'Innovate 2 Innovation' Envisions Resurgent California
August 17, 2011
In a not too distant California future,
students experience classrooms as a rich, multimedia virtual concept instead of a
physical space. They graduate into a workforce and marketplace that thrives on the
seamless, constant conversion of intellectual ability into economic power.
Part of that workforce successfully applies the latest technology solutions to
ensure water quality, restore watersheds, repair habitats and develop new products and
services that address California's water challenges.
California is back, having recaptured its role as global leader in innovation.
A lofty goal in a California presently defined by budget challenges and economic
morass, but entirely within the state's reach if it follows a detailed plan, such as one
outlined in a report to the California Legislature released today by the California Council
on Science and Technology (CCST).
"Innovate 2 Innovation," or "i2i," presents an action plan that would restore
California's magnetic attraction for talent and unparalleled reputation for scientific
research and high technology.
"This report is timely, as California's leaders determine how best to nurture the
innovations that will grow our economy," said Senate President pro Tem Darrell
Steinberg. "CCST's report reassures us about what's right with California - the assets on
which we can build, to ensure California continues to enhance its science and
technology industry from the classroom to the workplace. At the same time, it maps
out thoughtful recommendations to address the fundamental challenges to California's
future competitiveness. We look forward to reviewing these recommendations."
To underline i2i's call for innovation, CCST deployed a remote response medical
robot, RP-7, that delivered i2i to a gathering of California legislators in Room 1190.
Remotely piloting the robot from the Santa Barbara headquarters of InTouch
Health was company founder Yulun Wang, precisely the type of high-tech entrepreneur
i2i has in mind for a resurgent California. Appearing on the robot's head-mounted
monitor, Wang literally put a face on the i2i report's mission and purpose.
"The recommendations outlined by CCST will help ensure
that our state becomes more competitive in the 21st Century Economy. I encourage the state
legislature to make these recommendations a top priority."
- Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom
The i2i report was produced by the California Council on Science and Technology
and facilitated by Collaborative Economics. The work was co-Chaired by Julie Meier
Wright, who served as the first secretary of California's Trade and Commerce Agency,
and Charles Kennel, Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science, Scripps Institution
of Oceanography. Mohammed Qayoumi, president of San Jose State University and
Anne Marie Bergen, Teacher in Residence, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, led the education
action team and Jude Laspa, former Executive Vice President and Director
Bechtel Group, Inc. led the water innovation action team. Producing the report involved
tapping into the creative spirits of thought leaders from throughout the State.
"California risks losing its place at the forefront of innovation, in the nation and
in the world. We need to recharge the connectivity between industry, science and
education to regain that position, and i2i is a set of instructions for achieving that
objective," Wright said.
The i2i report being delivered on August 17 to Assembly Members Manuel Perez, Marty Block, and
Anthony Portentino via a remote response medical robot piloted from Santa Barbara by InTouch Health founder Yulun Wang.
The i2i report lays out a three-pronged strategy that would strengthen
collaboration between industry and higher education, transform K-12 education into a
robust and digitally-driven learning environment, and apply technology to resolving
California's water issues at a level unknown today.
Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, who recently unveiled "An Economic Growth and
Competitiveness Agenda for California," recognized the role of innovation in delivering
California's Next Economy.
"Leadership in innovation is absolutely essential to the economic growth and
prosperity of California. The recommendations outlined by the California Council on
Science and Technology will help ensure that our state becomes more competitive in
the 21st Century Economy. I encourage the state legislature to make these
recommendations a top priority," said Newsom.
First, a California Innovation Corporation, or CIC, would provide a cohesive
setting for academic and industry leaders to work more closely together. Funded
privately, the Corporation would promote the commercialization of innovative products
and development while nurturing talent. By building a stronger and larger base of
researchers and entrepreneurs, California's faltering economy could again find its
footing and speed economic growth.
"Innovation-based models will help California prosper in the post-recession
economy, strengthening our human and physical infrastructure and spurring the
development of new technologies and products," said V. Manuel Pérez (D-Coachella),
chair of the Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economic Development and the Economy.
"By prioritizing innovation, we recommit to our workers, businesses, and communities
that California will remain a dominant player in the global economy, attracting new
private investment and creating jobs well into the 21st century."
Illustrating the need for more innovative leadership, i2i paints a stark picture of
California's current status. In a trend described as "alarming," California trails other
states in rates of growth. In 2004, the combined 39 million population of Texas, Virginia
and Washington included 213,000 engineers. By 2008, the number of employed
engineers had grown by 43,000. California, with roughly the same population,
introduced about half as much engineers into its workforce, despite its longtime role as
the epicenter of global high-tech industry.
The CIC would focus energy on closing that gap on several levels in addition to
building up the number of engineers and scientists in California. Along with widening
channels of cooperation between academia, research labs and industry, it would
support entrepreneurial leadership and strive to improve the state's business climate
for innovation industries.
The i2i report will be reviewed by the Assembly's new Select Committee on Job
Creation for the New Economy.
"The Committee will make it a priority to review CCST's recommendations for
California's leadership in innovation, the cornerstone of what we need to succeed in the
new economy," said Assemblymember Nathan Fletcher, who was just appointed by the
Speaker of the Assembly to chair the new committee.
If adopted, i2i's recommendations on K-12 education would likely become its
most visible, widespread and dramatic difference in day-to-day life in California. It calls
for every California child to have access to broadband capability. Under this scenario,
students would interact with teachers and explore subjects through mobile phones and
laptops inside and outside of a classroom.
Students would study math and science, but through groundbreaking new courses
that would depart from traditional teaching methods and prepare them for life in the
mid 21st century. Subjects could include Information and Media Literacy, and Economics,
Business and Entrepreneurial Literacy.
Achieving this would require revamping California's Education Code, which actually
works to block advances in digitally enhanced education, according to i2i. Related to this
is removing a roadblock to complete implementation of new standards adopted in 2010
for math, English, science and social science literacy, currently hung on a state
moratorium that delays developing new instructional materials until at least 2015.
It would also require a robust amount of private investment and enhanced publicprivate
partnerships. Leading the effort would be an organization similar to the CIC, a
California Education Innovation Consortium.
"We're still spending too much time preparing students for the 1990s instead of
2020 and beyond. Fortunately, many of the necessary advances in education are already
in place, ready to implement, provided certain barriers are removed. Within a few years,
the seeds of an economic revival for California could be growing in the minds today's
elementary school students," said Bergen, who led i2i's education team.
In addition to radical changes in education, the California economy requires an
innovative, more high-tech approach to what's become a perennial no-win dilemma -
water. However, i2i envisions a way out through a 10, 25 and 50-year road map.
Again calling for a mixture of public and private funding, i2i outlines how science and
technology should play a bigger role in forecasting water availability and demand,
ensuring water quality and restoring watersheds and riparian habitats. This can be
accomplished through a more aggressive use of satellite monitoring, membrane and
filtration technology and sensor technology.
A Water Road Map would be similar to the CCST's recently issued "California's
Energy Future," which filled in numerous blanks about ways the state could fulfill its
goal of mostly emissions-free energy generation by 2050.
"Water is a common denominator that's driving so many trends in California's
economic vitality, livability and capability to grow. The innovation we need to foster is
the same innovation that can balance water supply, with water demand, and water
quality," said Susan Hackwood, the executive director of the CCST.
Hackwood also noted that innovation-driven focus in education and water can lead
to new, job-creating private investment in California.
The CCST is a nonpartisan, impartial, nonprofit created in 1988 by a unanimous vote
of the California Legislature. It is designed to offer expert advice to the state
government and to recommend solutions on science and technology-related policy
issues. The CCST is governed by a board of directors composed of representatives from
its sponsoring academic institutions, from the corporate and business community, as
well as from the philanthropic community.