Industry experts explore the feasibility of using the 'Boston model' as a way to build out other innovation hubs across the globe. Can it be done?
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).
How may Boston serve as a blueprint for other urban centers—whether located in the U.S. or beyond? Can the ‘Boston model’ be applied to other nascent cities or must they patch together their own complementary support ecosystems in order to better foster a culture of innovation?
Kendall Tucker | CEO & Founder of Polis
“Boston can serve as a blueprint for other cities because of the thoughtfulness that encompasses its startup ecosystem. The multitude of programs (whether funding or mentorship related) are critical for getting first-time founders engaged and we are watching as other cities follow suit. For example my alma mater (Columbia) has now put together a stellar entrepreneurship program modeled on MIT’s and we are watching as the New York startup infrastructure mirrors Boston as it rapidly expands.”
Rob Biederman | Co-Founder & CEO of Catalant
“So much of what makes Boston great was set in stone years ago—the high concentration of great schools, large tech companies, and startup accelerators. The ecosystem itself would be hard to replicate. But following a blueprint of the city’s policies and benefits for startups and the innovation community would be a great start for any city.
Those efforts on behalf of the local government have made Boston an attractive city for startups, and I believe that others can follow that model and see the same results.”
Thomas Ketchell | Co-Founder & CEO of HSTRY
“Boston is particularly well-positioned as historically it is the center for education. With top universities in the area such as Harvard and MIT, it really stands out as a great hub to grow as an urban center. I’m afraid that to replicate the level of talent in Boston to other cities will be difficult. There is no reason why the Boston model of innovation and creativity cannot be fostered and used in other hubs though.”
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.