Tapping the source of 80% of all economic growth

Economist Robert Solow won the Nobel Prize in 1987 for proving that 80% of all economic growth comes from developing and using new technology. That’s a stunning number. It means that if the employers, institutions and government of your city or county are not creating new opportunities or putting new technology to work, you are missing out on 80% of the potential growth in today’s economy. That’s why every place needs an innovation strategy.

Creating an innovation ecosystem for growth

The growth strategy of Intelligent Communities focuses on private-sector innovation through relationships among business, government and such institutions as universities, colleges and hospitals. Working together, they create a “triple helix” innovation ecosystem that gives the community greater control of its economic destiny.

An innovation strategy may be the furthest thing from your long list of civic priorities. But it breaks down into manageable activities that build a community’s capacity to play the innovation game.

  • Convene the stakeholders who can make innovation happen: current business leaders, secondary and higher education, nonprofits, healthcare providers, arts and culture.
  • Create structures that encourage and channel technology development and use – makerspaces, incubators and accelerators – in partnership with your stakeholders as well as local activists.
  • Work on funding, because innovation takes seed funding and the creation of “deal flow” for potential investors.

Take an online course on promoting business innovation. Learn more →

Read our report, Building the Innovation Ecosystem. Learn more →

Contact ICF. Need answers to specific questions or input to a project? Submit a question →

Driving smart city innovation

Intelligent Communities can also struggle with the problems of growth, such as congestion, pollution, failing infrastructure and stagnating services. In response, they focus innovation on “smart city” investments that give infrastructure new life, reduce the burdens of urban living, and improve services to citizens and business. Smart technologies can reduce waste, deliver more responsive services and allow staff to handle greater demands with the same number of people. Government innovation also changes the culture of the community. It signals to innovative people and organizations that they have a natural home there and can contribute to growth of new sectors in your economy.

Take an online course on smart city innovation. Learn more →

Read our report, Innovation and the Public Sector. Learn more →

Contact ICF. Need answers to specific questions or input to a project? Submit a question →