Edited by Michael L. Fetters, Patricia G. Greene, Mark P. Rice and John S.ibley Butler
Chapter 5: The University of Texas at Austin
John Sibley Butler Entrepreneurship, along with science and technology, is altering our society domestically and globally. The solutions to many critical issues and problems now demand an integrated, holistic flexible approach that blends technology, management, and scientific, socio-economic, cultural and political ramifications in an atmosphere of profound change and extreme compression. (George Kozmetsky 1993) Innovation and entrepreneurship stand at the very center of job creation and wealth creation within market economies. The last three decades, since the 1980s, have seen the emergence of high-tech communities along with a corresponding development of a strong body of academic research targeted towards explaining how these communities actually evolved. In this literature Silicon Valley, Austin, Texas and Route 128 in Boston are the most frequently investigated sites for case studies (Smilor et al. 1998). Central to this research agenda is the concept of the business ecosystem. The purpose of this chapter is to: (1) trace the theoretical modeling and history of business ecosystems; (2) examine how these models enrich our understanding of such ecosystems; and (3) show how the methodology of the IC2 Institute at The University of Texas at Austin enhanced the ecosystem for that region. THEORETICAL CONSIDERATIONS Diffusion Theory To understand the development of high-tech communities, we must start with the theory of the diffusion of innovation. Diffusion scholars are concerned with the process by which an innovation, whether an idea, a process or a technology, is communicated through channels over time among members of a social system. In this consideration the...
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