Cloud computing, big data, artificial intelligence (AI), robotic process automation (RPA), the Internet of Things (IoT) and mobile device ubiquity are not just buzz words and acronyms – they are earth-shaking changes in technical capability that enable companies to operate and delight their customers in ways they could not before. While startup technology companies often win headlines, what this digital shift really means is that nearly every company today is a “tech company.”
Whether offering digital products and services, improving internal and customer efficiencies, or shifting to entirely new digital markets, to remain competitive and grow, every company must innovate and transform how they do business.
In Ohio, our workforce, businesses, academic institutions, and medical and health systems are on the cutting edge of this digital shift. To get there, many are embracing the startup ethos of agility and innovation, creating partnerships, innovation hubs and labs that bring together multiple stakeholders with the ability to think beyond company lines, introducing and spawning new breakthrough ideas across industries.
And whether in industry or academia, those breakthroughs are happening at new and interesting spaces all around the state:
AEP’s Kyte Works
A wholly owned subsidiary of AEP, this innovation lab allows AEP to operate like a startup, creating new energy solutions and quickly validating them for market. Operating out of the Columbus Idea Foundry, Kyte Works allows different disciplines within AEP to come together to forge new, real-world business solutions.
Bounce Innovation Hub
Located in downtown Akron in the former BFGoodrich plant and opened in early 2018, Bounce serves as an incubator, accelerator and mentoring program, with more than 50 organizations in the building. Bounce accounts for more than 200 people working and creating in 300,000 square feet of office, lab and light manufacturing space.
Fuse by Cardinal Health
The Fortune 15 health solution provider’s innovation lab focuses on rapid design and prototyping to deliver technology-based, “human-centered” solutions that also meet business needs. Located just over a mile from company headquarters in Dublin, Ohio, the Fuse team works to create solutions that could have the biggest impact in a changing healthcare landscape.
Cleveland Clinic Innovations and Ventures
As the commercialization lab for Cleveland Clinic, Innovations helps turn the medical center’s breakthroughs, from medical devices and healthcare IT to therapeutics and diagnostics, into real-world solutions. Meanwhile, Ventures invests in emerging healthcare companies to deliver financial returns to the clinic’s foundation. That’s resulted in some 1,200 awarded patents, more than 500 licensing agreements as well as more than 80 spin-offs.
Plug and Play Cleveland
Plug and Play is the world’s largest innovation platform, investing in and accelerating startups. Moreover, they connect these startups with Plug and Play’s corporate partners to solve some of their greatest challenges, while investing in these new technologies. Cleveland is one of just three locations in North America and is focused on healthcare technology innovation.
The Point, JPMorgan Chase and Otterbein University
In September 2018, Chase announced plans, with support from JobsOhio, for a fintech R&D hub at Otterbein’s The Point in Westerville, Ohio. The new hub has three distinct innovations that combining teams made up of Chase employees and Otterbein students, with projects including robotics, software development, financial technology, IoT cybersecurity and data analytics.
The 1819 Innovation Hub – University of Cincinnati
The University of Cincinnati’s foray into corporate innovation has already drawn partners and investors like Procter & Gamble, Kroger, Cincinnati Bell and CincyTech. The lab and makerspace, which opened in October, provide a place for industry and business to work directly with students and faculty on their business and technical problems.
Wendy’s 90° Labs
In 2015, Wendy’s opened this dedicated lab that can house nearly 90 employees to explore forward-looking technologies to meet changing business needs. In particular, the fast-food chain is exploring consumer-facing opportunities such as mobile ordering, pay and other digital experiences like in-store kiosks – which are appearing in stores now – for taking orders and payment.
State Innovation Investment
Ohio is also home to an Entrepreneurial Service Provider (ESP) Program, establishing a network of labs and innovation spaces across the state to help startups grow, attract investment capital and create jobs in Ohio.
Powered by Ohio Third Frontier, which has invested some $1.5 billion in the program, ESP, like Rev1 Ventures in Columbus, CincyTech in Cincinnati, NextTech Ohio in Toledo and JumpStart Inc. in Cleveland, gives startups and technology-based entrepreneurs a single resource for technical and business support, as well as access to funding and capital. ESP has sparked dozens of successful startups across the state.
These are but a few examples of the culture of digital innovation occurring in Ohio. And ecosystems like these will continue to push Ohio to the forefront of IT and digital development, leading to new businesses and solutions for both customers and business.