Exploring the Not-So-Final Frontier

By Michelle Grainger

Can a co-working office space featuring free coffee, exercise machines, a vertical garden, access to conference rooms and an invitation to a weekly food-truck rodeo spur innovation? The folks who manage the Research Triangle Park Foundation think so. This space, which they’ve called the Frontier, represents the first phase of a transformative redevelopment plan for RTP that includes mixed-development standbys such as restaurants, shops, apartments, and a hotel.

The Frontier serves as a dramatic but comfortable backdrop for events.

The Frontier serves as a dramatic but comfortable backdrop for events.

And we’re pleased to be a part of it. This past summer, CIMS expanded our offices beyond the N.C. State campus to include a new space in the Frontier building in the Park Center located at 800 Park Office Drive in RTP. Bob Geolas, president of the RTP Foundation, calls the 142,000-square-foot Frontier building “the largest open innovation center in America.”

The facility is so impressive that we’re holding our annual conference there later this month. The two-day event is open to the public and will feature a keynote presentation by Dr. Terri Griffith, associate dean of the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University, on letting go of attitudes that hinder open innovation.

Co-working can encourage innovation.

Co-working can encourage innovation.

The opening of our new RTP office puts us closer to some of the world’s leading innovators, including one of our member companies, BASF. Other prominent RTP tenants include Cisco, GlaxoSmithKline, Research Triangle International (RTI), Sun Microsystems, IBM, Biogen , and Bayer  Crop Science. RTP is also the home to dozens of start-ups, some of whom are our neighbors in the Frontier space and quite a few of whom will become the next Ciscos, IBMs and GSKs.

Having a presence in RTP means CIMS is also neighbors with the college and university it calls home. We’re just down the road from the RTP satellite office of the Jenkins MBA program offered through N.C. State’s Poole College of Management.

CIMS and the MBA program share an address with more than 200 companies and over 50,000 people with expertise in fields such as micro-electronics, telecommunications, biotechnology, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and environmental sciences. Industries invest more than $296 million in R&D at the region’s universities each year – double the average R&D investment for other U.S. innovation clusters. So we’re in great company.

If you want to experience the embodiment of open innovation while learning about open innovation practices your company can adopt, there’s still time to register for the CIMS 2015 Conference

Want more information on the Frontier? Here’s a link.


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