Industry experts explain how a city like Boston may improve itself when it comes to engendering innovation
PSFK’s Editorial Roundtable series takes its inspiration from the traditional roundtable: bringing together industry insiders to share their insights on emerging and compelling trends in an idea-friendly manner. PSFK guides the discussion and our roundtable helps guide the future.
Boston has long been a city of firsts: home of the first U.S. public park, public school and subway system. Rather appropriately then, if perhaps shockingly to most, it has been deemed by the US Chamber of Commerce as the city best positioned to lead the digital economy. This is made more impressive when one considers that Boston barely breaches a population of 600,000 and that it lies so far outside of Silicon Valley’s GPS coordinates. Given its singular makeup, what lessons can entrepreneurs, startups and governments (whether regionally, nationally, or globally) pull from Boston as they build out their own innovation hubs?
To touch upon some of the research found within PSFK Labs‘ new report, Innovation Debrief: Boston, and to touch upon the question above, in this month’s three-part Editorial Roundtable, PSFK spoke with industry experts who got their beginnings in The Hub to discuss what makes Boston such a hotbed for innovation.
The experts include:
Thomas Ketchell | Co-Founder & CEO of HSTRY – a digital learning tool that enables teachers and students to explore and create interactive timelines.
Rob Biederman | Co-Founder & CEO of Catalant – a network of 28,000-plus professionals enterprises can tap for on-demand talent.
Kendall Tucker | CEO & Founder of Polis – a door-to-door outreach company for campaigns and corporations.
(Below is the fist part of a three-part editorial).
For all of the good Boston does in engendering innovation, where does it stand to improve? How may it go about in improving those areas? As an aside, what process of self-improvement may be necessary for leading tech and innovation hubs so they may maintain their standing?
Rob Biederman | Co-Founder & CEO of Catalant
“It’s no secret that the talent market is tough today; Boston, just like any other city, is competing to keep the best and brightest talent. Boston does struggle with its image, that’s no secret. Compared to Silicon Valley, it has the reputation of being a more corporate environment and we’ll have to break that mold to retain the talent that wants a more casual, interactive setting. That applies both in and outside of the office and could mean providing employees more flexibility or autonomy and, as a city, focusing on more affordable housing, better public transit, or creating a more appealing after-work scene. It’ll be important in the years ahead for Boston to continue to invest in creating a culture that people want to be a part of and in marketing Boston’s flourishing startup scene to the world so that we can break the traditional image. The latter is something that both government and private entities should focus on.”
Thomas Ketchell | Co-Founder & CEO of HSTRY
“Boston needs to provide more funding opportunities for entrepreneurs and creative startups. There is still a wide gap with San Francisco’s funding landscape and this is particularly difficult for startups to continue innovating. If there was more access to private and public capital, many tech startups would continue to make Boston their home instead of moving to the West Coast.”
The Innovation Debrief: Boston offers a cheatsheet of inventive business concepts and new creations born in Boston. Sitting at the confluence of industry and academia, the city has become a hotbed of innovation across industries. The debrief covers innovation in the retail, health and wellness, education, civic, and the startup sectors and outlines lessons the city offers to inspire innovation elsewhere.
Download the report today to discover the best Boston has to offer.
Note: If you would like to participate in a coming PSFK Editorial Roundtable, please contact us here.