Wednesday, July 1, 2009

July 1st: You May Now Stop Innovating

First, thanks to everyone who helped out with New England Innovation Month in June...

We started the grassroots project as a way to reboot the conversation, moving it away from the lousy economy and toward the things we can control: new ideas and new ventures and new connections. There were about 25 events on the official calendar, and those I went to were really well-attended and had great energy.

What was especially cool was to have two Left Coast publications take note of what we were doing out here in the colonies: VentureBeat and the San Jose Mercury News, which ran a piece headlined 'Boston tech scene on the rebound.'

I am *sure* this is only the beginning of some great new thinking about how to turbo-charge innovation around our region...

...And there are already some great signs that good things will continue in July:

- The Secretary of Housing & Economic Development in Massachusetts, Greg Bialecki, has just launched his blog with a great "Declaration of Innovation."

- TechStars Boston is going strong, and will present a whole crop of new companies to investors in early September.

- There's been some really constructive talk around how we can connect students to cool companies in our region.

- There are some great events happening in July and August, including WebInno, PodCamp Boston, Mass Innovation Night (hoping to finally get to that next week), CloudCamp, and a Forrester Tweetup (expecting to see Tweeter-in-Chief George Colony there, who purports to be a CEO who understands social technologies)...

Again, big thanks to all of you who supported this idea and came out to the events.

(And yes, I'm joking with the headline of this post. Please continue your innovating -- though feel free to take a short vacation in July or August.)

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Dear Deval and Greg: You Are Missing the Point on Branding

Good to see Rob Weisman's piece in today's Globe about rebranding the tech sector in Massachusetts.

As readers of this blog know, this is a campaign that I have been trying to nudge forward for a few months. (A blog-based brainstorming session happened here in December 2008, and I wrote a column in the Globe on the topic later that month.)

But our fearless elected leaders, especially Greg Bialecki and Deval Patrick, are missing two very important points:

- Trying to brand the tech sector, and also trying to brand the life sciences sector, and oh yeah, we also have financial services, and education, and cleantech, is a pointless exercise. We're about innovation across all sectors... we are about coming up with new ideas that change the world, no matter what industry they're applied to, or whether they involve software, hardware, genomic data, engineered molecules, or medical devices.

- This ought not to be a Massachusetts solo project. We are part of a regional cluster that is called New England, and innovative stuff is happening from Burlington to Portland, from Providence to Northampton... (and even in Hartford!) If you believe that we're competing in a global economy, let's leverage everything we've got in the region.

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Patrick and Bialecki Wake Up to the Need to Rebrand Mass.

I'm glad that Gov. Patrick and Greg Bialecki, the new secretary for housing and economic development, have been talking about the need to rebrand Massachusetts as part of their west coast swing this week.

This is a great step forward.... but I'd like to see a pan-New England branding effort get started, rather than pitching each state as an island unto itself.

Or am I being blind to the way state politics always work?

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