She has been a technology-based economic development practitioner in two states and consulted with many more, most recently as science advisor and Director of the Office of Innovation for the State of Maine.  

Cathy has recently been working with E2Tech, a Maine trade association, and the University of Maine to describe and explore the Clean Technology sector in the state. For a list of projects, see www.innovationpolicyworks.com/projects.