January 2018

We’re off to a great start in 2018, with lots of activity! (And a great win by the Eagles ;))


EuroTech Week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas 

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On January 8 and 9, at the invitation of the European American Enterprise Council (EAEC), I attended EuroTech Week and the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. EAEC works under contract to the European Commission to create a platform for connecting European and American enterprises (universities and companies) in pursuing joint projects. Historically they have deployed their platform virtually, and more recently have partnered with the folks at CES to use it as a business-partnering platform for their conference (there is a huge European presence at CES!)

I participated in a panel discussion on Smart Society Initiatives with fellow panelists from the European American Business initiative and the Ready2Go initiative of the European Commission, as well as the Deloitte Overseas Trade Fair.

My goals for the conference were to begin to make connections with EAEC, and to “road-test” the CCI District message of community-focused innovation in health for business attraction. I had more than 20 companies request meetings (which I’m now following up with support from the Chamber and with the City). EAEC is talking to SXSW about deploying a similar approach here in Austin – they’ll be here in 2018 with the possibility of deploying in 2019!


CCI Affinity Groups

CCI has begun creating affinity groups of key organizations that convene our target communities. The goals of assembling these groups are to find ways in which we can collaborate to make the Innovation District relevant to all of our stakeholders, to create frameworks through which these communities can connect to the innovation district, and to create relationships that will guide the strategic development of the innovation district.

Workspace at IC2/ATI

Workspace at IC2/ATI

On January 19 we hosted the inaugural meeting of the health and life sciences startup affinity group, which includes organizations that currently (or previously) offer lab space to startups:

This productive meeting prioritized common marketing and representation (especially for SXSW and BIO), education and mentoring, resource-sharing, and fundraising as areas of future focus. We will meet again in February at ACC to continue this collaboration and are begnning to thread in other organizations.

CCI has also begun conversations with potential partners around establishing two other affinity groups: a community health affinity group, being discussed with Central Health, and a workforce and business affinity group, being discussed with ACC, Austin Independent School District, St. Edwards, Huston Tillotson, Workforce Solutions, and the minority chambers. And with the Downtown Austin Alliance, we began planning of our place affinity group, which will lead the blueprint project for the CCI Innovation District through 2018. Stay tuned!


Memberships and Partnerships 

As well as our affinity groups, in January we started making other connections within and beyond Austin! These collaborations connect CCI (and our stakeholders) to the programming, resources, expertise, and networks of aligned organizations. We hope that these organizations (and others) will also choose to establish partnerships/presences in the Innovation District as it emerges.

  • We have established a membership at Capital Factory, which not only gives CCI a downtown location to hold meetings, it also plugs us into Capital Factory’s schedule of events and into its network.

  • We have joined Texas Health and Bioscience Institute here in Austin – a mainly policy-driven organization that works across the state. I have joined their Economic Development and Access to Innovation committees, which will give CCI a path to connect with relevant issues on these topics with the Texas legislature. It also positions CCI to join the official Texas delegation at the Biotechnology International Organization (BIO) conference in Boston this summer, at which we could be a conduit for any of our partners.

  • We have joined the Austin Tech Alliance, whose mission is to promote civic engagement among technology companies. Our hope, through this membership, is to emphasize the role that tech companies can play in growing innovative models of community health. We have already discussed the possibility of a future event exploring the opportunities that recent regulatory advances in telemedicine might mean for our vulnerable populations.

  • We have also forged a partnership with Health Tech Austin which will see us sponsoring their Medical Device Summit (see below), their monthly programs (next month they plan to feature Craig Cordola among others!), their job fair, and their public health conference later this year. We will connect you to these events.

  • Finally, we have joined the Association of University Research Parks, the industry organization for innovation districts and research parks. This will provide a forum through which CCI (and its stakeholders) can connect with other gold-standard models for academic-government-industry partnerships and through which to tell our story at their annual meeting in October.


Medical Device Summit, Austin

 On January 31 -February 1 we sponsored a fantastic event on medical device innovation, held by our partners Health Tech Austin. The keynote speaker was Associate Professor Scott Wallace, Managing Director of the Value Institute for Health and Care at the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin, who spoke about how medical device companies can contribute to a growing trend for patient-centric, value-focused models of healthcare.

Panels at the conference also discussed intellectual property and funding, and there was a startup showcase. We were pleased that the Summit was attended by almost 100 delegates, about ¼ of whom were CCI stakeholders (including Dell Medical School, Seton, University of Texas at Austin) and our contacts across the state and the country (JP Morgan, Husch Blackwell, Cooley).

We are looking forward to future collaborative events in 2018 on workforce development and public health. I encourage our stakeholders to attend these events at the leadership level – it helps to build momentum and stature for our whole region and shows that we care about these elements of our region’s growth!


Presentations and Visitors 

On January 4, I enjoyed addressing approximately 30 members of the Austin Healthcare Thinktank luncheon, which was hosted at Strasburger and Price. The Healthcare Thinktank is a group comprising leaders from health systems, industry organizations, and associated service organizations, with representation in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin.

On January 17, I had the honor of being invited to speak to approximately 50 members of the Commercial Brokers Association of Austin. At both events, I presented an overview of what an innovation district means to a community, drawing examples from experiences in Philadelphia and elsewhere, and then focused on the unique opportunity here in Austin to create an academically-anchored district with a focus on rethinking models for healthcare. I’m looking forward to getting the word out about the CCI District at other events.

On January 22, our colleagues at the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce kindly connected us into a visit to Austin by representatives of International Enterprise Singapore, a government agency. Visiting from their home base in New York (they also have an office in LA – why not Austin?), their mandate is to promote the overseas growth of Singapore-based companies and to help North American companies trying to access Asian markets. I gave them an overview of the Innovation District, and Verena Kallhoff (Dell Medical School CoLab) toured them through the CoLab.  Other connection points include the City of Austin’s economic development office, and the minority chambers.

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Christopher Laing, MRCVS, PhD Executive Director, Capital City Innovation
As Executive Director of Capital City Innovation, Chris leads an organization that is coordinating the stakeholders of the innovation district emerging around Austin’s new health complex. Previously, Chris was a member of the senior management team of Philadelphia’s University City Science Center, the country’s oldest and largest urban innovation hub.

Follow chris on Twitter @chrislaing