The Innovation Institute

Don Dubendorf

“Our success is entirely dependent upon our ability to identify and support the champions that contribute the passion and vision necessary to make a difference.” - Don Dubendorf, Chairman of the Innovation Institute

Our Purpose and Work

In 2003, aware of the national and global competition for the talent and innovation-intensive industry sectors vital for our state’s prosperity, the Legislature established the John Adams Innovation Institute, known today as the Innovation Institute at MassTech. The Legislature defined its work in the following way:

The purpose of the institute shall be to serve as an agent of the Commonwealth to create and maintain a more favorable and responsive environment in the Commonwealth for the development, growth, attraction and retention of technology-intensive and innovation-driven clusters of organizations, with a particular attention paid to promoting economic growth in discrete and underserved regions of the Commonwealth by harnessing local support and involvement in such economic development activities and by improving the  economic infrastructure for such clusters. [Chapter 40J, Section 6A (a)]

Using an innovative, stakeholder-led process, we have been implementing this visionary “cluster development” approach to economic development.  The Innovation Institute supports industry-led growth initiatives in the digital economy, including big data, digital gaming, mobile communications, e-commerce, robotics, marine sciences, advanced manufacturing, and more.  Projects, initiatives, and strategic investments in key industry clusters throughout all regions of the Commonwealth are creating conditions for continued economic growth.

These efforts have involved over 1347 organizations, 78 higher education institutions, more than 350 Massachusetts companies and the participation of over 4,300 institutional, civic and entrepreneurial leaders across the Commonwealth.  We have made roughly 850 strategic investments totaling approximately $35 million, which have resulted in over $233 million of additional investment from federal, private and civic sources for a 6:1 ratio.

Our work with entrepreneurs, researchers and government and civic leaders throughout Massachusetts has helped the Innovation Institute develop a unique perspective on the strengths and challenges of different industrial sectors and regions across the state. Through active engagement in the field, we have developed an understanding of the strategic, effective role the Innovation Institute can play to enhance the innovation economy.

The Innovation Institute partners and invests with academic, research, business, government, and civic organizations which share the vision of enhancing the Commonwealth's innovation economy.

Our main target areas for partnership and investment include:

  • Organizing for Innovation
  • Innovation Capacity
  • Statewide Innovation Initiatives
  • Understanding the Massachusetts Innovation Economy

Our Strategic Goals

The Innovation Institute at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative is motivated by three key strategic goals:

  • Enhance institutional and industry competitiveness throughout the Commonwealth;
  • Promote conditions that enable growth throughout the Massachusetts innovation economy; and
  • Provide accurate and reliable information, data and analysis to stakeholders in the Massachusetts innovation economy that promotes understanding and informs policy at the federal, state and local level.

Our Model

We take a strategic approach, working hand-in-hand with industry leaders, researchers and policymakers.  Our strategy is based on the industry cluster concept developed at Harvard Business School.  Industry clusters can occur when companies share certain operating characteristics (employee skills, high concentration of research, etc.) that result in geographic co-location or clustering.  Cluster development contributes to job growth and economic vitality in states and regions.  By working to increase global competitiveness within key industry clusters, we identify opportunities to strengthen the state’s overall innovation ecosystem.

Our Approach

At the Innovation Institute at the Mass Tech Collaborative, our goal is to enhance innovation as an integral process of the Commonwealth’s economy. As an agent of the Commonwealth, the Innovation Institute serves as a broker, a convener and a catalyst. We work to strengthen and grow the institutions and industries that comprise the knowledge economy. We recognize that innovation is a forward-looking process, not a product.