Microsoft Launches Innovation & Policy Center in Cambridge
NEC member Microsoft recently opened its Innovation and Policy Center New England, establishing a central location for stakeholders within the technology and other communities to come together and discuss the relevant policymaking and political issues they face. Based at Microsoft’s Cambridge research facility, the center will host panel discussions featuring knowledge leaders within industry, government, and academia sharing their insights on various topics and issues that impact the region. Microsoft’s goals in launching the center are to stimulate economic growth, improve regional and cross-sector coordination on policy issues, and encourage policymakers to take concrete steps toward leveraging technological advances.
Microsoft has already established similar centers in Silicon Valley and Washington, DC, as well as other locations throughout the world. The Center will encourage the industry and indirect stakeholders to debate, coordinate, and take action to produce not only favorable policy outcomes but larger positive economic outcomes as well. For example, the Center would have discussed the 6.25% tax on software services that briefly became law in Massachusetts that caught many technology professionals off-guard and left them subsequently unprepared to quickly respond.
The new center will be led by Annmarie Levins, a member of the New England Council’s Board of Directors and Chair of the Technology Committee. Levins is associate general counsel in Microsoft’s newly created Technology & Civic Engagement Group.
“What I think we have an opportunity to do with the Innovation & Policy Center is demonstrate thought leadership, bringing together other constituencies to have a conversation, and hopefully come to one voice on issues that matter,” Levins told The Boston Globe.
Microsoft’s inaugural event at their new Center features a panel discussion on the importance of teaching computer science to students with the state school system. Going forward, Microsoft hopes that these events will lead to robust debates that will allow the relevant stakeholders to speak with one voice on important technology issues facing the New England region. The Innovation and Policy Center will have a small staff; showcasing the premium it places on bringing together different constituencies to foster discussion and give the Center its creative energy.