The article by Stephen Adams guides us through a historical perspective on the emergence of California’s Silicon Valley as a cluster of high-tech innovation and entrepreneurship.
The article tries to clarify the trajectory with which Stanford University played a role in fostering the regions specialized business incubation environment. Adams provides the argument that at the outset (1930’s and 1940’s); Stanford University had aligned itself more with existing firms in a satellite arrangement. He stats that the reasoning behind this was economically driven by the university’s need for funding.The Article goes onto state that in the formative years of the Valley, Stanford University’s principal contribution to achieving a critical mass of brains in local industry involved relations with satellite operations of firms headquartered elsewhere more than with local start-ups. Most importantly, the article gives us insight into the evolution of the relationship the University has had with industry. It is this content that allows the reader to identify the two stages of the Valley’s trajectory as it pertains to the University’s influence.
The article provides several different perspectives on the Valley’s clustering phenomenon. We also see how the study of agglomeration economies has proliferated in the last two decades. The article ties all of this data and history in an effort to help answer the question, “What was the role of the Valley’s academic anchor in achieving high-tech critical mass? ” The article identifies four formal outreach programs that served as the conduit for the evolution of the university’s industry relations.These programs (Stanford Research Institute, Stanford Industrial Park, Honors Cooperative Program, and the Affiliates Program in Engineering) where conceived as ways to bring revenue into the university, and by default were aimed at existing firms. This early trend lends to the irony of the Stanford model for what became known as the ‘entrepreneurial university” which actually arose during a period when the university’s relationship with industry were dominated by established firms rather than start-ups.
This article provided great insight into one of the powerful economic evolutions in modern time.The historical perspective taken by Adams allows the reader to truly get a sense of the historical players, strategies, and perspectives involved in creating the single-most powerful economic center. It was particularly fascinating to learn how the relationship between the university and the local economy was forged. It had always been my perception as was the popular belief that the University was the impetus behind the entrepreneurial cluster formed in the Valley. The findings of this article are critical in helping other regions formulate an approach to creating an economic cluster of high-tech firms.The article does a great job of explaining the two faces of the Valley’s development (pre and post 1980).
The article points out that it was not until after 1980 that Stanford graduates started to create hundreds of firms including some of the most iconic names in High-tech. As we continue into the “new economy “ the study of how environments like Silicon Valley developed will grow increasingly more important. Articles like this allow us to better understand all the variables that were in play at the time of inception as well as the variable of change that allowed the area’s evolution into an entrepreneurial incubator.Discussion Question: In the article Adams outlines four formal outreach programs (Stanford Research Institute, Stanford Industrial Park, Honors Cooperative Program, and the Affiliates Program in Engineering) which helped facilitate the university’s relationship with outside industries.
The University of Houston (Victoria) has asked you to propose an outreach programs that they will implement to help drive industry relations and funding. Please explain the target industry and the objective of your proposed outreach program.