Scaling Innovative Firms

Innovation in products, services and processes is essential for growth and prosperity in advanced economies like the United States, and regions like Massachusetts. But innovation on its own is not sufficient to achieve these economic benefits; to fully realize the economic gains associated with innovation, new products and services developed by American innovators must be taken up on a large scale within the U.S. economy, as well as in overseas markets. Much of the innovation in our economy nationally, and regionally, is pioneered by small, entrepreneurial companies, and innovation-driven entrepreneurship. But growth in these businesses is usually a prerequisite for their innovations to have economic impact in their region and beyond.

Massachusetts is one of the best ‘laboratories’ in the country for understanding the dynamics of emerging innovating companies and their growth pathways over time. The Massachusetts economy is good at inventing and innovating around new products, processes, and business models. For three decades the Commonwealth, aided by its large concentration of leading research universities, teaching hospitals, and other public research institutions, has scored highly on a broad range of measures of innovation and related entrepreneurial activity. But while the Massachusetts economy has not fared as badly as others in the recent recession, its long-term performance in new job creation has been relatively weak, and questions have been raised about whether the Commonwealth is capturing enough of the downstream economic benefits associated with its innovative strengths.

This project, Benefiting from Massachusetts’ Innovative Capacity: Scaling Innovative Companies in the Commonwealth, will examine the process of scaling across various industries and whether there are barriers to and opportunities for scaling innovative companies, which create positive benefits for the regional economy.