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.

Trouble in the lab

An even more advanced and detailed account in The Economist of insufficient research rigor, lack of reporting negative findings and scientis‘ need for training in statistical methods. Read it here.

How Cambridge supports its spin-outs with funding

The University of Cambridge recently announced that it had pulled together partners to set up a £50 million fund called Cambridge Innovation Capital (CIC) for financing university spin-outs. Despite the impressive investment sum, the interesting aspect of the concept is that the fund intents to support entrepreneurial ventures with a long term return perspective so that young firms can hold the breath long enough to pass the „valley of death“.

Janine Benyus on 3D printing and the circular economy

This is another video worth seeing. Janine Benyus, author of “Biomimicry : innovation inspired by nature” talks at the inaugural Circular Economy 100 Annual Summit, sponsored by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation this June. Her message is about how 3D printing can help us on the way towards a sustainable economy. Quite inspiring 20 min with some good examples.