Civic News
Communities / Events / Innovation / Philly Tech Week / Technology

Innovation happens at the gaps: Welcome to Philly Tech Week 2023

After the pandemic, the question isn’t about what we build, but where we build it, CEO Christopher Wink writes in welcoming you to PTW.

Philly Tech Week is here. ( file photo)

This editorial article is a part of State of Local Tech Month of’s editorial calendar.

Tech and innovation are evocative terms with overlapping meanings.

Put simply, technology is commercialized science. Innovation is new solutions for old problems.

Entire economic development strategies involve decoding those two terms and how to balance them. Regions who prefer the term “tech” often focus on workforce and company type. Those who lead with “innovation” are often attempting a more generalized approach — the barbershop with a new payment system can be as innovative as a gene therapy firm, can’t it?

Bundle them together and, clumsy as the language might be, you’re addressing the economic needs of today. Computing and the internet are decades-old technologies that underpin the productivity gains and inventions of today’s digital innovation. That requires a retooled workforce: Software needs to be written; hardware needs to be designed; processes need to be developed; and products and services need to be sold. AI has reached an inflection point but it, too, was already underway in research labs and businesses around the world.

After the dust settles on the COVID-19 pandemic, the big question isn’t about what we build, but where we build it.

Enter the 13th annual Philly Tech Week presented by Comcast, the first fully in-person open calendar of events celebrating technology, entrepreneurship and innovation in four years. In 2020 and 2021, we were entirely remote, and last year we had a kind of hybrid edition. Now we’re back. More than 40 events take place, with topics both for local and national audiences. On Thursday May 11, the Builders Conference and evening Signature Event will help close out the week — and I’ll offer my own big narrative of where tech economies go next.

All along, has asked just about anyone who would answer: What does local mean now?

The answer seems clearer now than they did at the pandemic’s outset. Individual work may happen best remotely, but collaboration doesn’t. A 2018 research paper argued that innovation happens best when strong ties develop around “structural holes,” or gaps in institutions. Put another way, smart people on different teams having coffee at a conference or grabbing another slice of pizza at a meetup are good for big new ideas.

That’s why I bet cities will continue to endure. It’s why an open calendar of events collectively marketed and widely shared is the best tool for economic gains. One theory as to why Silicon Valley developed where it did, as opposed to, say, Boston, is that California had a more permissive culture in which researchers, technologists and entrepreneurs swapped ideas more freely.

Give the Philly Tech Week calendar a look. Go to those relevant to your work. Stretch beyond it. Be open. Be free. You’ll develop tech skills and be likely to spark some innovation. We need it.

See the PTW23 calendar

Series: State of Local Tech Month 2023

Before you go...

Please consider supporting to keep our independent journalism strong. Unlike most business-focused media outlets, we don’t have a paywall. Instead, we count on your personal and organizational support.

3 ways to support our work:
  • Contribute to the Journalism Fund. Charitable giving ensures our information remains free and accessible for residents to discover workforce programs and entrepreneurship pathways. This includes philanthropic grants and individual tax-deductible donations from readers like you.
  • Use our Preferred Partners. Our directory of vetted providers offers high-quality recommendations for services our readers need, and each referral supports our journalism.
  • Use our services. If you need entrepreneurs and tech leaders to buy your services, are seeking technologists to hire or want more professionals to know about your ecosystem, has the biggest and most engaged audience in the mid-Atlantic. We help companies tell their stories and answer big questions to meet and serve our community.
The journalism fund Preferred partners Our services

Join our growing Slack community

Join 5,000 tech professionals and entrepreneurs in our community Slack today!


Philadelphia Police are investigating vandalism at the home of a Ghost Robotics exec and the company’s Penn HQ

Top 3 vital trends founders should know before pitching investors in 2024

An OpenAI advisor wants to help tech leaders embrace the humanities

How a Philly gun detection startup raised millions in a tough environment: ‘Give a damn’

Technically Media