David Kirkpatrick (all photos by Asa Mathat)
Michael A. Finney
Michael A. Finney
President and CEO, Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)
Founder and CEO, Techonomy
M. Roy Wilson
President, Wayne State University
Read the full transcript below. (Transcript by Realtime Transcription.)
For more about Techonomy Detroit, including a complete archive of videos and transcripts, click here.
Kirkpatrick: Ladies and gentlemen, please take your seats. Our presentation is about to begin. Thank you.
All right. Welcome, everybody. I’m David Kirkpatrick of Techonomy. Keep streaming in. So you know, when you think about technology, it makes you optimistic. And that’s really what we are here to express, to understand and to talk about all day today. The way that technology is transforming the economy, jobs, economic growth, cities, and our own lives in tremendously positive ways, but in ways that we can’t take for granted, that we have to actively embrace and sort of take hold of, so we are here in Detroit, as a company that generally thinks globally, because we think the United States, as a country, really doesn’t sufficiently embrace this set of realities, despite the fact we are seen as the home of the global Internet industry and all that.
The fact is our education system is ridiculously backwards. There’s a whole set of new technologies and approaches for innovation, product development, company creation, entrepreneurship that are still confined to sort of the margins of the economy, because only young people seem to understand them.
So we are really committed to everybody understanding the sharing economy, 3D printing, the role of collaboration in product development, and a lot of other things. There’s few select big companies that get that stuff, but not enough. And there’s certainly not enough cities that have embraced this set of realities.
And we’re very excited about being in Detroit for several reasons: One is that Detroit has kind of gone down so far that open-mindedness is a lot more prevalent here than in a lot of other parts of the country. That’s a fact. I think you see tremendous interest in the new ways of doing things here, and we’ll hear a lot about that today, even from our opening session on education. It’s amazing some of the things that are happening here in education reform.
So anyway, we are committed to Detroit, Techonomy is here for the duration. This is our second annual Techonomy Detroit conference. You will see us here every year, maybe more often than once a year, and we want to really thank you all for being here with us.
I want to bring out our host, our physical host, Roy Wilson, who is the brand-new president of Wayne State University. He’s been president of Wayne State for six weeks and his—but what a great place. This is an amazing institution, which we have gotten to know very well in the last two years, and we love this auditorium, we love this school.
Dr. Wilson has been deputy director of the National Institutes of Health, the dean of the School of Medicine at Creighton University, and a very important researcher on glaucoma and blindness in the developing world. So I’d like to turn it over to Roy Wilson.
Wilson: Good morning, and welcome to Wayne State University. I can almost welcome you to my home. I live just 30 steps—in this building actually, so welcome. We’re thrilled to have this impressive gathering, such an ambitious agenda taking place right here on our campus. I’m well-acquainted with the possibilities of new technology, certainly in my own field of ophthalmic surgery, but well beyond.
In my current role, I’m particularly interested, in fact, fascinated by the role of technology in transforming education, particularly higher education. I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen over the next five to 10 years in education, but I can tell you this: It will be different from what it is now, and technology and entrepreneurship will have a major driving role in creating that difference.
I know that this is a topic that you will be discussing today. Education will look different. How different it will be? You may gain some insights today. So it promises to be an exciting venture in that right.
It is appropriate and timely that Detroit headlines the agenda also. I have been asked many, many times if I knew what I was getting into a couple of months ago, when I accepted this job here at Wayne State. The answer is absolutely; but not only absolutely, but it was really one of the reasons why I came here. I feel very strongly that this is an opportunity to be part of the reinvention of a great American city. We have the potential to do something really great here, and some of the people who are responsible for this transformation are right here in this room, making it happen. How neat is that?
I was looking through this book just a minute ago, the agenda, and I note that the second lecture is titled What Makes Cities Great. I submit to you that one of the factors that makes a city great is the presence of a great university. And that’s the role that we want to play for Detroit, a great university in a great city.
I hope that your discussions are productive and thought-provoking. Again, thank you very much for being here today. It’s really our honor to host you.
Kirkpatrick: Thank you, Roy. I want to thank our host partner, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and their Pure Michigan initiative. In just a minute, Mike Finney, who runs the MEDC will be here to talk to you; but first, MEDC’s put together a little video we’re going to show you, so take a look.
Finney: Good morning and welcome to Techonomy. Detroit and Michigan, a city and a state both synonymous with innovation and high technology discovery, are the perfect backdrops for this unique gathering of innovators and business leaders. We design, engineer, and manufacture the most technologically advanced consumer good in the world. That happens to be cars.
If you don’t believe me, if you don’t believe the technology that’s embedded in cars, trust me. Visit some of the 375 R&D centers we have here in the State of Michigan, and you will gain a tremendous appreciation for the innovation and technology that’s embedded in our core product. Our advanced manufacturing leadership extends beyond autos, producing high-tech machinery, instruments, and electronics as well as alternative energy components and systems, medical devices, and military hardware.
We’re growing jobs in biosciences, IT, and engineering, making us the Number-3 state in the nation for high-technology job growth. And Detroit, named by USA Today as one of the 10 great places to be inspired by innovation. Detroit actually beat out Silicon Valley for one of the first U.S. patent offices outside of Washington, D.C.
Our high-tech economy is buoyed by the Michigan research corridor and a host of universities and colleges that support our state’s broad base and abundant pool of scientific, clinical, and technical talent. Investors are bullish on Michigan’s economy and on our future, actually bucking the national trend of less venture capital investment.
Michigan increased its venture capital investment in 2012, moving up 10 spots from Number 25 overall to Number 15 in 2012 in terms of venture capital investments. Over the last three years, the state of Michigan and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, through our 21st Century Jobs Fund, have invested more than $100 million in tech companies and entrepreneurs in our state.
Last year we reported 278 new tech companies, and those companies were able to garner more than $290 million of additional venture capital follow on investment. So it’s clear that Michigan and Detroit are technology hotbeds that are ideally situated to be the host location for Techonomy Detroit.
So welcome to Techonomy Detroit, and we thank you for the opportunity for Michigan and Detroit to share in this experience and to listen to strategies, to focus on bringing additional technology and innovation to bear on our future. Thank you very much, and have a great conference.
Kirkpatrick: Thanks so much, Mike. I want to quickly thank our other partners, which is a wonderful group. At the top of the list, Quicken Loans and its family of companies has been supporting us for the past two years. Without their support, I don’t think you’d be here. I wouldn’t be here. Rock Ventures, Detroit Venture Partners, part of that whole community. Thanks, Detroit Venture Partners, especially for breakfast this morning.
Then I would also like to thank Cisco, Ford, GM, Michigan Media Solutions. Our knowledge partner, McKinsey and Company. American Express Open Forum—and there are iPads set up in the lobby to register for Open Forum. They are providing today’s webcast, which you can find at Techonomy.com. Our media partner, Bloomberg Businessweek. And finally, Kaplan University, which has been our partner for three years in all of our activities.
So I want to just give you a few housekeeping things you need to think about. First of all, everything’s on the record. There’s 65 journalists registered today, so hopefully we’ll be reading a lot about what happens in this room and in the breakouts in coming days and on the Web today.
And we believe very much in your involvement in making this an interactive dialogue, so we have mics on both sides, which we will turn on and wait for you to speak at, we hope at just about every session. So at a certain point in each session, the moderator will invite you to come to the mics and make your comments and questions.
We’re going to be live-streaming all the sessions at Techonomy.com. On Twitter we have a hashtag, Techonomy Detroit hashtag. And then we also have an extremely good app, which is called Techonomy—not shockingly—and you can find that in the app stores at iPhone, iPad, and Android, and you can find all the program essentials there, everything you need to know for today. Also, of course, we have a beautifully produced book, so you can use that as well.
Speaking of devices, right now, please silence your cell phones. I always forget, myself. I don’t think I silenced mine. I think I will do that right now. I actually did forget. Finally, we have Wi-Fi, which is the WSU public network. It’s an open network; no password required. We bumped up capacity for today, so it should work for all of us.