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Friday, June 4, 2010

Innovation is not just for the USA

Readers of this blog have undoubtedly been following the ongoing controversy between Jim and Steve about whether Boston or the Bay Area is the most important center for technology innovation.

Jim and Steve, what about all the innovation taking place outside of the US?

Grenoble, France, where I happen to live, is located just under three hours from Paris and, much like Boston and the Bay Area, is home to some of the nation's leading universities, medical schools, research institutions and technology companies.

According to the magazine l'Usine Nouvelle, The Grenoble Institute of Technology is the second largest engineering school in France and is second in terms of research contracts awarded. The Grenoble Graduate School of Business was the seventh best MBA program in Europe, according a 2009 Financial Times report.

Research institutions include Minalogic and Minatec for nanotechnology, NanoBio and Nano2Life for biotech and Tenerrdis and the PV Alliance for solar and other forms of renewable energy.

Technology companies in the region range from established multi-nationals such as Capgemini, HP, Radiall, Soitec, STMicroelectronics, Sun and Xerox to dynamic start-ups like H3C-energies and UShareSoft.

The great thing about innovation is that anybody anywhere can have a great idea. And, given the right environment -- world class higher education, research institutions and an dynamic economy -- great ideas become great companies creating great products.

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