Tech Square’s corporate innovation research centers reflect growing trend

tech-square-1It used to be corporate research and development was always done in-house and inside labs bunkered away from other units within a company and far away from competitors.


Now, that approach is no longer ideal.


The new model, according to a report in the Harvard Business Review, is what the Georgia Institute of Technology, along with its partners, has created with Technology Square, home to 12 corporate innovation centers, including Home Depot, Coca-Cola Enterprises, and Delta Air Lines.


“What’s driving companies to relocate near urban universities is the changing role of innovation within the private sector as firms are increasingly relying on external sources to support technology development,” the report’s authors, Scott Andes and Bruce J. Katz, conclude.


Andes is senior policy analyst and associate fellow of the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Initiative on Innovation and Placemaking at the Brookings Institution, a Washington-based, non-profit public policy think tank. Katz is the Brookings Institution’s inaugural centennial scholar.


Tech Square and the surrounding Midtown neighborhood offer what major corporations seek: proximity to a major research university and various cultural among social amenities, as well as an atmosphere that fosters collaboration, and making connections between startups clustered in the are and the large corporate firms.


The authors also note that Georgia Tech is particularly successful in drawing corporate innovation centers because the Institute also focuses on bringing research to market and commercializing ideas into actual companies.


“Georgia Tech is a national leader at spinning off startups: VentureLab, a university-run business accelerator, is ranked second in the world,” Andes and Katz write. “Georgia Tech’s incubator, the Advanced Technology Development Center, helps create successful startups by connecting entrepreneurs to mentors, capital, and customers.”


Read the full report at this link.