June has been designated as New England Innovation month. It was innovation (the company was Digital Equipment) that really caused me to move to New England 30 years ago. Today I think people tend to underestimate the innovation going on in New England. Forbes recently named Boston number 8 on their list of the most innovative cities in America though which is something. But the west coast seems to get a lot of the innovation attention. Of course there is a lot going on out there but, well, let’s just say I’m not a west coast person and leave it at that.
I think it is important to promote innovation, new business start ups, and technology growth where ever you are though. Diversity has a lot to do with where people live and not just their ethnic, racial, religious and gender attributes. Innovation is not one size fits all. That’s one reason I am glad that Microsoft opened the New England Research & Development Center (aka NERD Center) in Cambridge Massachusetts. Some of the best universities in the world for innovation and technology are based in New England. Arguably the Boston area has the highest density of top technology programs in the world. So a lot of innovation starts here even if it something moves elsewhere eventually.
If you are in New England and interested in technology (or teach or know students who are) and innovation there are always lots of things to do to get involved. The New England Innovation month site lists many of them. Microsoft NERD is please and proud to host technology and innovation events regularly. You can see a list of events at NERD on their website. Many of these events are great for learning about technology, networking to build a career/job finding network, and just being with interesting people who do interesting things.
If you are not in New England, what do you do? Start with user groups for products you are interested in. Microsoft.com has a list of user group links you can try. You may also have a group like the Mass High Technology Leadership Council who sponsor many events including my favorite event Tech Tuesdays (hosted by Microsoft at NERD BTW).
MassChallenge will also be important to Innovation Month. We are a global startup competition, inviting anyone, anywhere, with any idea to enter by JUNE 11. Entrepreneurs receive free resources including networking opportunities, mentoring, and workshops, and at the end of the competition we are giving away $1 million in awards! Enter at www.masschallenge.org.