Studying the impact of innovation on business and society

TechCrunch: The Interdependency Of Stanford And Silicon Valley

by Ritika Trikha, excerpt

here was a time when Stanford University was considered a second-rate engineering school. It was the early 1940s, and the Department of Defense was pressed to assemble a top-secret team to understand and attack Germany’s radar system during World War II.

The head of the U.S. scientific research, Vannevar Bush, wanted the country’s finest radio engineer, Stanford’s Frederick Terman, to lead 800 researchers on this secret mission. But instead of basing the team at Terman’s own Stanford lab — a mere attic with a leaky roof — he was sent to the acclaimed Harvard lab to run the mission.

It’s hard to imagine Stanford passed over as an innovation hub today. Stanford has outpaced some of the biggest Ivy League universities in prestige and popularity. It has obliterated the traditional mindset that eliteness is exclusive to the Ivy League. Stanford has lapped top schools by centuries. It ranks in the top 3 in multiple global and national rankings (here, here and here).

Survey results point to Stanford as the No. 1 choice of most students and parents for the last few years, over Harvard, Princeton and Yale. In fact, even Harvard students have acknowledged Stanford’s notable rise in popularity.

Plus, an increasing number of non-tech companies are setting up R&D shops in Silicon Valley. Analyst Brian Solis recently led a survey of more than 200 non-tech companies; 61 percent of those had a presence in Silicon Valley, which helped them “gain access and exposure to the latest technology.”

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