Location to innovation

At one time the recipe for successful innovation was face-to-face communication between innovators, rolling into the mix investors and the necessary capital to create a marketable product. In 1976, one place for innovation was Steve Job’s garage. It was right in front of this garage where Steve Wozniak met Steve Jobs, as the story goes. The garage is a suburban by-product of neighbourhoods built for the automobile – the entryway to the suburban home and often the most visible part of the ubiquitous single family house.

The suburban model does not fit well with Vancouver, Canada’s densest urban metropolis, bursting at the seams in a real estate bubble so inflated new homeowners are driven to the suburbs in hopes of finding affordable first-time homebuyers. And yet, British Columbia and Vancouver in particular is a major draw for innovators, including recent immigrants and new graduates. Our growing knowledge industry is built around the Digital Media, Information & Communication Technology sectors. Vancouver holds a reputation as one of the best places on earth to live, with plans in motion to be the Greenest City in the World by 2020. Our bourgeoning Clean Technology Industry provides climate change solutions for the world, and green jobs for Vancouver. Vancouver is second to Toronto for the financial services sector and consistently ranks high in worldwide tourism ratings.

Innovation happens here – in Vancouver’s coffee shops, online and from innovator’s own living rooms. No longer is innovation confined to Silicon Valley, hi-tech parks and master-planned workplace-turned-dorm-communities. But even in Vancouver’s entrepreneurial world, there is a glass ceiling. The median size of business is four employees, with an average of just seventeen employees per company. We are consistently losing innovative talent to out-migration alongside a drought of small business investment.

We have designed a placeless research tool to connect innovators with would-be products with investors who would otherwise park their money in real estate. We have used similar tools for American markets, but truly built by-and-for Vancouverites, this new innovative tool can be an online meeting place for an exchange of ideas, resources and capital.

This tool develops and markets innovative new technologies that are bought by local investors and used to establish new small businesses. It is a new online platform designed to be free and accessible for Vancouver’s top innovators: new students, recent immigrants, innovators and investors alike.

This entry was posted on January 10, 2012 at 8:39 am, filed under 02 Systematize, Designer, Involvement, Project process, Public Architecture. Bookmark the permalink. Comments are closed, but you can leave a trackback: Trackback URL.