Chapter 1: Introduction: Clusters of Innovation in the Age of Disruption
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What is innovation and why is it important to us? Innovation is nothing less than the ability for constructive response and adaptation to change. The cause and catalyst for that change is frequently identified as technology and its unceasing pressure to improve on existing solutions and address unmet needs. The last decade has painfully demonstrated that exogenous environmental shocks are also sources of change that call for innovative responses, ranging from the obvious challenges such as global warming and Covid-19 to the more subtle social and political perturbations of our time. Entrepreneurs, in collaboration with venture investors and major corporations can create a flywheel of constructive engagement, a Cluster of Innovation that helps build the resiliency of our communities to adsorb and rebound from these shocks. The process is enhanced when actively supported by government, universities and other elements of the ecosystem. This chapter identifies the fundamental hypothesis on which Cluster of Innovation theory is based, the major questions the research endeavors to answer, and a preview of the key findings.

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