How Universities Encourage Innovation

Experts on Economic Development Talk With Chancellor May

There’s a lot to be said about the role universities play in pushing people and companies to innovate — so much, in fact, that two prominent figures in last week’s Council on Competitiveness launch summit took a break for an in-depth conversation on the topic with Chancellor Gary S. May.

Purple graphic with text "Face to Face with Chancellor May"

That conversation, with May, Deborah L. Wince-Smith, president and CEO of the Council on Competitiveness, and Jed Kolko, undersecretary for economic affairs at the Department of Commerce, is available now as a special episode of Face to Face With Chancellor May.

“The Council on Competitiveness is bringing together leaders across corporate America, academia, government to really think about how all of us connect in order to foster a culture of innovation,” Kolko said. “This is work that is not only about government. It's not only about universities. It's about bringing us all together. And that's what we're doing today here at UC Davis.”

The trio touched on a number of topics during their conversation, including the fact that students are so likely to be innovative because of the way they work with other students whose areas of study are so different from their own.

“That's very hard to replicate in the professional world. ... That kind of openness and exploration and exposure to lots of different fields that you get in student life,” Kolko said.

Wince-Smith echoed that, saying even students studying technical fields can learn from studying the works of William Shakespeare.

“I am concerned that in many universities, the specialization occurs too soon,” she said.

Watch their full conversation in the video above to hear more, including discussions on place-based innovation, that is, working with others in the region toward common goals.

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Cody Kitaura is a News and Media Relations Specialist in the Office of Strategic Communications, and can be reached by email or at 530-752-1932.

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