Is Your City Ready for an Innovation Economy? How Do You Know?

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This is a guest post by Dr. David Ricketts.

Designed to enable cities to be innovation leaders in the future, the 2015 Strategic Innovation Summit: Enabling Economies for the Future will take place at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. (coleong/Getty Images)

In a global world, simply providing the basic necessities, including education, infrastructure and resources is not enough. To lead in the next generation, cities need to enable — and drive — innovation in their communities that will provide creative solutions to urban problems that improve the quality of life and economic opportunities of their citizens.

But how? With limited resources and a constantly changing world, how does a city or any community know where to put their resources to make the biggest impact?

In September, a group of senior city leaders, education and industrial experts, and innovators will be meeting at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., to discuss this challenge. The 2015 Summit on Enabling Innovation Economies for the Future asks: What makes cities future ready? What is needed and what must leaders measure, track and change to enable their cities to be innovation leaders in the future?

The Summit will provide a working group to answer these and other questions about the future of our cities, such as:

  • What resources are needed to seed and foster innovation?
  • What cultural and societal programs impact the readiness of a city’s workforce?
  • How does our education system need to change to prepare future innovators?
  • What economic programs support entrepreneurship and grass roots innovation?

Additionally, how do you evaluate your current state and develop a plan to make your community an innovation leader for the future? The Summit will investigate and develop strategic plans to help city leaders:

  • benchmark, measure and track their progress in becoming a future ready city;
  • establish an innovation leadership focus within their community;
  • engage the community in partnership;
  • grow services and infrastructure to support technology innovation; and
  • launch creative initiatives to drive an innovation economy.

This Summit is an invitation-only program for senior-most executives in the public sector, technology and start-up communities, and higher education. It is convened on the weekend of Sat. Sept 26 & 27 on the campus of Harvard University. We encourage those of you engaged in leading the strategic plan for your city – whether in government, education or industry — to join the conversation and apply to the Summit.

The Summit is hosted by the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center in the Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Science, Harvard University. The Summit is complimentary and there is no tuition fee to attend. However, travel and hotel expenses are the responsibility of individual participants. Please see the Summit site for more details and how to apply.

About the Author: Prof. David Ricketts is the General Chair of the Strategic Innovation Summit and a Faculty Associate in the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center in the Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Science at Harvard University. He teaches innovation and creativity and his research focuses on the role of the individual in innovation and discovery.