mainstay. It started from two or three or four committed people and companies, drew a lot of help from the localities, and then things began to blossom.”
She said that in a small state like Hawaii, people have to work together and to remove barriers. “It has to move beyond the one-industry dominance,” she said. “A big thing comes and hangs on for 10 or 15 years and then is gone.”
Building a New Model for Hawaii
To build a new model, Dr. Greenwood suggested that the first step is to “be sure we’ve got what we need to be competitive, and connected to the rest of the world.” This included the speed of Internet connections, access to those connections, and wise use of broadband resources.
Second, she said, “let’s take these areas where we already have prominence and dominate them. Let’s not just be good, let’s be the leader.”
Third, she urged her colleagues to “find those areas where we’re not yet dominant but have some very special opportunities.” From the university’s point of view, she proposed the health sciences and the research-based businesses that can flow from that field. “We do have some strength in the health sciences,” she said, “and lately it’s been growing. But compared to other major research universities we can probably improve by over 50 percent and maybe as much as 100 percent by attracting investment both at the federal and the state levels, and overcoming some of the situations that make it hard to do business here.”
Dr. Greenwood closed by saying that the group had learned a great deal in the past two days, and it was now time to act. “It’s not a time to discuss what we could do, it’s now time to discuss how to do what we know we need to do,” she said. “If we don’t do it, this small but wonderful state of Hawaii is not going to be on the cutting edge in two decades. If we do act, we may be an example that everyone else admires, and I’d sure like to be part of that story.”
Congresswoman Hirono added that Hawaii is “not in this alone, because as a country we have recognized the need to innovate and to become much more successful in competing with the rest of the world.” She said that during her last four years in Congress, she had supported an innovation agenda that provided loans, grants, and stimulus funding for alternative energy and research. “I know this administration is also very intent on working with us so that our whole country can move forward.”
Broadband as “Mission Critical”
As the symposium concluded, several participants returned to the need to improve broadband access, data storage and processing abilities, as well as IT and software skills. Dr. Greenwood assured one speaker that the issue had been a priority since her arrival several years ago, and had only grown in significance.