It is difficult to understand the Cambridge Phenomenon

…but the Technopole Report helps a little to better understand Cambridge’s innovation system often also called Silicon Fen with today about 1,500 firms employing about 53,000 people.

The report lists numerous relevant actors, such as  Cambridge ConsultantsCambridge Science Park (founded in 1970 by Trinity College), St John’s innovation centre (founded by St John’s College in 1987) and financiers such as Hermann Hauser that helped a nearly uncountable number of firms to grow and florish. Not to mention the numerous events and occasions where people meet informally and exchange ideas.

Succesful Cambridge companies include names such as Acorn Computing, Sinclair Research, Aveva, ARM and Autonomy. According to a recent WIRED article Cambridge has produced not less than 12 firms whose market capitalisation exceed $1bn. Probably most prominent is ARM. Founded in 1990, the semiconductor and software design company grew to become a multibillion valued competitor of Intel. Actually, by today its processors quasi dominate the markets for mobile phones, smartphones and tablets.

Remote access technology has roots in Cambridge

I recently learned that the defacto standard remote access technology, which is used today widely across numerous mobile and smart phone (i.e., in billion devices), but also by software to remotely access desktop computers, whether for private or professional purposes(e.g., software support), such as Teamviewer, was developed by the Cambridge University spin-out RealVNC in 1998. Apparently, the software diffused so widely, because the inventors had chosen an open source approach. RealVNC is probably one of the „most successful Cambridge University spin-outs of all time“.

Conference on Green Growth

The conference started today at the Kiel Institute for the World Economy with an opening keynote from Dennis Snowers. Directed towards the audience of about 50 young researchers he emphasized „it is in your hands… there is a lot at stake” encouraging them to do there utmost in supporting the way towards a sustainable economy. This is perfectly in line with a recent nature article entitled “Be persuasive. Be brave. Be arrested (if necessary)“. The word should also be out to the innovation research community. It is time to think holistically about innovations. Their upsides, but also their downsides. How to innovate responsible ensuring that the needs of future generations are not compromised.