Gathering at the UCSF’s newest campus at Mission Bay, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, SF Mayor Gavin Newsom, Sean Randolph, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, Dale Bonner, California’s Secretary for Business, Transportation and Housing, John Kao, author of ‘Innovation Nation’ and ‘Jamming – The Art and Discipline of Business Creativity’ and a host of others discussed why the Bay Area was a leader in the world of innovation and would continue to be so in green tech, biotech, digitech, environmental stewardship, and high tech creativity.
Tom Stiers, of Farollon Partners gave opening remarks and cited the Bay Area’s willingness to embrace change as a significant contributor to our being innovation leaders.
Speaker Pelosi praised
Mayor Newsom talked about the effort his predecessor (Mayor Willie Brown) and he went through to turn Mission Bay into the high-tech center that it is today, beginning with getting UCSF to open an extension there, and then to win the right to locate the state’s Stem Cell Research Center there. There were the ‘four Ps’ that made
Author John Kao said the country needs a ‘national innovation agenda’ and suggested it should be modeled after what the country did in the late 1950’s when the Soviet Union launched sputnik thus galvanizing the U.S. into beefing up its space and science education programs. He said it would need to be based on three things: realizing we are in a global competitive environment, sharpening our creativity to focus on new ideas with a desired outcome in mind (‘user-centered design format’), rather than basic research, and, thirdly, to create ‘innovation clusters’ such as was employed in the Manhattan Project or the Apollo project to create an environment that is self-enriching. He cautioned that all countries, not just a few, can win in the ‘innovation race’.
Dale Bonner, Secretary of Business, Transportation, and Housing for the State of
Regis Kelly, the head of QB3, a consortium of three universities that connects the private sector to life science studies at UCB, UC Santa Cruz, and UCSF, said
Michael Cohen, the Mayor’s Director for Economic and Workforce Development, stated that ‘Burning Man’ may have saved San Francisco’s economy because our current biotech industry grew out of a ‘yeasty environment’ which was the result of San Francisco’s having a rich diversity, a history of having fun (‘Summer of Love’), and being an interesting, and edgy place to be. Cohen also announced that the city would be establishing a United Nations Global Compact Center at the Hunter’s Point shipyard Parcel C as part of a planned 2.5 million sq. ft green technology campus.