• Russel Kaufman Head Shot 2013
Categorized As:
Business Growth

Talent and Innovation Will Drive Future Growth

When it comes to growing businesses and creating wealth in today’s knowledge economy, the primary drivers are talent and innovation. With our region’s strong university and R&D base, we have tremendous talent and innovation assets to leverage toward this end. This is especially true in the field of biomedical research, as Philadelphia’s dynamic life sciences cluster ranks among the top three U.S. regions across a wide array of research, talent, and innovation measures.


So where are the greatest opportunities for our region’s business, civic, nonprofit, government, and philanthropic leaders to build off of these assets for impact? The Business Growth Strategy Team that I co-chaired last year zeroed in on two major opportunities: supporting talent development efforts focused on regional cluster strengths; and strengthening connections between area universities and industry to drive technology transfer and commercialization.


As president and CEO of The Wistar Institute as well as serving on the CEO Council for Growth, I have witnessed a true coming together of a diverse set of leaders around accelerating technology transfer and commercialization in our region over the past decade. Going back to strategy work that the CEO Council did with the Economy League and dozens of partners in 2007, we have seen the creation of a regional proof-of-concept fund; the growth of new innovation clusters and gathering places in University City and at The Navy Yard that bring together researchers, entrepreneurs, and investors; and new information resourcesconnecting these efforts. A strong community of business, institutional, and economic development leaders across our tri-state region continues to work together toward a vision of more ideas and technologies spinning out of area laboratories and into viable businesses.


Recognizing that achieving our World Class business growth goals will also require action at the federal level, the Business Growth GPS has informed the federal policy agenda that the CEO Council is pursuing with other regional stakeholders. During the current Congress, this will include advocacy around maintaining and expanding federal support of research and development; pursuing federal funding to establish one or more new regional “centers of excellence” for research partnerships between academia and industry; and policy reform that enables our region to attract and retain top-level native and immigrant talent.


Our region has great potential and committed leadership working together right now. The shared agenda offered by the World Class Business Growth GPS gives us an opportunity to achieve even greater success.