Thursday, September 20, 2012

PNW Innovation Summit

Discussing Challenges, Envisioning the Path Forward

Pacific Northwest Innovation Summit logo
 ~ I was honored on Tuesday to be a panelist at the Pacific Northwest Innovation Summit, part of the ongoing 50th anniversary of the Seattle Center. The all-day event featured keynotes from Washington Lieutenant-Governor Brad Owen and Frank Blethen, publisher of the Seattle Times, as well as four panels on various aspects of entrepreneurship and innovation.

The entire event was streamed live, and you can watch the entire event here. The 3rd panel (of which I was a part) on fostering regional entrepreneurship, begins about 4:49:30.

The four main themes were
  • Strengthening the Innovation Ecosystem of Washington
  • Building Effective Collaborations across Borders
  • Fostering Entrepreneurship in the Pacific Northwest
  • Financing Technology Development, Commercialization and Start-ups
Each of the four panels was organized around one of these themes.

I intend to write a few posts in the next week on some of the details. While there was not total unanimity, some of the larger overall points of (mostly) agreement included:
  • Everyone likes the idea of more innovation, but specifics on how to promote it are lacking
  • We need to break down the silos. More collaboration (especially between business, government and academia) would be helpful, but where is the leadership?
  • There is no clear shared purpose that animates collaboration; leadership needed here.
  • Government probably would be much less effective promoting innovation directly, and probably cannot (or will not) get completely out of the way, but should create the conditions that would allow it to better flourish. Smarter regulation would help, especially in the area of startups and better coordination/consistency between different governments.
  • Work remains on intellectual property policy, especially in matters of global competitiveness and tort reform.
  • It won't be cheap, but there is money for compelling ideas.

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