What is Technology?
Technology is the development and use of tools, methods and skills to achieve a goal. From arrowheads and the control of fire to ploughs, wheels, engines and computer chips, new technologies change our relationship to the natural world and to the ways in which we live, work, connect and create. Technological innovation drives such fields as communications, transportation, construction, manufacturing, health care, biotech and robotics, nanotechnology, fossil fuel extraction and renewable energy generation.
THE TECHNOLOGY SECTOR IN BOSTON
Whether during the Industrial Revolution, the emergence of the Computer Age or the current shift to a low-carbon economy, Greater Boston has long been a global node of technological innovation, making Massachusetts a leading technology state and Boston a world-class city.
Fueled by a high concentration of institutions of higher education, global talent, venture capital funding and business start-ups-offs, Greater Boston contains an arguably unparalleled eco-system of technology innovation and commercialization. The Bay State has long led the nation in patents per capita and as of 2011 was home to 54 Nobel prizewinners.
As a result, Greater Boston abounds with new economy clusters: Big Data; Cloud Computing; Mobile Telecommunications; Software Development; Clean Tech; Bio Tech; Robotics; and Digital Games, Marketing, Storage and Social Innovation.
Seeking to sustain these assets, technology-related trade and leadership groups such as the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council, the Massachusetts High Tech Council, the Massachusetts Life Sciences Collaborative, the Defense Technology Initiative, and the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council and organizations such as the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative work to shape and coordinate strategies, policies and the region’s workforce and jobs landscape by linking educators, innovators, practitioners, investors and policy makers.
Centered on the build-out of Cambridge's Kendall Square, Boston's Innovation District, Route128 and Boston's Longwood Medical Center, Greater Boston's innovation eco-system continues to expand and diversify. MIT’s Enterprise Forum, founded in 1978, still produces programs about innovation, technology and entrepreneurship for thought leaders worldwide,its Media Lab focuses on "learning by doing" to create transformative technologies and its Industrial Performance Center researches and supports innovations in regional competitiveness.
Those mainstays have been joined by a number of new entrants, including: Mass Challenge, a public-private partnership that runs an annual global accelerator program and startup competition for novice entrepreneurs and is proving to be a highly effective exemplar locally and globally; Mass Technology Leadership Council (Mass TLC)'s unConference, which brings together a broad range of participants in Massachusetts technology ecosystem to share and receive ideas; Harvard’s Innovation Lab, which encourages innovation across disciplines; the Cambridge Innovation Center, which offers state-of-the-art facilities and services to small and growing businesses; and the Boston Innovation Center on Boston’s waterfront, a public space for innovators and entrepreneurs to meet, exchange ideas, and convene programs and events. The Boston Globe's website Hive of Innovation is a one-stop curated news feed shop for Massachusetts’ high tech innovators and entrepreneurs, while Boston’s Office of Urban Mechanics fosters civic innovation in partnership with such organizations as Code for America.
To prepare the region’s future talent pool and attract the next wave of new economy jobs, many civic and business groups are also working to strengthen P-16 public education, with a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or STEM. The Commonwealth's STEM Educaiton Initiative seeks to create a clear path for students of all ages interested in STEM subjects.
Boston is also home to the City-Trust-funded network of more than 40 Timothy Smith Community Technology Centers in Greater Roxbury, along with the Computer Clubhouse at the Boston Museum of Science and Tech Goes Home, which together are leveling the digital divide.
In addition, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) help smaller nonprofit organizations and community development corporations to harness new technologies in their daily work, while job training programs such as Year Up provide historically underserved young people with training and access to good jobs in the technology sector.