Partnership works to monitor innovation in Roanoke - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Partnership works to monitor innovation in Roanoke

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When speaking of innovation, typically what comes to mind are advancements in social media, cell phones and software.

"it's really more diverse than what people realize."

John Hull with the Roanoke Regional Partnership, however, translates innovation into dollar signs. He's been monitoring how it's impacting economics in the area.

"A lot of times innovation is the impetus of future success. It's a future product," Hull said.

  We wanted to know how Roanoke is measuring up Hull and his team have compared Roanoke with six other cities of the same size.

Scoring from 25 to 150 Roanoke scores 53 and ranks third highest above Spartanburg, Chattanooga, Ashville and Lynchburg but is still well below the national average.

But according to Hull's report there are some areas Roanoke excels well above the national average.

Right now key strengths are in manufacturing. In fact, Roanoke is six times the national average for electrical equipment and doubles the national average in communications equipment.

Hull says this is mainly due to general electric which leads the way is unique patents each year. In 2011 GE had 36 new patents, that's more than three times the next highest company.

While GE leads the valley locally in innovation, the Roanoke Regional Partnership is hoping to continue that success in the medical industry and they say that could be soon to come.

"Roanoke has a real opportunity with the concentration of Carilion here, the regional presence of Carilion,"

Hull says that opportunity will come when broadband is finally established here in the Roanoke Valley paving the way for tele-medicine and new advancements in health care.

Research hull says that will not only better the area we live in through technology, but an increase in revenue

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