Tuesday, August 18, 2009

How do we monitor the health of the Technopole?

Following the takeover of Library House by Dow Jones, it is not clear whether or not there will be any further Cambridge Cluster Reports. These reports provided one very helpful indication of the absolute and relative health of the Technopole, with a particular focus on VC-backed (and VC-backable) innovation-based firms. If these annual reports are no longer going to be produced, what other sources of data are there on the Technopole? There are several other sources of metrics on the health of the Technopole, but none provide a complete and 'live' picture. Examples available include:
There are also several externally captured sources of data on the Technopole providing sometimes useful comparative data (though some of these external groups do sometimes choose rather strange indicators resulting in the Cambridge Technopole's performance either being over-inflated or overlooked).
There could be real value for policymakers if we could identify what metrics are useful, how to capture them, and working out a way to feed them into some sort of live ‘Technopole Dashboard’. Maybe most of the needed metrics are already out there. If anyone has views on what the most appropriate metrics are, the best source of them, and how we could develop this 'dynamic dashboard' your ideas would be most welcome.


  1. Anonymous6:39 pm

    If one thinks of the technopole as a living organism then you have these other smaller entities that would need to have some sort of standardized means of communication in order to relay the required metrics to the central as close to real time as possible.
    But these entities operate differently from each other (research centers, startups, established companies, universities, etc) so one would need to find out the ideal systems and methodology to implement so as to encourage wide adoption among them.
    Best way to deal with this challenge in my opinion is to look at it not just from the technopole perspective but from a global context, since in the end, a fundamental question one will be asking (an quite frequently) is just how competitive is my technopole, cluster or region against the others? Then, the need to standardize these metrics across regions becomes evident.
    Managers of science parks, technopoles and other technology clusters should discuss the best way to approach this. Have you looked at the efforts of the WAINOVA organization?.
    I'd be delighted to share my ideas and perspectives. Congratulations on the blog. Roberto. you can contact me at rcuestas(remove)(at)explordigital.com

  2. Tim,
    One metric I have long thought would be valuable is the sum of the value of all deals done to fund companies in [the defined area]; a necessary corollary metric is the sum of the value of the sales of shares in [defined companies] in the area. There would need to be careful identification of the matching deals, of course. It is not simple, because people are coy, but it is something that could be done if the will were there. I suggested to GEIF when they were active but without results.