The Innovation Institute understands the Massachusetts economy as containing seven distinct regions: Greater Boston, Northeast, Southeast, Central, Pioneer Valley, Berkshires and the Cape & Islands. As many economists and historians appreciate, these economies are distinct one from the other with regard to infrastructure, commerce, higher education institutions and other economic drivers. For example, it is an observable fact that for more than half of these regions economic activity is a north-south phenomenon with a history of commerce coursing along rivers and focused towards Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York.
A long-standing challenge for state-level economic development leaders and professionals is to encourage and support each region’s efforts to create unique competitive advantages based upon inherent strengths. Economic development professionals share a responsibility to craft policies, partnerships, initiatives and tools which further each region’s ability to pursue prosperity and growth in ways that demonstrate an appreciation for the uniqueness of each region.
The Innovation Institute takes this a step further by often acting as the intermediary across the state, regional and local domains in pursuit of fostering the conditions that promote growth:
Holyoke Innovation District: This is our premier example of forging a unique leadership model whose members take responsibility for the direct implementation of a strategic “local-regional” economic development plan
North Shore Innoventures: Would it be possible to launch a life science incubator in Beverly Massachusetts for Northeastern Massachusetts? Private sector leaders thought so and it was the investment of staff time, money and objective 3rd party analysis that led to this very successful initiative. With follow on help from the Mass Life Science Center and the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the Innoventures incubator is now full and looking to expand.
Gateway Cities: Today the Gateway Cities Innovation Institute exists as the bellwether for aspirations of 24 of the Commonwealth’s midsize cities. Few challenges are as compelling as fostering the renewal of these mid-size New England cities where the need for true “local-regional’ solutions is paramount to creating the conditions for growth. A 2006 partnership and investment to MassINC and The Brookings Institution from the Innovation Institute pioneered “Gateway Cities” as a brand, policy initiative and means to meeting the imperative to put these small cities at the center of policy development and investment.