R&D centers are a key growth area for Silicon Valley, leveraging the region’s top-tier talent and vibrant and complex research community. In recent years, Silicon Valley has become the home of more than 10 new R&D centers, including the Samsung R&D Center in San Jose, Jabil’s Blue Sky research facility in San Jose and the Johnson & Johnson California Innovation Center in Menlo Park. And now the region hosts an impressive list of automotive R&D centers: BMW, Daimler, Ford, GM, Honda, Renault-Nissan, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen, plus Uber and Lyft. And there’s Google and Apple, both working on autonomous transportation. Silicon Valley’s R&D activity has long been connected through a series of informal and formal networks. The relatively “open” nature of research in the Valley is one of its critical characteristics. Background
REDI is a public-private partnership engaging stakeholders in a collaborative effort to create jobs.
It focuses on Silicon Valley’s most promising economic opportunities. REDI is led by the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce in cooperation with the City of San Jose, Santa Clara County and supported by the regional business community.
Why REDI Is Important Now: To Keep Silicon Valley Competitive
While Silicon Valley has been the hub of innovation for over six decades, this central position is not guaranteed in the future as other regions around the nation and globe develop their own innovation economies. This includes globally competitive regions such as Tel Aviv, Munich/Stuttgart and Beijing, as well as emerging innovation regions such as New York City, Austin, Boston and Seattle. Many of these other innovation regions are providing incentives that attract companies and talent from Silicon Valley. Thus, out of this need to remain competitive, the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce created REDI–a Regional Economic Development Initiative.
“In the first decade and a half of the century, non-US (and non-European) tech companies have advanced further than anyone could have imagined. Today, six of the 20 most valuable internet companies are based in China…”
–Michael Moritz, chair of Sequoia Capital, an early investor in Google, Cisco, NetApp and Instagram
Moving Forward: Four Opportunity Sectors
Since launching in January 2015, the initiative has identified the most promising opportunities for action by conducting interviews with key business and regional leaders, analyzing labor market and investment data, and reviewing regional and national economic trends.
The following promising economic opportunity areas are now being examined by REDI Action Teams for how they can be accelerated with strategic, collaborative support by REDI.
In Silicon Valley, there is a prevalence of major health care systems (such as Kaiser Permanente), health care startups capitalizing on the rich academic health and bioscience research, and an infrastructure of capital and culture that promote collaboration in the larger health field. This environment creates opportunity for a wide range of new medical devices and delivery systems that create efficiencies and improvements in patient care, as well as a number of novel wearables that promote health and connect patients to their health care providers, stimulating a growing consumer market. Large traditional tech companies are also involved in the health care space, providing important platforms for launching integrated health IT systems. Background
Specialized manufacturing companies that offer their services on a contract basis are known as agile manufacturers. R&D centers developing new hardware innovations often turn to agile manufacturers in Silicon Valley, who provide prototyping and early production runs of new hardware so tech companies can actualize their innovations with greater speed. These AMs are often also critical design partners, employing high-level engineers and designers who work collaboratively with R&D partners to produce new products. Silicon Valley has one of the largest concentrations of manufacturing in high technology industries in the country, with more than 75 percent of manufacturing jobs in the San Jose metro area in “very” high technology industries, the highest proportion of any other metro area in the U.S. Background
The Smart Buildings industry is gaining momentum as the public and private sector seek lower energy bills and healthier work and home space increases in the region and world. In addition, governments are establishing green building and energy efficiency standards that spur demand for these products and services. Smart Buildings includes companies that design, develop, manufacture, sell or install products that make buildings more efficient and sustainable. Smart buildings companies in Silicon Valley are active across the building life cycle, ranging from new construction or renovation to operation and maintenance. Silicon Valley has a regional advantage in Smart Buildings as the location of cutting-edge technology companies that are creating products and services for buildings that utilize a combination of connected hardware and software to optimize building operations. Background