Innovation and Education

October 5, 2016

Lecture Summary: Innovating Is Key to America's Future, Says Former SRI Chief — And Stevens Is A Model→

ABSTRACT: It is often said that the key to innovative success is to fail fast. That is wrong, misleading and dispiriting. The key to innovative success is to learn, discover and create fast.  

American companies are failing at record rates and almost all measures of innovative output are poor. Job growth and prosperity have dramatically slowed, yet the global innovation economy is moving fast, is hyper-competitive, and has an abundance of major opportunities. 

To thrive, we must transform the way we innovate and teach our workforce an essential skill — the ability to continuously create new innovations. America will never have the most R&D professionals nor the most resources. To win our share of meaningful jobs and prosperity, we must leverage our core strengths and work smarter.

What today’s successful company, government R&D, venture capital and university programs all have in common is a strict adherence to proven innovation best practices. By bringing these two fields together — learning and innovation — we can transform both disciplines and help America move forward faster.

BIOGRAPHY: Curtis R. Carlson, Ph.D., is a pioneer in the development and use of innovation best practices and an evangelist for innovation, education and economic development, sharing best practices with government agencies, businesses and foundations around the world. He advises U.S. governors, prime ministers, economic ministers and education ministers on innovation, competitiveness and educational reform. Dr. Carlson has been a senior adviser to the governments of Malaysia, Japan, Sweden, Denmark, Lithuania and Finland. He served as SRI’s President and CEO from 1998 to 2014 and was named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors in 2012.

Dr. Carlson was selected to serve on President Obama’s National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in 2010 and serves on the National Science Foundation’s Engineering Advisory Council. He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Singapore National Research Foundation and serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of Taiwan.

Dr. Carlson received his B.S. degree in physics from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Rutgers University. He has received honorary degrees from the Malaysian Technical University (MTU), Stevens Institute of Technology, Kettering University and WPI, where he is also a trustee. He was a visiting distinguished scientist at the University of Washington and he is a Kobe Ambassador for SRI’s contributions to Kobe, Japan.

Past Lectures

The President's Distinguished Lecture Series brings our world’s most distinguished thought leaders in science and technology to create debate and spur discussion on the role of technology and its implications in 21st century society. This series was launched by President Nariman Farvardin in 2012.