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