Innovation in the Midwest: Entrepreneurship outside of Silicon Valley

Innovation in the Midwest: Entrepreneurship outside of Silicon Valley

Kara Swisher, the doyenne of technology, recently interviewed entrepreneurs in Indiana about what makes the Midwest so special (brainpower), why the rest of the country should pay attention (special knowledge of certain industries needed to solve some of the biggest problems of our time), and what Midwesterners can do better to grow prosperous economies (position for innovation).

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/recode-decode/id1011668648?i=1000457516162

Expansion of the Fittest

Expansion of the Fittest

Waymaker has been hard at work expanding and tweaking services to meet your new, post-COVID-19 realities. As leaders in government, industry, and higher education shift their attention from long-range planning to immediate survival, we have been busy gathering expertise and resources to support you during the transition.

We are most proud to welcome three new members to our consulting team.

Phil Hockberger, Ph.D., joins us to offer leadership and expertise in higher education, research infrastructure, and innovation district planning and development. Phil is an experienced scientist, teacher, speaker, and administrator and has held numerous leadership roles at Northwestern University.

Phil brings empathy and recognized leadership to the myriad training, research, and business issues academic leaders face in today’s post-COVID world. He was recently appointed to Mayor Lightfoot’s Healthcare and Life Sciences Working Group charged with contributing to the 10-year economic development plan for the City of Chicago and recently founded the Chicago Biomedical Innovation Alliance to foster communication and coordination among stakeholders interested in building innovation districts in Chicago.

Dennis Lower also comes with an illustrious career as he transitions out of his role as CEO of Cortex Innovation Community. For 25 years, Dennis has been involved in developing urban innovation districts that position regions to be competitive in the global technology economy. His areas of expertise include mixed-use master planning, real estate structuring and development, incubator/accelerator planning, co-working and shared office space planning, public/private partnerships, public incentives, equity and inclusion, and district sustainability planning.

Dennis has received a number of local, state, and global awards and was recently named as a steering committee member of the Global Institute on Innovation Districts headquartered in Basil, Switzerland.

Dougan Sherwood joins us as an expert in innovation district planning and development, site selection, and entrepreneurial ecosystems. Dougan spent more than 10 years as a member of the senior leadership team at Cambridge Innovation Center, where he oversaw CIC’s expansion in St. Louis, Miami, and Rotterdam. Dougan also led the team responsible for the launch of sites in Philadelphia and Providence. Dougan has deep experience forging partnerships with state legislators, mayors, chancellors, entrepreneurs, corporate heads, and chambers of commerce leadership, among others, and brings critical expertise in the buildout of entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Middle America Darlings

Middle America Darlings

In addition to serving our clients in crisis, Waymaker Group has been working hard behind the scenes to expand and fine-tune services we know our communities will need when the COVID-19 chaos settles. Teammate Brian Kelsey’s piece on the abundance of talent in unrecognized markets is exactly where we think economic development will firmly land when this storm passes. Markets in the middle U.S. will become the new darlings, especially post-pandemic.

For example, corporate leaders are telling us they’re canceling real estate hunts for large downtown properties (in recognized tech hubs) and expect that a minimum of 30% of their workforce will be working from home. Office expansions are already moving away from a prime, single-headquarters building to smaller offices across the country. In short, companies are realizing that talent can work from anywhere.

Six of the top ten markets with the highest concentrations of software developers (with wages roughly 20% less than Silicon Valley) are in cities you wouldn’t normally think of. We’re looking at you, Kansas City, Detroit, Columbus, Minneapolis, Charlotte, and Salt Lake City. We’ve known for some time that Rise of the Rest is for real but it does seem here lately, that our time is truly on the horizon.

15 Markets Tech Recruiters Should Be Watching

 

The Imbalance of Innovation Growth

The Imbalance of Innovation Growth

The December white paper issued by Information Technology and Innovation Foundation & The Brookings Institution has, thankfully, been getting a lot of national attention and represents the next chapter in our country’s economic history. The bad news? 90% of innovation employment growth in the last 15 years was generated in just five major coastal cities: Seattle, Boston, San Francisco, San Diego, and San Jose. This concentration is not only risky for the country, it completely discounts the invention and technical talent in the middle part of the country. Progressive companies (Google, Microsoft, etc.) are catching on and expanding offices in urban markets in the middle U.S. as industry and government slowly come to realize that they’ll be left behind without an aggressive innovation economic development strategy. Those that move quickly and rally the leadership and resources required to be competitive in the tech talent arena will be rewarded exponentially. Just ask St. Louis, Nashville, Austin, Madison, Charleston, Phoenix, Las Vegas…

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/02/28/midsize-vs-metropolitan-cities/