University of Minnesota

National Commission on Innovation and Competitiveness Frontiers

Phase 2 Working Group: The Future of Place-Based Innovation – Broadening and Deepening the Innovation Ecosystem

Working Group Assets

Working Group Objective

To remain competitive in the next economy, the United States must expand its innovation footprint. The innovation workforce is highly concentrated in major metropolitan areas, with the top five metro areas — Boston, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, and San Diego — accounting for more than 90% of the nation’s innovation-sector growth from 2005 to 2017. The costs of this hyper-concentration are playing out in real time. Coastal technology clusters are increasingly facing congested transportation, skyrocketing costs of living, and constrained housing, while lagging regions are excluded from participating in America’s innovation economy.

There is a growing urgency to capitalize on untapped talent across America. In developing the 2020 report, Competing in the Next Economy, the Commission identified key recommendations to begin addressing these issues, including restructuring economic development to focus on regional innovation, fostering local talent by increasing exposure and access to innovation tools, and connecting communities of need to funding and mentoring opportunities.

However, the key recommendation for greatly increasing the geography and demography of innovation is to have a coordinated national strategy for place-based innovation systems — one that broadens participation and drives more inclusive economic growth and prosperity.


Key Issues + Discussion Questions

In Phase 2 of the National Commission, the Future of Place-Based Innovation: Broadening and Deepening the Innovation Ecosystem working group is striving to answer questions like:

  • How can the United States establish regional and national strategies to define, coordinate, and support specialized regional innovation hubs?
  • How can the United States invest in expansion and retention of the local talent base?
  • How can the United States promote inclusive growth and innovation in regional hubs?
  • How can the United States strengthen local innovation ecosystems by enhancing digital infrastructure and local financing?

Working Group Members

Laura Appenzeller
University of Illinois Research Park

JT Augustine
University of Illinois, Chicago

Sandy Baruah
Detroit Chamber

Shawn Benner

Boise State

Sarah Bohn
Public Policy Institute of Research

Catherine Cantley
Boise State

Jim Carlisle
Bank of America

Lee Cheatham 
[Retired] Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Parag Chitnis
University of Wyoming

Kirk Dombrowski
University of Vermont

Mike Freeman
Innosphere Ventures

Dawn Jourdan
University of Maryland

Rob Kerr
University of Illinois, Springfield
Cameron Law
Sacramento State

Sara Lawrence
RTI International

Rod McSherry
University of Texas San Antonio

Julie Meier Wright
Collaborative Economics

Josh Parker
Ancora L&G

Kenneth Poole
Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness

John Revier
Idaho National Laboratory

Linda Ricchiuti
Arizona State University

Melanie Roberts
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Mary Schoonmaker
Western New England University

Justin Siegel
University of California, Davis

Amy Vecchione
Boise State

Mary Ellen Wiederwohl
Accelerator for America

To learn more about the National Commission on Innovation & Competitiveness Frontiers, please contact Council on Competitiveness Executive Vice President Chad Evans at [email protected].

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