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Buy local, for fresh tech and ideas that help you succeed

Posted by Chad O'Connor  May 17, 2013 11:00 AM

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In order to support our innovation ecosystem, Massachusetts based companies should buy local when they can.

There are enormous benefits to having your best partners in your backyard: you can dig in with them, face to face, to truly understand and continuously learn, creating successful solutions; and you are fostering relationships that will help our innovation economy grow. It can help your own organization by bringing in new insight, fresh thinking and a fast infusion of innovative ideas.

Even if you can’t, in the end, buy from them, at least put our locally innovative companies on the top contenders list. Giving some of these companies a meeting, with a big name national or global company, can help them improve their product and adjust their pitch. Ultimately, it’s the kind of feedback they need to get to the next level and they can’t get it anywhere else.

It’s particularly front and center for me now. At MITX we are celebrating and showcasing some of the most exciting web and mobile companies in New England for our Annual MITX Innovation Awards program on June 3rd. Every year, we cull some of the best and brightest new tech products to shine a spotlight on their achievements. Many of these companies are presenting solutions that would be a perfect fit for big companies in our area.

I have heard of some great examples of this at work. When Children’s Hospital Boston wanted to create a system to bring its expertise and knowledge to critically ill children, regardless of location, technical infra-structure or level of understanding, they found IBM Interactive in Cambridge to build it. It’s now launched and is revolutionizing care around the world, capturing experts’ knowledge and allowing users & SMEs to have a global, interactive coaching/training experience with specialists regardless of location.

At our 2011 Innovation Awards, Constant Contact met CardStar, an award winning young start up, and a partnership ensued. Constant Contact looked to CardStar to bring important product help on mobile loyalty. CardStar was later acquired by Constant Contact after proving how truly valuable their work together could be.

Canton based international sneaker giant Reebok hired Promoboxx, a TechStars alum, to power local promotions for their urban and trend retailers. Having a key partner just a quick car ride away makes those important personal connections much easier. Picking Promoboxx gave them an option to succeed, bring some new innovative thinking into Reebok and gave Promoboxx the credibility they deserve by servicing a major brand.

These are only a few examples, and there is so much more opportunity on this front. Every big company, ad agency, academic institution, healthcare entity and government division should take a meeting with a locally-based company, whether the need is internal or external, to bring in these fresh ideas and new approaches. Particularly in areas like mobile, big data, cloud, digital marketing, virtualization -- we have some incredible companies that really know what they are doing, and we must use it to our advantage.

So, this is my rallying cry: Calling all Massachusetts Executives, Buy Local! Join us in making this top of mind within your own company and share your examples in the comments below so we can all learn more about how to make it happen.

Debi Kleiman is President of MITX, the Massachusetts Innovation and Technology Exchange, hosting FutureM on the future of marketing this October.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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