The popular recipe for creating the “next” Silicon Valley goes something like this:
*Build a big, beautiful, fully equipped technology park;
*Mix in R&D labs and university centers;
*Provide incentives to attract scientists, firms, and users;
*Interconnect the industry through consortia and specialized suppliers;
*Protect intellectual property and tech transfer; and
*Establish a favorable business environment and regulations.
Except … this approach to innovation clusters hasn’t really worked. Some have even dismissed these government-driven efforts as “modern-day snake oil.” Yet policymakers are always searching for the next Silicon Valley because of the critical link between tech innovation, economic growth, and social opportunity.
Previous efforts at such clusters failed for a variety of reasons, but one big reason is that government efforts alone simply don’t draw people. That’s why a recent crop of experiments has focused more on building entrepreneurial communities, urban hubs and districts…
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