You Can Go Home Again: Five Themes to Watch in the Boston Innovation Scene

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stay in the area, and so forth. As Bostonians, we tend to take it for granted that we have dozens of top universities and colleges attracting the best young minds and faculty and churning out world-leading advances in science, technology, and business. We shouldn’t. We should be harnessing it even more.

5. In which fields will Boston innovators lead the world?

This theme is obvious and important. Xconomy and others have documented the Boston area’s strengths in many areas such as healthcare, life sciences, energy, robotics, data storage, mobile software, online video, gaming, music technologies, entertainment, and design. Some areas I’ll be watching particularly closely: micro-VC and alternative financing schemes, robotics and artificial intelligence, advanced materials and cleantech, consumer Internet, gaming, and graphics and visualization. Will one of these efforts lead to the next billion-dollar company in New England?

Some of these themes will no doubt evolve; this list is just a start. If you have any thoughts on the above (or other top-of-mind issues in local innovation and its global impact), please drop me a line at or leave a comment below. I look forward to meeting you all, and continuing to build relationships with the technology and business community here.

One last personal note: I started writing this piece while I was aboard a JetBlue flight from Seattle to Boston (rather appropriately). The only TV network we couldn’t get on board was ABC, which was showing Game 6 of the NBA Finals (we all know how that turned out). What’s more, the worst crying baby in the history of crying, or babies, was directly behind me during the flight. Maybe he or she knew something I didn’t. In any case, I was so grouchy I couldn’t finish this story.

Now, having had a few days to recover, I can say this: I will always be a die-hard New England fan—for sports, technology, innovation, you name it. We are hardy souls, and we thrive on adversity. So let’s bring it.

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Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and Editor of Xconomy Boston. E-mail him at gthuang [at] Follow @gthuang

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  • Welcome home. Greater Boston is delighted that you are back.

    You mentioned the problem that some people encounter “breaking in”, so I thought I should tell you about a unique program that helps entrepreneurs do just that.

    Mayor Menino and State Economic Development Secretary Gregory Bialeki are part of a dynamic team (The Board of Boston World Partnerships, Inc.) that markets Greater Boston by breaking barriers for a 175 member civic saleforce that returns the favor by providing information and connections about economic opportunities that should be nutured.

    No City, no Region in the world, is offering such a program. But, as a returning citizen you probably aren’t surprised.

    Again, welcome home, and let us know if we can help you break barriers to your succees.


    Mark Maloney, President,
    Boston World Partnerships, Inc.

  • Indeed, WELCOME home, Greg!

    I’ve stayed close to home most of my life; but have done a fair amount of traveling to other countries. The innovation agenda is blossoming in some unexpected corners of the globe; and our E100 Network – now 180+ across 67 countries – is ready to extend the global reach of our community.

    I’ve been proud of our roots – and for many of the reasons you reference. Now is the time to strengthen and showcase our *GlobalCommonwealth*.

    Let us create some alignment…

    Debra M. Amidon, Founder
    ENTOVATION International Ltd.

  • Hi Gregory,

    Welcome (back) to Boston! Great article; you highlight some of the major pain points that have been associated with the ecosystem — although there has been tremendous progress in the past year on all fronts.

    As a student at Northeastern University, and the President of the E-Club, I am passionate about helping to foster collaboration amongst students on campus and amongst all Boston/Cambridge/MA schools. There are several initiatives and collaborative projects currently in the works to help get more students together and introduce them to the startup scene.

    Glad to have you as a new addition to Boston and looking forward to getting to know you better!


    – Aaron

  • Gregory,

    Sorry this is a late comment, but I was out of town.

    Some other markets where the Boston area has a thriving cluster would be Internet Marketing and Web Analytics.

  • Gregory,

    While my heart is in Boston, I’m in Europe most often now. Europe doesn’t know much about Boston. I rarely find anyone who can name a tech company who is from Boston. It pains me. We do have a lot to offer. Glad to have you here, promoting and support what is going on in Boston tech. And I completely agree… we are hardy and thrive on adversity.

    Welcome back!

  • All,
    Thanks for the kind welcome and good information. I’m looking forward to getting to know all of you, and telling the most interesting stories of innovation from the ground in Boston and beyond. Go Sox,