My summer travels have taken me from the shallows of Lake Manyara to the shores Lake Mendota. Both these lakes, interestingly, host interactions between members of their surrounding communities; animals at the former and the public of Madison, Wisconsin at the later. Nowhere does the community of Madison seemingly interact more than at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery (WID) facility, a 10 minute walk from Lake Mendota. WID is a public-private partnership, focused on, inter alia, fostering “new approaches to biological and medical programs at the convergence of biotechnology, information technology and nanotechnology” and facilitating “the invention of technologies that can be transferred to the marketplace and create jobs.” These objectives are enabled through WID’s technology/science themed facility (note the double-helix shaped staircase in the photo to the right), which provides public environments in which to host discussions between scientists, entrepreneurs, financiers, and lawyers - four groups of individuals which provide a solid base upon which to foster IP. Nevertheless, such discussions may appear rather dull to the general populace. WID accounted for this problem by marketing innovation and technology as modern and hip, drawing the public’s attention. Upon a recent visit to the facility, I was delighted by the building’s touch screen information kiosks which intermingled with 3-D printing demonstrations and interactive Fibonacci chime insulations. Hopefully more communities, specifically those in economically depressed areas, will recognize the potential of community interaction at WID’s facility to create job-enabling IP and develop similar environments in their towns and cities.
I leave readers with a non sequitur : How will S&P’s downgrading of long-term U.S. debt affect the “build-up” method commonly used in IP valuations?