City and regional innovation centers are the economic engines of the future. They have the ability to pull together resources and recombine them into something new and useful.

They are places where…

…local government, universities, and industry partners can come together to create new sources of value.
…people are provided with the resources for the development of new products or services.
…ideas can be tested and optimized in a real-world environment.
…the latest technologies are available for access and study.
…customer needs can be discovered and distilled.

The most successful centers will tend to be collaborative, communal, and diverse.

Stimulating innovation is not as simple as putting everyone in a room for a few hours and hoping that something will happen. There certainly needs to be a structure, process and financial resources. It is also very helpful to have a problem to solve or a specific need to be met.

A catalyst is required to precipitate a reaction between the ingredients and start the innovation engine. This spark is what brings focuses people’s attention on was needs to be done and how to do it.

Where do sparks come from to start this process?

Anywhere and often from where you would least expect it.

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