Innovation Clusters: Water is Gold

Forget the gold rush.  A “water rush” is underway and water rich states are well positioned.

Just a few short years ago businesses expanding or relocating were likely to cite broadband and transportation networks among the most important factors in their decision process.  The Southwestern U.S. has been targeted for the majority of this investment activity. But with below average snowpack, higher temperatures, growing consumption, and extreme drought appearing to be the new normal, water has quickly become the new gold.

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Regional Collaboration Beyond the Press Release: The TechBelt Model

Download a PDF of this Article: Regional Collaboration Beyond the Press Release – The TechBelt Model Collaboration is a contact sport. “Regional collaboration” has long been a somewhat idyllic phrase within technology-based economic development circles. Beyond the websites and trade show booths, its rare to find “collaboration” expressed in an every day operating plan. Geography, municipal boundaries, political districts and competing organizations provide real challenges for regional initiatives to find and sustain common ground. With the announcement of the Federal Regional Innovation Cluster (RICs) initiative in March of 2010, those barriers are becoming more transparent. That initiative defined RICs as “geographically-bounded and active networks of similar, synergistic or complementary organizations which leverage their region’s unique competitive strengths to create jobs and broader prosperity.” Since its launch, the RIC initiative has established several programs such as the Jobs and Innovation Accelerator, the Energy Regional Innovation Cluster and the I6 Green Challenge, all of which leverage technical resources and financial incentives to help formalize networks and link key assets in tangible and responsive ways. Continue reading “Regional Collaboration Beyond the Press Release: The TechBelt Model”