Washington Innovation Summit Roundup

by Braden Kelley

I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend the Washington Innovation Summit by the event organizers. It was a great event that attracted over 400 attendees interested in technology and innovation to Bellevue, WA on April 9, 2009.

The event was headlined by Senator Maria Cantwell and Gifford Pinchot, followed by other area technology and innovation dignitaries. (event schedule)

Predictably, there was a lot of attention given to what government is doing to provide an economic environment that encourages innovation, and of course to technology innovations under way in the region.

There were four technology breakout tracks:

  • Sustainable Energy
  • Innovative Materials & Manufacturing
  • Urban Sustainability
  • Healthy Ecosystems

Despite the name change from Washington Technology Conference to Washington Innovation Summit, the focus of the event was still more on technology than innovation. I attended one breakout session from the Innovative Materials & Manufacturing track that focused on nano-structure and micro-structure applications and one from the Sustainable Energy track focusing on energy generation from waste.

Most of the sessions I attended were very interesting, but because there was more of a focus on technology than on innovation, there are less learning to be extracted and applied by attendees back in their own organizations, and for me to share with you here.

The key takeaways for me from the event were the following:

  • There are a lot of opportunities for our economy and the environment to generate energy from waste – while also improving the lives of those who live near it
  • Nanophotonics is a technology area that will help extend the lifespan of Moore’s Law while also helping to reduce the energy footprint of the Internet
  • The forestry industry is exploring nanotechnlogy alternatives to growing and cutting trees, but at the same time sustainable forestry may provide a better solution than alternative building materials
  • Researchers are doing some very interesting things with micro-scale and nano-scale structures
  • PACCAR and McKinstry are two companies that are doing very interesting things that others may be able to learn from

What do you think? – Say it with a comment!


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