As Xconomist Bob Metcalfe has said, “Invention is a flower. Innovation is a weed.” What better place for the weed of innovation to grow than in the fertile region around the California capital of Sacramento, and, especially, nearby University of California at Davis, one of the premier agricultural research institutions in the world? In fact, the research money flowing into UC Davis is greater than that received by its far more famous sister school, Cal Berkeley, not to mention Harvard and MIT.
Today, I am especially pleased to share with our readers the debut of an exclusive two-part Xconomy look at the Sacramento-Davis corridor and efforts underway to turn the region into one of the nation’s preeminent centers of high-tech innovation—spanning far more than food and agriculture, but cleantech, medtech, robotics, computing, and more. And, no surprise, the cost of living is well under the Bay Area, just about a 90-minute drive away (rush hours aside).
It all adds up to a fascinating story—and one, I think it is safe to say, no one has told as thoroughly as Xconomy’s San Francisco-based chief correspondent and editor at large Wade Roush. Wade traveled to the region multiple times and spoke to dozens of people—entrepreneurs, investors, academics, city officials, dreamers, and more. He has not only told the story of their efforts, highlighting some of the fields in which the area hopes to shine, but he has chronicled as well the roadblocks and other challenges that face those pressing the innovation agenda. In the process, he has uncovered lessons that hold for similar efforts all over the country, and no doubt the world.
And that’s one other thing. When it comes to in-depth reports on emerging innovation clusters, this is just early days for Xconomy. Wade has already done one similar deep dive—a look at Santa Cruz last year. But a few weeks ago, Wade turned over the reins as editor of Xconomy San Francisco to Elise Craig to take on the editor at large role. In that capacity, he will spearhead an ongoing program to look at innovation clusters around the country, and possibly even outside the U.S. (we’re looking for sponsors for this effort, by the way…so let me know).
So read on! The first part of our report, which you can find here, looks at Sacramento. The concluding installment will run on May 15, focusing on Davis. That is a special story for me, as a UC Davis alum. I didn’t study innovation, I must confess: I had a double major in psychology and physical education (think mind and body). But I did partake in at least one area of UCD’s expertise: viticulture and enology. I’ll let you figure out how.
But enough reminiscing. I hope you enjoy our special report on the Sacramento-Davis innovation corridor.