In preparation for the upcoming R&D Innovation, Design Thinking & Product Development Summit we have had the pleasure of interviewing Mike Grandinetti about the panel discussion he will be moderating.

What are the main issues you wish to address as moderator of this Innovation Ecosystem panel discussion?

“I want to share how various complementary ecosystems co-exist in a city like Boston. These include AI, robotics, mobile, FinTech, SportTech, Biotech, Medical Devices, Digital Therapeutics, etc. While each is relatively self-sufficient, they also are self-reinforcing.”

How important is it, in this age of great disruption, to be a part of or develop an innovation ecosystem?

“Disruption is the new normal in the Digital Economy. If you’re not continually innovating, you’re destined to fall further and further behind. Innovation is a team sport. It requires collaboration. The more robust your innovation ecosystem, the more effective your ability to innovate, compete, and win.”

How important is venture capital (and the role of venture capitalists) in the innovation ecosystem process?

“While VCs are certainly an important component of a functioning innovation ecosystem, a continuum of risk capital from high quality startup accelerators to sophisticated angel groups to seed stage investors to growth stage VCs are all important.”

What helps to create a successful innovation ecosystem?

“There are a number of critical anchor institutions. These include research universities, a highly educated workforce, a high density of software developers, a pool of entrepreneurs and experienced mentors, the risk capital continuum I describe above, and a very active series of weekly innovation-related meet-ups and conferences, and hackathons.”

Mike Grandinetti has been continuously active in the fields of innovation, entrepreneurship and marketing since earning his Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree. He’s a successful serial tech entrepreneur, professor, innovation consultant, angel investor, board member, hackathon leader, keynote speaker and startup mentor. He is leading the panel discussion “Building an Innovation Ecosystem” at the 6th R&D Design Thinking & Product Development Summit in Boston this October.

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