The Center for Accelerating Innovation was founded for the purpose of applying the Innovation Ecosystem concept to national science, technology and competitiveness policy. The concept was adopted as the strategic framework for the National Innovation Initiative(NII) organized by the Council on Competitiveness and co-chaired by Samuel Palmisano, Chairman and CEO of IBM and Wayne Clough, President of Georgia Tech University. The Center prepared four significant reports for the 21st Century Innovation Working Group chaired by Nick Donofrio:
- Measuring Innovation for National Prosperity
- The Extended Production Enterprise
- Innovation Metrics: Measurement to Insight
- Valuing Long Term Innovation Strategies
Subsequently the Center continued its work on measuring the performance of the National Innovation Ecosystem. In collaboration with the Alliance for Science Technology Research in America (ASTRA) the Center conducted an in-depth review and expert workshop to identify the most policy relevant indicators and data sources--Innovation Vital Signs (IVS). The project sponsored by the US Commerce Department resulted in a bounded set of input, process, output and contextual indicators. The IVS Framework Report was the basis of the Periodic Table of Innovation Performance Metrics.
In 2008, the Center's founder Egils Milbergs accepted Governor Gregorie's invitation to serve as the executive director of the Washington Economic Development Commission. The 24 member commission adopted the innovation ecosystem concept as the foundation of the state's economic development strategy-- Washington Innovation Economy (2009) and Driving Washington's Prosperity (2013). A top priority of the commission was designation of 15 Innovation Partnership Zones. The commission completed its work in 2013 and Egils Milbergs returned to leading the Center's research, advisory and consulting services.
During the past decade the Innovation Ecosystem concept has gained support from researchers, consultants and practitioners. It has moved far beyond a theory and is being applied on a much larger scale by businesses, universities, economic development organizations and governments at all levels throughout the world.