Enterprises are Critical for the Success of Innovation Hubs

A while ago, I posted an article on the role of large organizations in innovation and argued that large organizations had particular advantages to develop innovative solutions, only if they knew how to utilize those advantages.

Recently, the Global Innovation Index 2013 was published. This year’s edition focused on the local dynamics of innovation. In the report, Chapter 4 titled The Role of Enterprise Champions in Strengthening Innovation Hubs attracted my attention. The authors of the chapter argue that innovation hubs take 15-30 years of sustained public-private collaboration to become effective. The authors conclude the chapter with the following statement: “With [enterprise] champions, the odds of creating a successful innovation hub rise significantly; without them, the odds of failure are almost certain.”

I thought this chapter provided an elegant complement to my earlier argument. Large organizations (enterprises) have a lot going for them when it comes to creating innovative solutions. Unfortunately, they also have to weather strong internal headwinds to be successful in implementing innovation. Innovation hubs intend to fill this gap but I am yet to see a successful example. The problem is the “white space” between innovation hubs and enterprises. Ideally, there should be a small overlap between the needs and capabilities of hubs and enterprises. In reality, there is a gap, which I call the “white space”, between the needs and capabilities. And, this gap is creating a huge barrier for effective collaboration.

Under government funding and support, innovation hubs are trying to fill the gap but there is a role for enterprises to actively pursue the same. One-sided push is not effective. It is time for enterprises to start investing into bridging the gap, creating skill centres and capabilities to interface with innovation hubs.

I welcome your comments on my blog. Please share and like this posting if you find it helpful. If you have any questions, comments or thoughts, I would love to hear from you.

2 thoughts on “Enterprises are Critical for the Success of Innovation Hubs

  1. An interesting piece. Is your “white space” equivalent to the “valley of death” referred to in some circles – such as in the UK and the report written by Herman Hauser? The issue you point out have similarities and its seems the UK is slowly turning to improve the commercialization of science to enterprise.

    I was also surprised by the length of time the report claims for success of 15-30 years which feels like an extreme up-side when considered to be 4-8 terms – for government that is an eternity, and someone is likely to change the model several times in that period.

    1. Thank you. I was not aware of the “valley of death” reference. Now that I have skimmed through the report by House of Commons (, I can say yes, what I referred to as “white space” is the same thing. I was impressed by the report as it hits the nail on the head with respect to the issue.

      I agree with you that 15-30 years sounds excessive and my reaction was similar to yours. But, when you consider the amount of time governments and large organizations take to respond to changing situations, establishing effective and functioning innovation hubs will take significant time to establish. I do not have any data to back or dispute the argument in the Global Innovation Index report, but, after some thought, it did not sound outrageous.

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