Thursday, March 31, 2011

March 21, 2011

California’s Innovation Initiative—Innovate to Innovation (i2i)
In 2010, legislators from both parties tasked the CA Council on Science and Technology to assess our state’s innovation ecosystem. The ecosystem approach acknowledges that like other critical issues, the challenge is complex, interdependent and solutions will require steward leadership of the whole. No one alone has domain over all the essential parts nor the expertise needed to craft a successful strategy. As new funding is unlikely, the solution is “barn raising”—reallocation of existing resources, philanthropic funding and contributions of time and talent. Collaboration is “changing in place” by shifting the mindset from siloes to shared outcomes.

The action team is a “first bus” of high level talent from industry, academia and government that will develop an Innovation Roadmap and Improve Critical Innovation Infrastructure.

The Roadmap will include:

1. Rapid application of research to use through policy and system changes, multi-sector financing and cross sectoral communications networks.

2. Create communities of collaboration—co-locate federal, state, private and technology assets—idea pressure cookers—to promote innovation, entrepreneurship, knowledge transfer and job creation.

The Infrastructure Improvements will include:

1. An educator alliance to fund, develop and deploy effective K-16 digitally enhanced education enabling personal customization and preparation of a globally competitive workforce.

2. Create a science and technology-based water road map to innovate across the entire water system, link water and energy technology, ag and biotech, and climate and conservation strategies. What It Means For Fresno and the San Joaquin Valley—Opportunity! For the past decade, our community and region have been building relationships across sectors, disciplines and geographies. The Regional Jobs Initiative, Human Investment Initiative, Smart Cities and the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley are all comprehensive approaches that are led by stewards of the whole. They create the essential “CEO function” needed to link, align and leverage assets from many places to achieve major outcomes.

The Lyles Center, the WET Incubator, the Central Valley Business Incubator, CART, K-12’s increasing focus on career and technical education are all assets we can assemble. All local school districts and our universities have embraced a unified approach called Strive, a Cincinnati created approach to education that Stanford research has determined holds great promise. Rising above collaboration, the effort creates a leadership team, “white space leaders and staff” who are responsible for linking, aligning and leveraging the assets of many players to achieve specific outcomes.

#2 on infrastructure is readymade for our region—the WET Incubator, the Water Technology Cluster, agriculture as a major industry, a growing international reputation—preparation meets opportunity = success. Check out the Blue Tech Valley Water Conference at theme is International Solutions to Regional Issues. Save the date—May 3 and 4th.

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