The Research Triangle Park

RTP Archie: Day 1

By Subscriber Jul 18, 2013

Have you heard? The Research Triangle Park is building, growing, and changing – and we need your input. I’ll be updating this blog throughout the 2-day summit with highlights, comments, and feedback. Stay tuned…

8:00am – RTP CEOs
Twenty executives from RTP’s 7,000 acres joined us to discuss the future of the Park. Briefly, this is what I heard:

  • RTP isn’t stale. We still have a major international brand that people recognize and want to imitate; however, we need to keep pushing the envelope.
  • RDU International Airport is a huge asset we have. How can RTP help to bridge the connectivity gap? Is it a shuttle, rail, or Zipcars? Getting to the area is easy, but RTP should find ways, now, to make it easier to get to and from the airport that’s mere miles away.
  • Many companies are already reconfiguring their spaces to compliment the changing desires of today’s workers. Workspace that encourages collaboration is key. Attendees stressed that there be multiple spaces throughout RTP that encourage this, whether it be on, or off, campus.
  • We need to be loud about our achievements. There are many, and we’ve got to continue to tell our stories. The innovations that happen here have to be touted not just regionally, but globally.
  • Community building must start now. The CEOs said that the RTF has been doing a much better job of this, and that we need to continue building upon this success.

10:00am-11:30am – Gov & Econ Dev Officials
Leaders from our government and economic development organizations joined us to discuss the future of the Park.

  • Wendy Jacobs: How will we engage youth within this vision? Starting with middle and high school students. Is this internships, apprentice ships, how can we engage our youth?
  • Bob: If ARCHIE is developed and we had all these great programs, what if we had an ARCHIE fellows program? Could start with camps, or maybe as someone gets ready to move from high school or college they could become an ARCHIE fellow and locate here at RTP. They come and they live here at the park and take classes virtually. Their responsibility is to share back to their home county. Share the thoughts and ideas and provide linkage to RTP. I think whatever that may be: the idea to connect young innovative thinkers is great.
  • Steve Row – When you talk about innovators and entrepreneurs you’re talking about something similar to Durham, but this could be a centralized location. They don’t have as much mentorship or capital here as they would in the bay area.
  • Bob – Where they go after getting up and running is the hard part.
  • Steve – There’s been a lot of debate about where entrepreneurs come from, and there are many global people right her ein the park. .how do we make ourselves open to that.
  • Bob – People in China are providing space for free. We’re not going to do that, and we don’t need to. We should be able to have space at the lowest, or zero cost, to bring the innovators here to get them up and running and help them spin out – regionally, statewide.
  • Steve – Theory that most competitive regions are global. Thank you for trying to create this.
  • Ellen Reckhow – I love the vision. How tied is this to transit? Millenials don’t like to drive as much as their parents do. How do we initiate this? I love that you’re talking about layering in 1,000’s of additional jobs, but the roads might not support them.
  • Bob – There are political challenges and we know this. Everyone is saying they want to see a regional transit system move forward. If our park companies want this, we have to make it happen. The first (redevelopment) site was chosen because it’s right by a transit station but once they get to the park we have to make sure there’s a system for people to get around. We have to look at every mode of transportation possible to move people around. We could be a great laboratory or test site for all kinds of transportation, and we need to push it. We know that it’s going to be a while before we get it out here. Our Park company CEOs gave us ideas this morning of how we could build this starting now; how do we link to areas outside of the red line of RTP?
  • Kevin Dick – While we don’t need to replicate what they’ve done, we do need to compete with them in some way or fashion. The climate and infrastructure in order to create that you’ve mentioned, but do you have any specific initiatives that you think will get this region more on a plane with some of our competitors?
  • Bob: Focus on what makes your place special. The Park needs to do that. We’re still figuring out what that is for us. The architects and designers told us that we need focus on the entire park, and ways how you can bring in services to the whole park. Don’t try to recreate something too dense and urban that you overlook what you are – a park. We have to create special places. The specifics still have to tie in to collaboration, accessibility and affordability.
  • Phail Wynn – One of the key ingredients will be having a sufficient amount of venture capital. What are your thoughts about how we can track this?
  • Bob: We’ve been talking about this, and I think we keep making progress. At Stanford and Boston they said one thing you can do is creating an open space to build and provide for free for the VCs to open a shop. I think we’re going to have to try any and everything. We’ve also got to try to create our own.
  • Phail Wynn– If we incubate the right big ideas, that may in fact entice them to visit and see what’s taking place. We need to focus on the programmatic aspect of a global convergence center.
  • Bob – You create a space to let these ideas and innovations flourish. Something we heard from the CEOs is that there are a lot more regional stories that we’ve got to tell. We have to keep supporting this.
  • Deborah – You spoke about this being a park for all of NC. You’ve got this park and this pace but what are you doing on the weekend?
  • Bob – You would have people living here on the weekends.
  • Deborah – but what about people that don’t?
  • Bob – Part of it is having something special to see, but we’re learning about the investments we’re going to have to make in programming. AU has done a great job of programming that space, and it’s why you want to go there and engage. Our business model needs to factor in speaker series, family events, we need to bring visual and physical arts into the park to make this connection to the humanities. The showcasing of tech could be in or outside of buildings, that would get you excited about the prospects of the future.
  • Deborah – And the kind of park spaces.
  • Jean Davis – I’ve been thinking about the global connections to the park, and we’ve got a large focus on small business and maintaining our existing businesses. What are the projects that NC or the universities have a strength in? I think a thought out set, or portfolio, of clusters or ideas would be very helpful.
  • Derek Chen – Went to an innovation park in Turin, Italy. Have reconfigured car factories. Can we talk about culture? RTP Has a culture/Durham has a culture. Are we taking aspects from around? Or are we highlighting our own?
  • Bob: That’s why we ask. Culture grows organically. I think we need to listen and be responsive to the public needs. For the next 48 hours we’re going to have 100s of people listening and talking. Those pieces will begin to shape what the culture is.
  • Mayor Bell – A lot of this is all about the money, but we talk about trying to find space for innovators. But we should do this for the VCs. If you’re looking for the money, let them be a part of it all.
  • Barbara Entwisle – We think that there is a great need for people to literally come together for a time. Part of what we need is teams that bring together groups of people to address challenges together. It took us a while to even get a common vocabulary. This takes time, and you have to address these issues, and build from sometimes odd foundations.
  • Randy Hitchings – I love your vision for the Research Triangle Park as a way of creating pathways to prosperity. I think there’s many ways for us to grow together. We’d love to have and engage with you more in the months and years ahead. Project ARCHIE: we have a great opportunity to visually show these pathways to prosperity within ARCHIE.
  • Ellen – A secret weapon on Silicon Valley is that Stanford uses it as a learning lab for those companies. Have the universities thought about ways to regularly connect their students to work on projects with companies within the Park?
  • Jim See-doe: We do have programs where w try to make inroads with companies in the area and beyond. There are also several courses that are mostly in the business school where students in the courses link up with startup companies and help them develop. Those programs exist and I think we’ll continue to see more of those over time.
  • Mayor Bell – I just hope we keep NCCU and other universities within the area.
  • Bob – Our goal is to look at where we build relationships with public and private institutions. We look forward to building relationships with Central, and much of their research is compelling to companies here. What we want to create is a greater connectivity to all educational outlets. What would you put in ARCHIE to help you do what you do?
  • Mark – Less about what you put in, and more about the fact that you have the assets to deploy to convene. Collaboration only occurs when theirs adequate capacity for it to occur. That space simply becomes a spot where you bring various players together, make something, happen, move on and repeat. The real thing that makes the synergy happen is because of the collaboration of a variety of different things.
  • Morrisville -Having an innovation center that would enable venture capitalist to come in have space and get ideas from ‘treps and innovators. We often look at this as a way to create jobs, but we don’t look at it as how can these same groups can solve problems for the government. Recently I’ve seen an increase in open data initiatives. The challenges I how do you aggregate all of that into one central place within our state.