Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Innovation: Cal Berkeley Starting It’s Own Way

Yesterday, we wrote about how one of Barack Obama’s goals for the future of this country was to increase the science and innovation education throughout the US. One college campus, UC Berkeley, is ahead of the game. In a recent article at Business Week, they tell the story of what Tom Kalil, a former official during Bill Clinton’s administration, is bringing change and the spirit of innovation to the UC Berkeley campus. He currently holds the position of Chancellor of Science and Technology.


When he started out here, he had two goals:

1) He wanted to be able to find a way to transform academic institutions into a place where the students could be mobilized and engaged to focus on their goals

2) He wanted to find a way to change society by taking on some of the most important issues facing today’s world: environmental pollution, energy problems as well as sustainable development.


So with this in mind, he created three ways to capture the thoughts and voices of the students: a Big Ideas Contest with help from the student government and research centers, Big Ideas at Berkeley Marketplace, which is an online forum to connect students, as well as alumni and donors, and third, to start a program where he could gather resources to mentor, coach and inspire future student leaders.


These three things were indeed an effective way to bring innovative and creative ideas together in order to help the environment. Just one of the ideas that came out of these efforts was an Energy symposium, as well as new courses at UC Berkeley which focused on energy topics and sustainable innovation.


At the end of the article, there’s a great list of how big companies should look at innovation in their company. It’s important to start at the edge, and a great way to do this is through the diversity of the people working on the project. Click here to read the rest of the list.

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