Projects and Initiatives

Innovation Institute Operations: What We Do

The Innovation Institute engages in grant activities, providing direct services and analyzing the Massachusetts innovation economy.  We have demonstrated success in leveraging grants from other sources and offering guidance to a broad range of constituents across the state. 

Here are some of the current projects and initiatives that we undertake in close collaboration with leaders within the industry, academic, public and non-profit sectors of our economy. 

Cluster Development: Interventions with Industry

  • Mass Big Data Initiative
  • Mass Tech Hub Collaborative
  • Targeted Cluster Growth Opportunities in the Tech Sector  

Examples include:

  • Roll-to-Roll (R2R) Processing
  • Textile Industry Partnership
  • Industry Modeling and Simulation
  • Virtual Incubator – Digital
  • Digital Printing Technology
  • Interactive Games Sector
  • Test-bed for clean-energy innovation in Holyoke
  • Rapid Prototyping and Mass Customization

Improving the Innovation Ecosystem

  • Tech Sector Identity -  MassInnoID
  • Talent Pipeline
  • Internship Program
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Supporting environment for start-up firms
  • Growing New Businesses to Scale
  • Mentoring
  • Innovation Index and Policy R&A

Program Development and Investment Process

The Innovation Institute employs a four-step, collaborative developmental process to select most investment projects.  In this process, staff first work to understand the economic development opportunity and innovation embodied in the proposed project.  If the project concept appears to have merit, the Innovation Institute provides advice and technical assistance on how to structure the content and scope of the project and suggest key partners and stakeholders to support and collaborate on the project.  Staff may also make introductions to other organizations and convene stakeholders to help broker these relationships.

Direct Services

Based on feedback from policy and thought leaders from all sectors of the government and economy, the Innovation Institute has focused on emphasizing and investing more of our non-financial resources in order to sustain our impact on the Innovation Economy, grounded in our portfolio of work to date. 

The blending of a services model with traditional grant making has produced significant results and includes such activities as the Mass Tech Hub Collaborative which the Governor called on the Innovation Institute to undertake in the role of convener and manager.  Another initiative for which the Innovation Institute provides similar support is the Commonwealth’s Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative. Advanced manufacturing is an integral part of the state’s innovation economy. With Governor Patrick and his economic development team, we are coordinating to organize the effort to focus on this industry as top priority for job creation and the state’s economic future.

Strategic Engagement

A key feature of the Innovation Institute is its non-financial role in the planning and implementation process to strengthen the environment for innovation in Massachusetts. This role includes advising organizations and stake holders on the planning and design of specific projects and initiatives; serving as a convener or facilitator to bring key parties together and explore new way to advance organization and innovation around important technologies, industry clusters and specific opportunities; supporting project implementation through ongoing staff guidance and advice; and developing and disseminating information on the state economy, key industry clusters and other emerging issues.

Although these activities are often undertaken during the normal course of a project, they are also conducted to inform broader thinking, strategy and public policy concerning economic development and innovation in Massachusetts.  This latter role is most closely associated with the Innovation Institute’s activities as a convener and supporter of research around the innovation economy.