Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Can Innovation Companies Drive Job Growth in New England?

There is no more important issue than sustainable job growth. In one of the most well-attended sessions at the PBLN CEO Summit October 8th at Bentley University, Boston Globe columnist Scott Kirsner moderated a session on the question of whether the so-called "innovation economy" (title of his column) can drive job growth at a scale that really impacts the regional economy. The panelists included Greg Bialecki, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development for Massachusetts, VC/Author/Entrepreneur ("slash"?) Jeffrey Bussgang, repeat entrepreneur BiddingForGood CEO Jon Carson, and Mike Dornbrook, who until very recently was COO at Harmonix Music Systems (think Rockband).

Conventional wisdom and some good data shows bigger sectors really make things happen (healthcare, higher ed, financial services) in New England. But how can we ignore the go-to-scale question of all these world-beating start-ups and what happens when they grow? Is the next Lotus, Digital, Akamai, Harmonix, iRobot lurking around the corner in Kendall Square?

Kirsner put the audio of the session on his blog here. It is worth a listen - tell us what you think the key economic development/public policy choices are that address this question, and which companies to watch.

Also, for anyone thinking about the future of business and big issues, Boston Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham did a broad must-read piece about the entire PBLN Summit. Yvonne pretty effectively capturing the spirit and direction of this "newish" [her word] network of leaders. 

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