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Experts to offer new vision for innovation in tough times

Analysts, startup leaders, funders, innovators will present at SPIE Photonics Innovation Summit

BELLINGHAM, WA, USA - 7 October 2008 - Radically new approaches are required for transforming breakthrough technology into new business and staying viable in the current economy, say innovation experts who will present at the SPIE Photonics Innovation Summit in the Silicon Valley-San Francisco area next month.

The summit is intended to meet the needs of CEOs, CTOs, CFOs, and technology managers looking for new, effective ways to accelerate innovation. SPIE annually presents more than 25 technical forums and exhibitions connecting optics and photonics researchers and developers. The Photonics Innovation Summit is unique in speaking directly to the needs of senior executives on one of the key themes in business today and a cornerstone of the American economy: innovation.

The summit will be held 6 November at the San Francisco Airport Marriott Hotel in Burlingame, CA.

"Firms can and should use external ideas as well as internal ideas," and in some cases go as far as seeing "piracy" as a marketing tool, according to Henry Chesbrough, author of Open Innovation and the newly published Open Business. Chesbrough is one of three keynote speakers, and is Executive Director of the Center of Open Innovation at the Institute of Management, Innovation and Organization Management of Technology Program, University of California, Berkeley (UCB).

John Kao, Chairman and CEO of Kao and Co., and author of Innovation Nation will detail in his keynote talk why innovation "is about new ways of doing and seeing things as much as it is about the breakthrough idea," and what those new perspectives and practices need to be. (View Kao talking about innovation in video clips from appearances on The Colbert Report and Innovation Nation Finland.)

Robert Byer, William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Applied Physics and Co-Director of the Stanford Photonics Research Center at Stanford University, will round out the slate of keynote speakers.

Afternoon sessions will begin with a presentation by Marc Stanley, Director of NIST's Technology Innovation Program (TIP). He will illustrate the importance of innovation and TIP in technical areas such as solar, lighting, biophotonics, and others, and in addressing the nation's critical needs.

Break-out sessions will focus on the role of technological innovation in three rapidly expanding markets. Topics and speakers include:

  • Solar Technology: When Cost Competitive?: Richard Swanson, founder of Sun Power,  and Scott Elrod of the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC).
  • Biophotonics: Innovation in Process and Procedure: David Benaron of Spectros Corp., Jean-Luc Vanderheyden of GE Healthcare, and Barbara Paldus of Finesse.
  • The Next Next-Generation Lighting: Peter Visser of Philips Lighting and George Craford of Lumileds.

Speakers in a session on "Paths to Funding" will offer guidance on working with multinational corporations in converting advanced research into high-value business opportunities, the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) Solar Program, driving innovation through industry partnerships, and growth-stage financing for equipment manufacturers in the renewables sector. Speakers will be:

  • Jennifer Ernst of PARC
  • John Lushetsky of the DoE Solar Technology Program
  • Craig Cornelius of Hudson Clean Energy Partners.

PARC and the UCB Center for Executive Education are participating as cooperating organizations.

Registration and other information is at spie.org/innovation.