Boston’s Innovation Future Hinges on People, Startups, Relationships

Xconomy Boston — 

From time to time, we need to step back and think about the future. What will New England’s business and innovation community look like in 10 or 20 years? Where will it fit into the national and global picture?

We can start by talking about the strengths of the region. Biotech, pharma, and healthcare have reached unprecedented levels of investment and interest. Anchor companies have emerged in marketing technology, e-commerce, enterprise software, robotics, and cybersecurity. There are promising efforts in newer areas like education tech, cloud-based design and manufacturing, and connected devices and wearables.

Yet the specific areas and companies don’t matter as much as the people behind them—and how they adapt to changing markets, customers, and talent. In short, it’s about how they think; how they work together; and how they execute.

That’s the core idea we are diving into with our Boston 2035 event at Babson College on June 17. In the spirit of getting innovation leaders to share stories and talk about wins, losses, and lessons learned, here are a few highlights to preview:

Michael Greeley of Flare Capital Partners will chat with Boston Children’s Hospital CEO Sandra Fenwick about the future of healthcare and New England’s leading role.

—Veracode CEO Bob Brennan will discuss global problems in cybersecurity and software, and how the local ecosystem is making great progress.

Diane Hessan from Startup Institute and Communispace will give her perspective on education, training, and Boston’s innovation future.

Andy Palmer from Tamr and Ryan Mack from Facebook Boston will talk about New England’s talent pool and how to attract and retain top people.

—Jibo CEO Steve Chambers will talk about the future of artificial intelligence and robots in the home.

—Zipcar founder Robin Chase will give her view of where the much-hyped “sharing economy” is headed.

—Acquia CEO Tom Erickson and Localytics CEO Raj Aggarwal will talk about how to scale up startups and manage big-time growth.

—Moderna’s Stéphane Bancel will chat with Flagship Ventures’ Doug Cole about changing the face of biotech drugs.

—Investor and tech icon Desh Deshpande will talk about bringing opportunities for entrepreneurship to everyone.

—Techstars founder David Cohen will shed light on how to build innovation clusters, and will give an expert outsider’s view of the local ecosystem. I’m also hoping he’ll share some of his broader perspective on life, work, and investing from his travels.

Those are just a few nuggets to whet your appetite. We’ll have the full agenda soon—and it will include lots of time for audience interactions and networking, to foster the relationship-building that’s so key to our region’s future. In the meantime, you can take advantage of our “innovation special” rate and register here (see also discounts for startups and students).

We really want to hear from you—our readers and audience—about what pressing issues you see in the community. So drop us a line, bring your ideas and questions on Boston’s innovation future, and get ready for a fun and productive day on June 17.