Cortex serves as a model for districts worldwide to create systems, structures, incentives, and finance mechanisms to drive new waves of innovative growth.  


Cortex Innovation Community, a 200-acre innovation hub in St. Louis, has been named the global best practice for "Organizing for Success" by the Global Institute on Innovation Districts (GIID). The recognition acknowledges Cortex’s 20-year history of academic, private sector, civic, and government collaboration to generate regional economic growth. Cortex is recognized as a "Best Practice for Organizing for Success" for the efforts to support and coordinate intermediaries, for providing access to core labs and equipment, building a base of programs, developing a suite of financing mechanisms, and governance: multi-stakeholder model.


“Organizing for Success” identifies Cortex as a model for districts worldwide for how to orchestrate growth, including moving forward with a set of deliberate acts and decisions to help create new organizations and to drive change. Through 2020, GIID evaluated nine innovation districts, including districts in Be’er Sheva, Melbourne, Pittsburgh, and Wake Forest, in an effort to better understand this emerging model as an avenue for producing inclusive growth. GIID concluded, "Since 2002, Cortex has methodically developed a range of systems, structures, incentives, and finance mechanisms to drive new waves of innovative growth. Cortex has demonstrated how a leadership class—aligned with purpose and ambition—can create a growing market in the midst of broader economic challenges at the regional level."


Julie Wagner, President of the Global Institute on Innovation Districts, said, “Some could believe that the success of an innovation district is the pooling of R&D actors into geography or locale. What drives the long-term success of an innovation district is how a collection of actors are elevated into something far more collaborative and synergistic. This takes leadership, vision, and the extraordinary ability to create support systems and structures that transform individual buildings and companies into an innovation community.”


For Cortex, the recognition as Best Practice: "Organizing for Success" aligns with the recent unveiling of the Cortex City Case, a report presented by Bruce Katz, Drexel University, Nowak Metro Finance Lab, in collaboration with Washington University in St. Louis. The City Cortex Case details how Cortex was originated, has evolved, and the impact the innovation hub has in St. Louis's economic development.


“Cortex began as a collaboration between anchor institutions and the City of St. Louis to build a vehicle for regional economic growth and redevelopment in Midtown. Through careful guidance and leadership, Cortex has developed into a world-class center for innovation, collaboration, and entrepreneurship. This recognition represents the leadership and work that has gone before me, and I look forward to bringing Cortex into the future with strategic, inclusive growth as we seek to reach our goal of building the most inclusive and equitable innovation community across the world.” said Sam Fiorello, Cortex President & CEO.


Article provided by Cortex Staff