Building an Innovation Ecosystem in the Heartland

How do you build an innovation ecosystem in the heartland? There’s no simple answer.

Some say you need to have an active startup community, others focus their innovation efforts with research institutions, and then there are some who put all their chips in the corporate innovation corner, depending on patterns of digital disruption within specific industries in their cities and regions.

Regardless of your starting point, I see the buildout of an innovation ecosystem as a complex but elegant series of interactions amongst interdependent communities of corporations, universities, investors, local government, and economic development groups — with the center of the universe being a startup community. Each piece in the ecosystem is dependent on the others.

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