The Space Coast is known for many firsts in innovation and technology; from NASA’s first launch in 1950, to man’s first steps on the moon in 1969. Fast forward 50 years and today our region is once again pioneering the innovative ecosystem through our private space industry, high-tech manufacturing sector and educational organizations. It is this new age of innovation which was a key factor for another significant first. In September, the Space Coast became the first United States venue for the Innovation Management World Congress, ISO 56000, hosted by the Center for Innovation Management & Business Analytics at the Florida Institute of Technology and the International Association of Innovation professionals.

ISO, or The International Organization for Standardization, was founded in 1946 “to facilitate the international coordination and unification of industrial standards.” To date, ISO has published tens of thousands of standards covering virtually all parts of manufacturing and technology. These standards help consumers understand the quality and safety of products and services, benefit businesses to increase productivity and reduce costs, as well as increase marketplace advantage.

Taking our place in innovation history

When innovation is unpredictable, so is growth. Dr. Abram Walton of Florida Tech explains that the gap in economic value creation between those who can identify and capitalize on new opportunities and those who cannot is growing disproportionately. Of the world’s 6,000 largest public and private organizations, 10% are capturing 80% of the economic profit, with a mere 58 of those firms accounting for 6% of the total profit. Staggeringly, over 95% of new product innovations and 50% of product improvement initiatives fail, with only 3,000 out of 1.5 million U.S. patents being commercially viable. This means 99.8% of those patent efforts consume resources but fail in the market. Winning organizations are those that level-up their ability to create predictable and sustainable competitive advantage by strategically and systematically implementing proven innovation methodologies that execute on the most Innovative and profitable opportunities.

This year’s ISO Congress, ISO 56000, will shape the future of innovation. Why is this critical? Bartlett D. Cleland, Executive Director of the Innovation Economy Institute, explains that not all national policy is made in the U.S. Congress or in the state legislatures. Some are found elsewhere, such as the International Organization for Standardization.

Cleland describes the ISO 56000 series of standards as a means for organizations to share their best practices in innovation management. The new standards will enable collaboration and development of innovations, to make innovation predictable, measurable, and repeatable. Decisions were made around intellectual property, audits, assessments, idea management and even definitions and terminology. And this all took place at the Space Coast’s own Florida Tech, cementing our place in the innovative history books.

What ISO 56000 brings to the Space Coast, and beyond:

  • Over 75 thought leaders from ISO’s 164 national standards bodies created international exposure to our region.
  • These thought leaders discovered more about the history and future of the space industry that is rooted in our community, as well as the best and brightest of what our region has to offer, creating possible opportunities for investment in the future.
  • ISO 56000 will spin off partnerships, creating valuable and rare sustainable competitive advantages.
  • ISO 56000 demonstrated to a global audience that the Space Coast, much like Silicon Valley, is a key location for innovation and technology.
  • The standards created at Florida Tech are the culmination of hundreds of studies from over a decade of research and collaboration from the best minds across the globe.
  • There are around 1.5 million patents in the U.S., yet only around 3,000 of them are commercially viable, and with ineffective innovation practices the growth of these innovations is up to chance. Creating standards for innovation will ensure a level playing field, enabling competitiveness in the international marketplace.

To learn more about ISO 56000 visit

Lynda L. Weatherman
President & CEO of the Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast

Lynda L. Weatherman is the President & CEO of the Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast.  She administers all operations and provides strategic direction to an organization responsible for a $2 million budget within a 1,557 Sq. mile area that is the Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titsuville MSA.