Invention and Reinvention: The Evolution of San Diego’s Innovation Economy

Invention and Reinvention: The Evolution of San Diego’s Innovation Economy (Innovation and Technology in the World E) Paperback


Formerly prosperous cities across the United States, struggling to keep up with an increasingly global economy and the continued decline of post-war industries like manufacturing, face the issue of how to adapt to today’s knowledge economy. In Invention and Reinvention, authors Mary Walshok and Abraham Shragge chronicle San Diego’s transformation from a small West Coast settlement to a booming military metropolis and then to a successful innovation hub. This instructive story of a second-tier city that transformed its core economic identity can serve as a rich case and a model for similar regions.
Stressing the role that cultural values and social dynamics played in its transition, the authors discern five distinct, recurring factors upon which San Diego capitalized at key junctures in its economic growth. San Diego—though not always a star city—has been able to repurpose its assets and realign its economic development strategies continuously in order to sustain prosperity. Chronicling over a century of adaptation, this book offers a lively and penetrating tale of how one city reinvented itself to meet the demands of today’s economy, lighting the way for others.

Editorial Reviews


“Throughout my career in public office, I was conscious of the need for a good history about the dynamic south west corner of our state. Mary Walshok and Abe Shragge have captured a century and a half of San Diego history in a book that will ring true for anyone who has been engaged in its political and economic evolution over the last fifty years.”—Pete Wilson, Former California State Assemblyman, Mayor of San Diego, U.S. Senator, and Governor of California

“This is an important, pioneering book that contributes to our unique understanding of how one place, San Diego, has achieved what most places want: the capacity to evolve and meet the challenges of a constantly changing global economic environment. Walshok and Shragge help us understand why some places thrive while others wiither.”—David B. Audretsch, Indiana University and Author of The Entrepreneurial Society

“The San Diego region has long deserved a really comprehensive history of how its economy emerged from a primarily military and defense contracting town into one of the leading innovation regions in America. This book describes that journey and contains a number of insights that will be extremely useful to other regions that are trying to reinvent themselves.”—Richard Florida, Author of The Rise of the Creative Class, Director, Martin Prosperity Institute, University of Toronto and the Creative Class Group

“San Diego has a unique history in terms of its long relationship with the federal government, and especially the military, which this book captures superbly. Especially relevant is the discussion of the role that the research institutions on the Torrey Pines Mesa played in the transformation of the region’s economy. A wonderfully engaging book for anyone interested in trying to realize the social and economic benefits of basic research.”—Richard C. Atkinson, President Emeritus, University of California and Director, National Science Foundation 1977–1980

“Having been an early faculty member at the UCSD School of Medicine, a founder of Hybritech, and an investor in many of San Diego’s biotech companies, I am impressed with how well this book captures the dynamics shaping San Diego’s emergence as a world class science hub.”—Ivor Royston, Founding Managing Partner, Forward Ventures and Founder, Hybritech

About the Author

Mary Lindenstein Walshok is Associate Vice Chancellor of Public Programs, Dean of University Extension, and Adjunct Professor of Sociology at the University of California, San Diego. She is the author of Blue Collar WomenKnowledge Without BoundariesClosing America’s Job Gap, and co-editor of Creating Competitiveness. She is also a co-founder of CONNECT, a renowned innovation cluster development organization. Abraham J. Shragge received his Ph.D. in Modern United States History from the University of California, San Diego. He is a curator of the Veterans Museum and Memorial Center in Balboa Park and Coordinator of the San Diego Ex-Prisoners of War Oral History Project. Shragge is currently a Visiting Professor at the Korea Development Institute School of Public Policy and Management.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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