June 25, 2015

Innovation Needs a Neighborhood

A Re-Cap of Aaron Olver's IEDC Presentation

The International Economic Development Council recently brought its annual Economic Future Forum to Madison, in part to highlight the region’s culture of innovation. Aaron Olver, Managing Director of the University Research Park (URP), delivered a keynote presentation entitled “Innovation Needs a Neighborhood,” which focused on the idea that successful innovation requires density and compression in order to generate communication and collisions of people and ideas that spark new ideas.

URP has developed a concentration of technology firms over its 30 year history that approaches the density of Boston’s Kendall Square, referred to by many as the “world’s most innovative square mile.” By Aaron’s calculations, URP’s 126 tech firms per square mile is second only to Kendall Square’s 160 per square mile and is substantially ahead of Stanford Research Park, Harvard Square, South San Francisco, Austin, Berkeley and the Research Park Triangle. He also notes that the patents issued per acre are 427 times higher in the URP compared to the county as a whole. The URP promotes business interactions and synergies by supporting ongoing programming including: High Tech Happy Hour, Madhacks, Biotech Happy Hour, Start-Up Weekend Madison, Carts in the Park, BioForward Leadership Breakfast Series, Madworks Coworking, and Merlin Mentors, among others. If you want to learn more, Aaron’s entire presentation can be found here.