NJBIA CEO Discusses the Twelve Indicators of Innovation

As part of our Future of Innovation series, Steve Adubato talks with Michele N. Siekerka, Esq., President & CEO, New Jersey Business and Industry Association, about Governor Murphy’s proposed budget, the twelve indicators of innovation and ways to improve NJ’s innovation economy.

3/16/19 #301






"We are pleased to welcome our good friend back again. She is Michele Siekerka, President and CEO of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association. Good to see you Michele. Always a pleasure. We'll be talking about fiscal matters in just a second. Your favorite topic. Absolutely. Innovation. The Future of Innovation. A series we're doing. Yeah. The governor talks about the innovation economy in New Jersey. How do you define the innovation economy? Well let me say that we have long held true at BIA, we want to see the state reclaim its stature as the innovation state. In fact, that's our big, audacious goal. Which is bigger than BIA, right? So we wake up every day, "How are we a part of that?" But we know it's more than just what we can be a part of. So it's about the right talent, it's about attracting investment dollars, it's about creating innovation ecosystems around our higher ed institutions. It's a game changer. And we need to get back there because once we had it. It's interesting. This... by the way, two things. One, we are media partners with your organization, and this publication has a lot of good information on business activities in the state - New Jersey Business. But this "Indicators of Innovation" report? Yes. Why is this report relevant to the conversation we're having about the future of innovation? So we stepped back, and we wanted to study and make sure we had data to show, how do we move the needle on innovation? So we studied 12 indicators that lead to an innovation state, and we stu... 12 indicators? 12 indicators. And the 12 indicators are across capital, people, and business. And there are things like, how do you attract venture capital to your state? R&D dollars? What about your talented workforce? Where do your higher ed institutions rank nationally in terms of research institutions? What would that have to do with innovation? The higher ed piece? Oh. Because innovation ecosystems... traditionally, predominantly are around research institutions. Absolutely. If you think about where people are going to be drawn, number one, research institutions. They attract R&D money from the federal government, they attract venture capital, and then you spur innovation out of our research institutes. So companies will look to get into an ecosystem around the community of where a higher ed institution is that's doing really great stuff. So now you have students, you have talent, you have people with PhDs, you have people studying STEM, and they're all part of the ecosystem. Science, technology, engineering and math? Engineering and math. Mm hmm. So how...? Where are we doing well, and where..."