Innovation is driving the economy. Speed is the new currency. In order to be competitive in all markets, domestic and global, Ohio’s next governor must act swiftly, and be intentional and bold when considering new economic development plans and strategies.
In July, the Ohio Chamber Research Foundation, partnering with TEConomy Partners LLC, released a collaborative, data centric roadmap toward success for Ohio in the innovation economy: Ohio BOLD: A Blueprint for Accelerating the Innovation Economy.
Ohio BOLD offers a series of suggestions to accelerate growth. While Ohio economic development policy has focused on specific sectors, Ohio BOLD recommends realigning Ohio’s innovation investments on areas of convergence, where innovation and disruptive technologies can cross over to impact many traditional industry clusters. Four areas of convergence, which recognize Ohio’s core competencies and areas of potential exponential growth, are:
- Next-gen manufacturing and materials.
- Future health.
- Smart infrastructure.
- Data analytics.
Ohio BOLD also recommends a statewide approach to accelerate the innovation economy. It should be built around the four innovation opportunity platforms with each represented by an innovation hub to advance product development, process improvements and the commercialization of new technologies.
Learning from other states
Our research examined innovation hubs in other states. The North Carolina Biotechnology Center is one example. In 1984, North Carolina established a dedicated, private, nonprofit and industry-led organization for advancing biotechnology. NCBiotech became the state’s catalyst for development in life science industries. This hub has been critical in business attraction and helps brand the state as a biotechnology leader.
Oregon is another example. The Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute is comprised of companies and universities. This hub was funded through the state and houses a national laboratory. ONAMI provides matching funds for federal and private collaborative research projects, enables shared use facilities and advances commercialization and new company formation.
Ohio is home to world class assets that should be leveraged when creating the four innovation hubs. America Makes in Youngstown should be expanded and enriched as well as the Transportation Research Center in Marysville.
Ohio BOLD also recommends updates to the tax code, new incentive programs, an entrepreneur attraction program, venture capital investment funds, and programs to retain, and retrieve, skilled graduates.
Ohio has a rich legacy of innovation and innovative programs. Successful economic development must not only attract businesses to Ohio, but also talented people and venture capital.
The timing of the study’s release was intentional. A new Ohio governor will take office in January. It is crucial to frame the state’s economic landscape and offer a path forward while candidates are still putting together their economic development platforms.
Learn more about Ohio BOLD.
Katie M. Koglman is the executive director of Ohio Chamber Research Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) organization that serves to provide scholarly research to public policy makers. The foundation’s non-partisan research serves as a resource to Ohio lawmakers and provides an in-depth look as to what policy will have an impact on Ohio’s economy, economic competitiveness and job creation.