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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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Stop Studying Already!

Just what the Massachusetts tech economy needs to improve its competitive standing in the world: another study!

The IT Industry Study Group put out an important press release yesterday that says that they plan to produce an important report on how important the tech industry is to Massachusetts. That report, when it is finished, will no doubt be accompanied by yet another important press release.

Now, you know that I am a big cheerleader for innovation in Massachusetts, and the entire New England region.

But I think that rather than talking to ourselves... and our elected officials...and telling one another how important we are to the regional economy... we should actually be communicating with the rest of the world. We should be focusing on building our brand... and attracting investment and business activity (like Google's Cambridge office, or the giant Novartis presence in Central Square) from elsewhere. We should also be figuring out how to create a welcoming environment for all the students who come here to get an education, funneling them into start-ups and bigger companies here, or helping them launch ventures of their own.

Correct me if you think I'm wrong, but these studies serve no useful purpose that I can tell. (Here's a 2008 study on basically the same topic: how Massachusetts can remain competitive in the IT and defense sectors.)

Here's what this new very very very important study will focus on:

    The Institute will undertake in-depth research documenting the size and scope of activities of the major IT industry sectors in Massachusetts. It will analyze the extent to which the presence of IT firms contributes to the competitiveness of other Massachusetts industries. In addition, the report will explore opportunities for the local IT industry and investigate major obstacles to growth and expansion in Massachusetts. The $150,000 project is being underwritten by the consortium of private companies, in partnership with the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative’s John Adams Innovation Institute.

Have fun, guys.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

NH Wants to Wine and Dine Ya

This press release from the New Hampshire Office of Economic Development struck me as funny, so I'll share the first couple paragraphs...

    Visiting Companies to Receive First Class Treatment
    NH Businesses Extend “Open Invitation” to MA Counterparts

    NASHUA, NH – The New Hampshire business community is making Massachusetts companies an offer they can’t refuse – a chauffeured limo ride and whirlwind tour complete with lunch, hockey tickets and an overnight hotel stay, all for the small price of exploring the business advantages offered by the Granite State.

    The New Hampshire Division of Economic Development’s Business Resource Center joined with a group of local businesses at the Radisson Hotel Nashua this morning to unveil the “Open Invitation” initiative, a new business recruitment program aimed at attracting Massachusetts firms to the state.

    As part of the initiative, a chauffeured limo provided by Capital City Limousine will drive a Massachusetts business prospect from the border to a special luncheon at a Common Man Restaurant location. After a discussion with a New Hampshire business recruiter, the prospect will be given an overview of New Hampshire’s business atmosphere before being led on a guided tour of available properties. Later, the company owner will have the opportunity to ski at Cannon Mountain or take in a Manchester Monarchs game before spending a restful evening at the Radisson Hotel Nashua.

    “The Open Invitation initiative is a tremendous partnership between the state and a group of dedicated private sector partners,” said New Hampshire Business Resource Center Director Roy Duddy. “At absolutely no cost to New Hampshire taxpayers, these businesses have presented us with a creative way to reach out to Massachusetts firms that are interested in expanding or relocating to our state. What better way to attract new companies and secure new jobs than to show New Hampshire’s at its finest?”

    ...New Hampshire Division of Economic Development Communications and Legislative Director Steve Boucher said that with the current economic downturn and need for creative business recruitment ideas, he feels that the time is right for the “Open Invitation.”

    “We have a tremendous value proposition to present to Massachusetts companies as well as businesses throughout the United States,” he said. “In addition to being named the ‘Most Livable State’ for the past five years, we have a tremendous tax advantage and a government that is completely business friendly. We’re a state that is proud to say that we welcome your business and will work hard to support you in any way possible.”

    Over the next week, the Business Resource Center will mail special “open invitation” letters to over 800 Massachusetts companies to complement radio ads being broadcast over Lowell-based WCAP. In addition, the Center has also announced the launch of “,” a Web site that details New Hampshire incentive programs, cultural amenities and a state-to-state cost comparison.....

Free skiing? The Manchester Monarchs? Man, they are *aggressive* about their economic development up there in the Granite State.

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