Stanford and Silicon Valley: Lessons On Becoming A High-Tech Region
By Stephen B. Adams
The article by Stephen Adams guides us through a historical perspective on the emergence of California’s Silicon Valley as a cluster of high-tech innovation and entrepreneurship. The article tries to clarify the trajectory with which Stanford University played a role in fostering the regions specialized business incubation environment. Adams provides the argument that at the outset (1930’s and 1940’s); Stanford University had aligned itself more with existing firms in a satellite arrangement. He stats that the reasoning behind this was economically driven by the university’s need for funding. The Article goes onto state that in the formative years of the Valley, Stanford University’s principal contribution to achieving a critical mass of brains in local industry involved relations with satellite operations of firms headquartered elsewhere more than with local start-ups. Most importantly, the article gives us insight into the evolution of the relationship the University has had with industry. It is this content that allows the reader to identify the two stages of the Valley’s trajectory as it pertains to the University’s influence. The article provides several different perspectives on the Valley’s clustering phenomenon. We also see how the study of agglomeration economies has proliferated in the last two decades. The article ties all of this data and history in an effort to help answer the question, “What was the role of the Valley’s academic anchor in achieving high-tech critical mass?” The article identifies four formal outreach programs that served as the conduit for the evolution of the university’s industry relations. These programs (Stanford Research Institute, Stanford Industrial Park, Honors Cooperative Program, and the Affiliates Program in Engineering) where conceived as ways to bring revenue into the university, and by default...
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