Daily Archives: June 10, 2009

IT innovation in Massachusetts: MIT-style business plan competition

Another day, another opportunity to meet Deval Patrick and report on innovation and technology in the Commonwealth.

Actually, it wasn’t just another day: I livestreamed the governor’s announcement of the MassChallenge Venture Funds Competition. His twitter account @MassGovernor picked it up and shared it with the rest of the Commonwealth.

That was, as they say, nifty. I embedded his speech below; Patrick begins speaking twenty minutes in.

If you listen carefully, you’ll even hear me ask a question about how the Commonwealth will use Mass.gov to make the bidding process open and transparent. Patrick noted my “little camera” and asked one of the VCs involved to come speak at the podium — the Governor was online media-savvy today.

I wrote about the details of the MVFC over on the TotalCIO blog at TechTarget’s ITKnowledgeExchange: “Massachusetts launches MassChallenge Venture Funds Competition

The rest of the day? Well, clearly there’s plenty of passion, desire and insight in the local tech community about how innovation can be fostered, nurtured and funded here in Massachusetts.

I heard about the state of the Mass. IT economy, as described by researchers at the UMass Donahue Institute.

Good data points: The composition of Mass. IT industry is shifting. Hardware/networking shrinking, software/IT services growing. There are more than 176,000 IT workers in Massachusetts, making the industry second only to healthcare. The IT execs surveyed put business costs (71%) at the top of their list of challenges, followed by IT infrastructure (57%). Lck of collaboration in R&D was also cited as an issue.

I heard more substantive evidence of IT’s enabling effect on other industries, including mobile, marketing and robotics, not to mention productivity in general.

I heard, from Akamai’s CEO, that that company exists because of “pure, academic research,” funded by DARPA, that an entrepreneur thought could be made profitable. (Current market cap: 3.84 billion [Yahoo Finance])

I saw, yet again, how well thoughtful event planers can prepare for online participation and use free, open tools to engage participants in real life and extend the discussion onto the Web, capturing the insights and resources shared in a persistent way.

The organizers used one of the large screens to pull in the twitterstream, bringing the online conversation back into meatspace.

There was also a useful collaborative discussion tool for the Communications Breakout Session: @Google Moderator: http://bit.ly/wNinM

I learned about STEM, as referenced by @Google‘s @SteveVintner: http://stemedcoalition.org

I discovered http://theventurecafe.com, located at http://cictr.com, and read a Boston Globe story about it: http://bit.ly/BjGwg

I heard about a digital marketing organization in San Francisco that is working towards creating partnerships between schools and corporations: @SFBig & http://sfbig.com/education

I even had the microphone for a minute and advocated that attendees consider working towards more mentorship, co-op programs and show students how technologists and IT execs worked towards a path to success. I noted the course described by David Brooks in a recent NYTimes OpEd piece on “Genius”: http://bit.ly/11bkVM |

And, of course, that aforementioned livestream netcasted the session on scaling large organizations to the online audience.

I’ve embedded “a dialogue about growing Massachusetts enterprises to scale” below.

You can read much of the discussion on Twitter at the #innovateMAtech hashtag.

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