The Next Big Thing: Keys in the Transformation from Science to Society

Saturday, February 20, 2010: 10:30 AM-12:00 PM
Room 1A (San Diego Convention Center)
What is the “Next Big Thing?” contemplated by scientists, research administrators, entrepreneurs, companies, and investors? Approaches to identifying the Next Big Thing and understanding its evolution are highly varied, as is the general ability to integrate such analysis into planning and policy. This session will explore various approaches used to assess emerging technologies and patterns of innovation in considering whether an area might emerge as the Next Big Thing in innovation. Of particular interest is the transformation of big discoveries to big societal impact. This session will offer views of the assessment of the Next Big Thing from a variety of perspectives including those of investors in emerging technology who play a pivotal role at this transitional phase, technology forecasters, and research funders. The session will also include analysis from an international perspective. Some of the questions that will be addressed include the following: What are key indicators of the emergence of the Next Big Thing in science and technology? What are indicators that the Next Big Thing in science is evolving into the next big thing in the economy? What are challenges and milestones in this evolution? What is the extent of feedback between use, innovation, and discovery in expanding and sustaining the growth of a new area? Are there lessons from past “Big Things” that might help to inform policy or management regarding current emerging technologies?
Gerald Hane, Battelle-Japan
Lewis M. Branscomb, University of California
and Michael Holland, U.S. Department of Energy
Elizabeth Clarkson, DFJ Global Network
Innovation Around the Globe and Venture Capital
Hiroshi Nagano, Japan Science and Technology Agency
Identifying and Promoting High-Impact Innovation: Experiences in Japan
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