This is the fifth article in a continuing series that examines the state of the ecosystem necessary to successfully bring technology to market. Based on dozens of interviews with entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, angel investors, business leaders, academics, tech-transfer experts and policy makers, this series looks at what is working and what can be improved in the go-to-market ecosystem in the United States, Canada and Britain. We invite your feedback.
In his book, The Way Ahead: Meeting Canada’s Productivity Challenge, Tom Brzustowski, RBC professor for the commercialization of innovation at the University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management, talks about the “social contract between science and society in the U.S.” that arose in the late 1940s and gave rise to that unique ecosystem we know today as Silicon Valley.
The basis of this contract is found in Science: The Endless Frontier, a 1945 report to U.S. President Harry Truman by visionary Vannevar Bush that outlined a U.S. post-war science and technology policy that would ultimately result in the creation of the National Science Foundation. In the years that followed, military-funded unclassified R&D in the private sector, driven by the pressures of the Cold War and the space race, laid the foundation for Silicon Valley and made Bush’s vision a reality.