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How MIT is supporting innovation in Britain


Phil Budden is a senior lecturer faculty member at MIT’s Management School, and – as a former British diplomat (ex-FCO) – is advisor to MIT’s global REAP programme. In this article, he reveals how MIT has been helping Britain’s ‘innovation ecosystems’, both in London and beyond.

Britain’s economic and industrial success was built historically on a unique blend of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Building on its role in the scientific, financial and ‘Glorious’ revolutions, London gave birth to the world’s industrial revolution in the 1700s and, as such, created the planet’s first ‘innovation ecosystem’.

For centuries, Britain led the way, until it seemed to lose the formula to this success.

While later hubs of innovation—such as Boston, then Silicon Valley and more recently Israel – had captured the popular imagination and global bragging rights by the end of the last millennium, London had become better known for its concentration of high finance, high fashion and corporate headquarters....