Joan Koerber - Walker was a recent guest on my radio show.
Joan has recently been appointed as the CEO of the Arizona BioIndustry Association whose purpose is promoting the growth of Arizona bioscience companies.
You can listen to our conversation here.
Her role as CEO of the Arizona BioIndustry Association and as founder of COREPurpose, a business consulting firm, puts her in an unique position. She is in the frontlines bringing innovation best-practices to businesses and she is a leader at the local, state and national level for innovation and its role in bringing success to our companies, jobs and quality of living to our communities and a resumption of growth for our economy.
I asked for her thoughts on the challenges we face as a nation on re-igniting our innovation talents and reclaiming our spot as the number one nation for innovation.
We've reached the imagination moment in our show. Let's imagine President Obama has been listening. And he's calling you right now during the show.
Joan. he says on your answering machine. May I call you Joan? Look, you and I both know our country needs some help in innovation. I'm locked inside the Beltway and I need to hear directly from innovation experts like you. What if you came up to the White House, met with Joe Biden and I, and talked about innovation. We'd like to hear your thoughts on three things our country can do right now to reverse this slide in our global innovation rankings. Could you do that?
What would you tell him?
And Joan answered as she always does with a crisp, clear and concise answer:
If I was going to look at the three things we could do on a national or global level, as a country I would say that:
Let industry and the community be the focus for innovation and for the government to get out of the way. As we start looking for new opportunities we need a way to create clear pathways. Government needs to enable, not do. Just as a leader I need to enable, not do. The way government enables is to fully fund and support organizations like the national institute of health, the national cancer institute, the department of energy, who are taking dollars and allowing them to be applied into commercial and research applications so that the industry can move that forward. The industry is going to be able to do that much more effectively
We have got to focus on protecting the innovations that we are creating. That means that the work that is being done at the USPTO, the US Patent and Trademark Office, needs to continue to be best-in-class organization on a global basis. Part of it is to stop raiding the coffers at the USPTO and putting their funds into the general funds. What happens is if we keep pulling resources out of the USPTO, then we don’t have the resources to move those patents forward faster. And if we’re not moving them forward faster then it is harder for those companies to get investment dollars.
Continue to focus on the key national resources we have that will inspire the next generation of innovators. You look at NASA. NASA is one of our crown jewels. There is a tremendous amount of work going on, not just in the biosciences, but in engineering and multiple areas that is happening at NASA. Taking the focus of science and technology and spreading that further around the world and to our young people, just to inspire them, as when I was a little girl. I grew up when we were in a race to put a man on the moon and bring him back safely by the end of that decade. We need another challenge like that. And that’s something that President Obama might want to think about issuing. And then fully funding it.
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Read transcripts from our most recent conversation here.
Some may say this is inappropriate.
This is politics! And you never discuss politics at Thanksgiving Dinners, backyard barbecues and on a business radio show.
I disagree. As long as only politicians can discuss solutions for our country then those solutions and their interested audiences will remain off-limits, political, for those who make this brand, our country, run. And only politicians, these days that's only career politicians, can discuss those ideas and spoon-feed solutions to the public.
I see our times as an all hands-on-deck opportunity and not a crisis. That opportunity is for each of us to lend our hands, our conversations, our ideas to find and share solutions. In our absence those challenges are left to ideologues, vested interests and politicians of all stripes and partisan persuasion. We...are the only ones with vested interests. And now we have, with social media and the urgency of today, the opportunity to reclaim our place at this table and discuss our ideas to solve our challenges. At the very least, we can listen to a discussion until we are ready to speak up.