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Leslie Berlin
Leslie Berlin

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – When it comes to creating an innovation economy, according to tech historian Leslie Berlin, Silicon Valley can be a model, but creating a carbon copy isn’t feasible.

At The Atlantic’s Silicon Valley Summit conference today, Berlin, a Project Historian for the Silicon Valley Archives at Stanford, said that the creation of Silicon Valley can’t really happen anywhere else, and other regions shouldn’t try to simply re-create it.

“This was the result of a very specific set of historical confluences and circumstances that came together the way they did,” she said.

Instead, Berlin emphasized that regions interested in building out an innovation economy should play to their own strengths and their own culture, rather than looking to the Valley as a monolithic model.

Gov. Jay Inslee speaking at Startup Day.
Gov. Jay Inslee speaking at Startup Day.

That’s an important lesson, since there’s a tremendous amount of opportunity for regions to encourage innovation and growth in their own tech sectors, especially as the cost of living in the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley continues to rise.

Seattle has been making its own strides in that regard, bolstering its startup ranks through efforts at the University of Washington as well as a new city-backed startup initiative (which barely escaped the budget axe).

At the recent GeekWire Startup Day event in Seattle, Gov. Jay Inslee noted that the region has the opportunity to lead the world in what he dubbed “innovation per dollar.”

“I believe we lead the world in IPD right here in the state of Washington,” Inslee said. “It’s throughout our geekdom — it’s in aerospace, in energy, in transportation, in software, in the gaming industry.”

Previously on GeekWireThe top 3 cities for startups: Austin, Seattle and Boulder

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