Cambridge showcased in ‘Innovation Ecosystem’ report for World Economic Forum

Some of the leading organisations powering Cambridge’s “innovation ecosystem” - Cambridge Judge Business School and St John's Innovation Centre - have been showcased in a report published at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week.

Innovation ecosystems: Empowering entrepreneurs and powering economies was written by Social i Media, a Cambridge-based media communications start-up.

The report, commissioned by the Economist Intelligence Unit on behalf of Barclays, explores the factors that influence and cultivate location-based hubs of innovation and entrepreneurial activity – such as ‘Silicon Fen’ - enabling policymakers and global business leaders to understand how to provide these nurturing environments.

The report was due to be published yesterday (Wednesday 22 January) and will be available to download from

The report argues that global economies are on the cusp of a “third-wave industrial revolution” in which enterprising, young innovators will play a central role, and says that the rise of “micro-multinationals”— start-ups which operate across high- and low-cost locations, delivering to an international customer base — exemplifies the opportunities offered by globalisation, digital communications and the Internet.

Social i Media content creator and director, Anna Lawlor, said: “It was fantastic to work on this report and particularly interesting because my own business is a Cambridge-based start-up that exists because technological change has changed the way we work, play, communicate and do business. Organisations feel at sea in a new digital environment and feel as if the rules of engagement have been re-drawn, and the speed of innovation has obscured where best to invest their precious resources. That’s why we set up Social i Media - to help people navigate these tricky waters.”

She continued: “Cambridge is awash with entrepreneurial support and is a beacon of innovation for the UK so, as author of this high-profile report, I was spoilt for choice in terms of which organisations to profile. Cambridge Judge Business School and St John’s Innovation Centre have the international cache and abundant expertise in entrepreneurialism that could add real insight for the kind of well-informed audience found at the World Economic Forum.”

Cambridge Judge Business School Director, Christoph Loch, said: “This has been a classic ‘Cambridge’ collaboration and a great example in itself of the kind of vital collaborative work that goes on in the city on a daily basis. Building a mutually supportive ecosystem of this kind is crucial to the future of innovation and entrepreneurship and I am pleased to be sharing these important principles with the WEF.”

Anna Lawlor added: “Cambridge Judge Business School’s MBA program is world-renowned and in providing me access to Professor Jaideep Prabhu, Jawaharlal Nehru Professor of Business and Enterprise, the report is richer in international insights, particularly between India and Western innovation ecosystems, as a result.”

St John’s Innovation Centre managing director, David Gill, said: “Peter Drucker famously said that business has only two functions — marketing and innovation. By focusing on supportive ecosystems, this report elucidates the paradox that many of the most recent internationally-successful, innovative firms are rooted physically and culturally in a handful of specific clusters. The world may seem flat, but growth for the next generation of globally-minded start-ups will be accelerated thanks to the multiple sources of support available in uncommon ecosystems like Cambridge.”

Anna Lawlor said: “David Gill at St John’s Innovation Centre spoke eloquently on the importance of providing academically driven innovations with tried and tested commercial acumen and business support services, so that they can flourish and stand the rigours of the business world. His ‘real world’ insights from the coal face of Cambridge’s innovation ecosystem were invaluable for this report.”


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