Greater Boston 2014 outlook: Entrepreneurial opportunity in the global innovation economy — Phil Budden and Fiona Murray

MIT Sloan Associate Dean Fiona Murray

MIT Sloan Associate Dean Fiona Murray

MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer Phil Budden

MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer Phil Budden


As we dig out of the first snowstorm of the year, we are reminded of one of the great appeals of Silicon Valley: the beautiful weather! And yet we both see – having just co-taught a course at MIT looking at entrepreneurial regions around the world – that Greater Boston and Massachusetts have many sources of competitive advantage that still make it a leading global hub for entrepreneurship and innovation, with new opportunities in 2014.

As an ecosystem, our New Year’s resolution should be to do all we can to ensure that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. This is not always easy: research at MIT has taught us that at least five key stakeholder groups matter in such an entrepreneurial ecosystem – a model we refer to as the ‘pentacle’, consisting of: entrepreneurs, universities and ‘risk capital’ (of course), but also large corporations and even government policy makers.

MIT’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Model – the “pentacle”
More than simply having each of these groups play their parts in the ‘pentacle’, it is the myriad linkages among them that matter. This framework lies at the heart of our MIT model of innovation-driven entrepreneurial ecosystems. Based on wide-ranging exploration of what’s happening in hubs around the world (and, perhaps even more importantly, on an historic analysis of Silicon Valley that goes beyond the simple stories of lone entrepreneurs or the power of one university), this research captures the dynamics of what supports, sustains and accelerates entrepreneurship in a region. Importantly, it also provides scope for pro-active interventions by all five of the stakeholder groups and for facilitating key interactions among them.

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Fiona Murray is the Alvin J. Siteman (1948) Professor of Entrepreneurship, an Associate Professor of Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Management, and the Faculty Director, Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship.  She is also the Associate Dean for Innovation.

Phil Budden is a Senior Lecturer at MIT Sloan, affiliated with the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship and the TIES Group.  


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