the United States who has made it possible for us all to work together across a variety of different fields.”
Dr. Good, the founding dean of the College of Engineering and Donaghey Professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, said that this conference was one of a series convened by the STEP Board that is focusing on innovation policy among U.S. states. The board’s objective, she said, was to observe best practices and gather case studies that might inform federal and state policymakers on best practices to accelerate innovation. During this exercise, the board had realized that much of the innovative work and economic growth in the country is happening at the level of municipalities, states, and regions. The plan of the conference therefore is to tap into the experience of people who had developed policies and programs at the grassroots. The current gathering, she declared, was just such an “ideal mix,” representing leaders from the business community, the University of Hawaii, and the executive and legislative branches.
She noted that holding the symposium in Hawaii presented “a marvelous opportunity” to hear about best practices in a state that was “a little bit off the beaten path” and which already had innovation centers making good use of partnerships among academia, the private sector, and the state. “This is essential,” she said, “because neither the universities nor the business community can do it by themselves. It really takes a partnership, and it looks as though you have started on a path to make that happen.” She thanked all the participants for agreeing to tell the story of one state’s economic development initiatives.
Dr. Good then introduced the senior senator from Hawaii, the Honorable Daniel Inouye. She highlighted Senator Inouye’s long experience in economic development and described him as “one of the people we could always count on to help with science and technology funding at the federal level.” She also said that the Senator embodied for several decades “exactly what we mean to be an entrepreneur: he’s able to scope out new ideas, to see opportunities, to bring people together, and to make things happen. These are the critical qualities of an innovator and entrepreneur.” Dr. Good added that Senator Inouye was “one of the most effective legislators in the nation and personally one of the most inspiring individuals I have ever met.”