Engel: Silicon Valley is not the only innovation cluster, although it’s a very successful one. There are also innovation clusters in Israel, Germany, Taiwan, and other places. They all have similar characteristics. And that goes beyond just a certain set of components and players, such as start-up founders, venture capitalists, and established companies. These ecosystems are characterized above all by a certain behavior: highly mobile resources, money, people, and knowledge. Think, for example, of Mark Andreessen, who founded the web browser company Netscape and is now a venture capitalist. The people involved in Silicon Valley are constantly striving to create and drive forward innovations that have the potential to change the world — and they are willing to experiment and also fail. And ultimately, they’re pursuing goals that they can’t achieve alone but only collectively. Entrepreneurship and innovation are the order of the day here, and it can pay off in a big way for many — not just those at the top. the Twitter IPO created about 1,600 millionaires at one stroke; the Facebook IPO over 1,000. Add to that the ripple effect as that wealth is consumed and you can see that it can have a massive effect in terms of energizing and motivating an entire community.
About Jerome Engel
Venture capitalist, company founder, and university professor Jerome S. Engel is an innovation expert and senior fellow at the University of California at Berkeley, where he established the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship in 1991. He has also founded start-ups, including Internet company Allbusiness.com, which has provided support to young companies with information and helpful links, and was acquired by TV broadcaster NBC in March 2000. Today, he manages a venture capital fund with a partner. In recent years, Engel has been devoting much of his attention to innovation clusters, which tend to differ from regular industrial centers in their dynamism and willingness to call into question established business models. Engel edited the collection of essays titled Global Clusters of Innovation: Entrepreneurial Engines of Economic Growth around the World, a 409-page volume published by Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd in late 2014.