“Better Together” – Business and government leaders launch Cascadia Innovation Corridor, linking Seattle and Vancouver, B.C.

Leaders from Vancouver, B.C. and Seattle met in Vancouver this week to unveil the Cascadia Innovation Corridor. The effort is described in this 11-page report produced by the Boston Consulting Group. We encourage you to read the paper, which contains a lot of good information about the unique opportunity to leverage synergies between the two metro centers of innovation.

The paper explains how the effort originated.

In the spring of 2016, leaders from Microsoft, the Washington Roundtable, the Business Council of British Columbia, and The Boston Consulting Group began working together to explore the possibility of greater economic collaboration between the Greater Seattle and Vancouver regions. Inspired by the rise of innovation hubs around the world, business and government leaders in both Seattle and Vancouver see great promise in building on the region’s strong foundation of innovators and innovation assets.

Here’s just one example of the complementary strengths of the two cities:

Impressively, Seattle and Vancouver ranked first and second, respectively, in human capital, thanks in large part to their high marks in livability and well-educated pop- ulations. Seattle scored higher than Vancouver in universities, investment and fund- ing resources, and scale and outcomes of the innovation ecosystem; Vancouver ranked well above Seattle in public policy and the business environment, owing to the city’s favorable tax structure and more open immigration policy.

This research suggests that together, Seattle and Vancouver have the potential to boost their combined performance across all the innovation enablers. In areas of unilateral strength, a partnership may allow the leading city to promote the development of the other. And where both have room to improve, scale advantages could become a mutu- ally beneficial enabler.

We’ll not try to summarize the report further, but encourage you to read the whole thing.  

The launch garnered good media coverage.

 The Seattle Times reports from Vancouver,

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and British Columbia Premier Christy Clark pledged to deepen the working relationship across the border, agreeing to support a “Cascadia Innovation Corridor” and host a technology-focused summit. 

The two leaders Tuesday also said they’d work together on joint transportation planning, trade and capital flow, and research initiatives at public universities, among other programs.

In addition to the governor and B.C. premier, there were statements of cooperation from the mayors of Vancouver and Seattle. And the conference provided a rare opportunity for the first and third Microsoft CEOs to share a stage.

Some intriguing – and possible conflicting transportation plans to link the two metros are evolving, including high-speed rail and designated lanes for driverless cars.

The new venture speaks to the vibrant economies anchoring the innovation corridor and the exciting possibilities inherent in a closer, collaborative partnership between the private and public sector leaders of the two regions.