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      Attracting the World’s Greatest Minds to a Marketplace of Problems

      Four part Q&A with Clark Dean, Executive Managing Director, Transwestern

      24 Feb 2022 Clark Dean, Executive Managing Director, Transwestern

      1. Transwestern assists clients across more than 219 offices in 31 countries as part of a strategic alliance with BNP Paribas Real Estate and Encor. What does the Transaction Sciences team do, and how does your work improve the growth of new and existing innovation districts?

      The Transaction Sciences team within Transwestern is best described as a team that plans, designs and executes transactions that contribute to human flourishing.  We are a consultancy, a builder of echo systems, and principally a problem-solver, designed around several strategic anchors that drive solutions to complex problems in industries such as global life sciences.

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      2. What is the ‘secret sauce’ that makes a scientific community globally significant?

      Communities everywhere are seeking ways to have an innovation district in their hands that has a truly global reach. Of course, we can’t simply will these into existence, and in a large part the foundations are initially laid by research-led universities as world-leading conveners of science which have access to capital, to academic resources, and function as talent sinks bringing skills into areas in a highly-clustered fashion.  The most authentic districts have been anchored by grand research institutions.

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      3. The notion of ‘social capital’ is a critical factor to how Transwestern supports the creation of innovation hubs. What does this entail, and how can we capture it?

      Social capital is the value of the interactions among people, a concept pioneered by Robert Putnam from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. This can include ‘strong ties’ relationships, meaning who we work with, who we meet at school or college, but it importantly captures ‘weak ties’; the intersection of disciplines, experiences, backgrounds, origin, race, skills; everything that manifests a necessary richness that we need to apply to solve globally important and complex problems.

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      4. What does the Oxford-Cambridge Arc need to do to stand out globally?

      In the same way as the best universities lean into the problems they’re best placed to solve; like Harvard MIT have done with life sciences, and universities across Atlanta in the area of global health, regions ought to adopt an ‘edge’ that allows them to bring to the table something that few other regions globally can say they’re the best at. This spills out to the wider space around these idea factories, as we’ve seen in Cambridge, MA, and the seaport which has been brought into the vortex of this geographic expertise, and only serves to further embolden the case for international talent and funding to gather in these areas.

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