The Ann Arbor SPARK - Network Intelligence as a driver for the emergence of a next generation science and technology park




innovation, entrepreneurship, science and technology park, Triple Helix, Knowledge Triangle, Network Intelligence, Network IQ, Industry 4.0


In this article, we review the evolution of the phenomenon known as science and technology parks (STPs) as an instrument designed to spur innovation and entrepreneurship at the level of a regional ecosystem. We develop a concept of the next generation of STP, or STP 2.0, as a network of co-located entrepreneurial firms and as a vital node in the value creation networks in a region. We build our definition based on diverse value creation networks such as examples in Triple Helix and Knowledge Triangle. We analyse the human and social factors related to the effectiveness of utilising networks for innovation towards diverse goals in the paradigm theorised as Network Intelligence Framework, Then, we describe the creation and evolution of Ann Arbor Spark as an example of SPT 2.0 focusing on its organisational design as a community platform, its culture of networking across the silos of research and industry and specific projects designed to accelerate time from labs to markets in the post-industrial region of the Rust Belt Michigan in the US. We end the article with a list of conclusions that can inform the design of new and the transformation of existing STPs designed and managed primarily as a real estate investment under the false assumption that the pure co-location of entrepreneurial agents in a physical location spurs innovation and entrepreneurship.


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Author Biographies

Daria Tataj, Tataj Innovation

Dr. Daria Tataj (Entrepreneur Motivational Speaker), Founder & CEO of Tataj Innovation, is the world expert on innovation networks. Tataj Innovation empowers entrepreneurs through Network Thinking, a methodology based on 15+ years of Daria’s research done in collaboration with Prof. Manuel Castells. Prof. Castells endorsed her book ‘Innovation and Entrepreneurship’ as a fundamental book that will reshape the way we think about innovation. He now acts as an advisor to Tataj Innovation. Daria’s research impacted Europe’s innovation ecosystems. She is one of the architects of the EIT (European Institute of Innovation & Technology) and EIC (European Innovation Council), two key funding institutions for entrepreneurship and disruptive innovation in Europe, as well as a mission-oriented policy approach. Daria held senior roles as a Chair of Advisors to EU Commissioner for Research, and WEF’s Digital Leader in 2017. She founded Vital Voices Chapter in Poland and is currently an Advisory Board Member of two do-tanks: Re-Imagine Europa in Paris and Digital future Society in Barcelona.

Paul Louis Krutko, Ann Arbor SPARK

Paul Krutko

Paul Krutkohas been Ann Arbor SPARK’s president and CEO since 2011. Ann Arbor SPARK is a public-private partnership of business, government and academic institutions working to create economic prosperity in the Ann Arbor area of innovation. In his role as CEO, he leads the organization’s efforts to expand the regional economy through initiatives to support entrepreneurs and early stage companies accelerating their growth to full potential. SPARK curates and implements a strategic framework designed to maintain and to enhance the region's global competitiveness.

Paul has more than four decades of economic and community expertise. He led San Jose, California's economic development efforts in Silicon Valley where he served as chief development officer. He also had similar leadership roles in Cleveland Ohio and Jacksonville Florida. Paul founded Peloton Development, a consultancy devoted to advising businesses and municipal, regional, state and national governments on economic development and climate prosperity strategies and on creating high performing economic development leaders and teams.

In addition to his responsibilities as SPARK CEO, Paul Krutko was honored to serve as chair of the preeminent professional economic development organization in the world, the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). Paul was founding chair ofthe Economic Development Research Partnership. He was designated an Honorary Life Member of IEDC in 2013. Paul is immediate past Chair of the Board of the International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation (IASP) serving in that capacity from 2019-2021. He is also Treasurer of the American Center for Mobility.

He earned a Bachelor of Urban Planning and Design degree from the University of Cincinnati, College of Design, Architecture and Artin 1979.

Joan Bellavista, University of Barcelona

Dr. Joan Bellavista has been involved for 20 years as director and advisor in the Science and Technology Parks business. Member of the Board of Directors and Past President of the International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation (IASP), and President of International Affairs of the Spanish Association of Science and Technology Parks (APTE) for 15 years. Former Delegate of the President at the Barcelona Science Park, and Managing Director of the Catalan Network of Science and Technology Parks (XPCAT) for 9 years. Professor at the Faculty of Economics and Business University of Barcelona since 1995 and University of Barcelona Distinguished Teaching Award 2018, in 2007 he was named member of the Advisory Council for Science and Technology of the Spanish Government. In 2011 was also accredited as “International Expert in Science and Technology Parks” by the IASP.


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How to Cite

Tataj, Daria, Paul Louis Krutko, and Joan Bellavista. 2022. “The Ann Arbor SPARK - Network Intelligence As a Driver for the Emergence of a Next Generation Science and Technology Park”. Journal of Evolutionary Studies in Business 7 (2):100-132.