I recently attended the 2008 Triple Helix Innovation Summit in Waikiki (what’s not to like?). The aim of the Institute is to “harness and leverage the complementary expertise of academia, industry, and government to facilitate new systems for innovation and novel collaborative processes for creative development.” Basically, the institute is trying to figure out how to harness and unleash the collective brainpower and experience of corporations, scientists, and academics to improve the world we live in – by being more innovative.
This year, a select group of 87 thought leaders gathered together for a meeting of minds. The group was comprised of… college deans, inventors, social networking experts, government leaders from the top government research labs, economists, biologists, futurists, astronauts, writers, engineers…and many other fascinating people. Through a series of networking sessions and thought-provoking presentations, participants discussed such topics as:
- What are the best tools for idea sharing and collaboration?
- Why is ‘trust’ the #1 thing that holds us back from collaborating more?
- How do we measure innovation?
- Who is doing triple helix innovation, and what are some global partnerships to watch?
- How does co-creation happen – in the real world, and in virtual worlds?
And the Hula Welcome and sunset wrap-up session on the ocean weren’t bad either. Here are just a few tidbits I found particularly fascinating:
- Learning from nature produces wild (and often breakthrough) innovations. Spider silk is one material that healthcare organizations and governments are exploring for use in bandages and sutures (it’s one of the few materials that actually contracts, not expands, when it gets wet). But mass farming spiders is another story…they eat each other).
- There are 18 major, federally funded labs that are networked together though the FLC (Federal Laboratory Consortium) Locator Service. People or organizations can post a scientific or developmental need to the service, which is then distributed to the appropriate lab and inventor for answers and investigation. These labs are funded with billions of dollars and are doing incredible development work that you can access.
- Geopresence: The marriage of tech+GPS capabilities let you know if people you know are near where you are, or just to better know what’s going on around you. Point your phone at the movie theater you’re in front of, and access its movie schedule with a click. Point it at a building and see if your friends are inside. And much more. Many of the summit’s attendees think this is the future of mobile technology.
- Measuring innovation is still a conundrum for most organizations – and this group brainstormed 40 different metrics to consider in a matter of 5 minutes.
A tip our team actively practices here at futurethink is that to learn something new, you have to meet someone new. I met 87 international colleagues who can teach me new things for years to come.