TOPIC: “The City as a Start Up: Driving Innovation In Mega Cities”
FORMAT: 20 minutes with slides
AUDIENCE: Government and policy leaders, innovation professionals, entrepreneurs, students
ABSTRACT: Innovation drives economic development – globally. Modern mega cities must create an environment that attracts innovators and risk-takers, and then provide them with the culture, resources and policies that will turn ideas into jobs and smarter living. Cities need to act more like a start-up.
Mr. Walti’s premise is that smart mega cities must adopt innovation as a key economic driver that simultaneously reduces its pollution and improves its quality of life. The “City as a Start-up” concept is a new cultural change that cities are now embracing that encourages risk taking, investment in sustainable game-changing, faster decisions, and more private public partnerships with successful entrepreneurs. Cities have to become more agile, create regional innovation hubs, and harness their purchasing power toward achieving a wide range of city quality of life goals.
Mr. Walti will present a case history in how Los Angeles created a world-class innovation hub, thus helping to build the U.S.’s largest green economy. As CEO of LACI, Mr. Walti led the City’s efforts to develop sustainable technologies across a wide range of business sectors from transportation to agriculture. LACI has ranked in the Top 10 among 1200 University-Associated business Incubators by the UBI research firm for three years in a row. Mr. Walti will explain how the City of Los Angeles, in partnership with entrepreneurs, built LACI into a regional cleantech innovation center that has returned $360M in long-term economic benefit for the City of Los Angeles. This case study is an example of a mega city harnessing its resources to become nimbler, more conductive to innovation, and with connections to world markets.
Mr. Walti will share the LACI/NGIN Innovation Ecosystem Development Model that can be used by mega cities around the world to embrace the “City as a Start-up” philosophy. The model serves as a framework for successfully commercializing sustainable technology innovation by explaining the seven core elements necessary to create a high-performance innovation hub.
The City as a Start Up also means connecting to global markets in order to attract investors, customers, entrepreneurs, scientists and thought leaders. Mr. Walti formed the Network for Global Innovation, a network of premier innovation institutions in 14 countries, in order to connect sustainable technology innovation hubs in across the globe. Becoming part of the global community means that cities share their successes, learn from other’s programs, and make it easy for the innovators to do business with each other.
Today, global mega cities must shed their shackles of conventional thinking and embrace the risk-taking, investment, agility and growth that has made start-ups successful.