Innovation Reconstructed Forum

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According to Ray Kurzweil, by 2020 we'll be 3D printing our own clothing and doctors will do the same with organs. 

And as a result of all the research and innovation going on now in biotechnology and nanotechnology, the Singularity University co-founder and director of engineering at Google expects some of us adults might live long enough to see the 22nd century. 

But just before Kurzweil took the stage at the annual Emerging Issues Forum in Raleigh Tuesday, Governor Pat McCrory gave a speech championing years-old concepts like "crowdfunding" and "the cloud" and his goal to make North Carolina the third side of the national "Innovation Triangle". He also pledged to fix our state's desperate IT infrastructure challenges—74 percent of projects are either over budget or behind schedule. The same day, the News and Observer published that the NC legislature's website was down because it failed to renew its domain. 

Kudos to the Institute for Emerging Issues for using its event to share both the long-term opportunities of innovation, and the short-term challenges in getting there. (And check out the data it published, putting North Carolina in the middle of the pack on most innovation measures.)

The NC State-based organization recruited some of the world's top thinkers about the future—from business to policy to education to health—and interspersed them with leaders in our North Carolina community to give the 1,000 attendees at this year's event a big picture of the state of innovation today, and what the future might hold.

Some of the key short-term challenges (besides our state government's tech problems) include cybersecurity—WRAL TechWire summed up comments from the director of the National Security Agency and a former congressman well-versed on the subject—and a multi-sided policy debate. Check out the Triangle Business Journal's piece about the back-to-back pro-government and libertarian speakers disputing the role of government incentives in sparking innovation. It also summed up the conference well with a smattering of quotes from the events presenters.

We filmed four presentations that you might make the time to watch. The first, by renowned author and futurist Don Tapscott, details trends in the innovation economy today and the importance of the Millennial generation in our future world. 

Credit: Ryan Timms/ExitEvent

Curious to hear what some of this region's renowned businesspeople think about our state's innovation economy, here's a panel discussion with SAS founder and CEO Jim Goodnight, NASCAR's Steve O'Donnell, former GlaxoSmithKline head and Hatteras Venture Partners managing partner Bob Ingram and SEPI Engineering's Sepi Saidi. The Triangle Business Journal also summed up the panel well here.

Credit: Ryan Timms

Governor McCrory is up next, talking about his specific efforts to innovate in state government through economic development, capital formation and creation and talent recruitment. You can also hear his explanation of the state's IT challenges, and his plans to make North Carolina as tech-savvy as the companies it's attempting to retain and recruit.

Credit: Ryan Timms/ExitEvent

Finally, take time to watch Kurzweil, one of the smartest men of our time. He talks about the accelerating pace of innovation and change in today's world and the role his team at Google and those engaged in biotechnology and nanotechnology research, are playing to get ahead of it.

Credit: Ryan Timms/ExitEvent