Driving innovation drives economic development.
When it comes to business development, a good idea is a profitable idea. That's the core of innovation. Of course, innovation isn't limited to technology or tech companies. It affects and is integral to all businesses.
For the St. Cloud, Minnesota, region to grow and bolster its economic base, the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation must foster and promote innovative thinking. But how? Innovation depends on a complex interaction of sixteen indicators across six essential elements. These include:
- Higher education attainment in the population ages 25–34
- Number of science and technology researchers per 1,000 employed
- Corporate investment in research and development (R&D)
- Government investment in R&D
- Share of the world's scientific and technical publications
- Venture capital investment
- New firms
Information Technology (IT) Infrastructure
- Broadband telecommunications
- Corporate investment in IT
- Effective marginal corporate tax rates
- Ease of doing business
- Trade balance
- Foreign direct investment inflows
- Real GDP per working-age adult
But what is the ROI of innovation? A lot. And the returns are not limited to a single aspect. Innovation delivers broad returns that elevate the St. Cloud region in numerous ways.
Reduce the Cost of Failure: Not all ideas and inventions are viable commercialization opportunities. The Innovation lab can provide the tools, processes, and environment to help entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs (entrepreneurs within an existing business) better understand and navigate the various stages of commercialization.
Decrease the Time to Market for Viable Ideas: Many new viable ideas and inventions stagnate after the product is developed. The Innovation lab will be a conduit between the invention phase and the commercialization phase.
Provide Access to Capital: The Innovation lab will provide a more organized approach to access financial capital (both seed and early stage) and human capital (consultants, think tank participants, advisors, and directors).
Public/Private Partnerships: The Innovation lab will help better connect area colleges and universities with businesses bringing inventions to market.
Stronger Economic Base: Innovation will lead to new companies, growth within existing companies and additional jobs within the community.
Provide a Competitive Advantage: As the Greater St. Cloud community is able to establish itself as an innovative community, more companies and talented people will want to be a part of it.