Innovation Ecosystems 101
Written by Phoenix Williams, PS27 Marketing Intern
Innovation ecosystems are a relatively new concept in the world of business, and they have gradually become a very important one. As the number of entrepreneurs grows so does the need for the right environment to bring their next big idea to life. The right environment is essential a startup’s ultimate success. One brilliantly creative individual, or even multiple of these individuals, just isn’t enough to drive innovation within an organization, especially not consistently. The ecosystem to supports the organization and creates the context in which it can flourish, by providing a culture where failure is okay, the status quo is always under suspicion, and compensation is based on the implementation of the newest ideas to encourage the level of innovation that is being strived for.
Every startup needs investors, mentors, foundations, venture capitalists, and so on to move forward. These separate entities work together and add value to one another. This support is especially useful in the early stages when the startup has very little capital value to add and not much more than an idea and a plan. The value that an innovation ecosystem is able to provide is what allows more problem solving and world-changing ideas to be made into something that can actually be produced and sold to the consumer.
Ecosystems encourage innovation via entrepreneurship or invention in a way that large companies are not able to because small companies, startups, venture capitals, or R&D teams can be nimble and creative given their open-ended untethered focus on building a very focused, very narrow solution from scratch. This reduces the risk of failure, accelerates the path towards execution and can dramatically increase the chances of achieving expected outcomes. This is why a company or entrepreneur benefiting from an innovation ecosystem is able to successfully develop an invention, a new solution or a business more efficiently and effectively, typically in a shorter period of time, yielding a higher return on investment.
There are numerous other organizations in the Florida area that are offering tools and services that can also be beneficial to any startup. We wanted to highlight a few of the programs that we like and would recommend looking into along with the programs that we at PS27 offer. The Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of North Florida (Florida SBDC at UNF) provides management assistance and training to any prospective or existing small-business owner in North Florida. North Florida SCORE is a nonprofit association dedicated to educating entrepreneurs and helping small businesses start, grow, and succeed. Jacksonville has a growing entrepreneurship ecosystem, and UNF and the Coggin College of Business are driving early-stage entrepreneurship efforts in our region. To maximize UNF’s potential impact and benefit to the Jacksonville and North Florida communities, UNF opened the Center for Entrepreneurship.
PS27 Leadership Week
PS27 also facilitates programs such as Leadership Week where founders transition into CEO’s. This is an intense, hands-on, and highly interactive experience for startup founders and their team. This event, along with the environment that we provide for the businesses that we are invested in, is the beginning of a highly productive innovation ecosystem. The program helps to prepare the founders and their teams, but it also helps to build community with founders, investors, community leaders, and sponsors.