2015 Innovation Mission to the USA

8 November - 13 November 2015

California, USA

From 8-13 November 2015, the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia (AmCham) held its inaugural Innovation Mission to San Diego and Silicon Valley.

This was the first AmCham mission focussed on technology and innovation, and was aimed at developing closer ties between Australia and the USA to assist economic growth, fostering trade partnerships and exploring the phenomena of innovation and growth within this area of the United States to see what lessons Australia can learn and apply.

The mission was led by Mr Niels Marquardt (CEO, AmCham), Ms. Maureen Dougherty (President New Zealand and Pacific Region for Boeing), Mr. Geoff Culbert (President and CEO of General Electric, Australia & New Zealand) and The Hon. Jeffrey Bleich (Retired US Ambassador to Australia). Around 35 Delegates participated in the mission, drawn from diverse fields including government, legal, biomedical, electrical, software and hardware engineering, mechanical engineering, trade and investment, automobile, journalism, property, advisory industries and academic institutes.

Innovation was described by several of the sites as creating something new that adds value, or the process of re-combining to create value. Key themes that emerged included: the idea that a dedicated culture of innovation must be encouraged from the top down, that innovation is the lifeblood of the start-up or ‘incubator’ industry, and innovations must align with and contribute to an organisation’s overall mission.

Innovation is the lifeblood of the start-up or 'incubator' industry:

All of the companies visited recognised the need to be open to innovations raised within and outside of the organisation.

Most of the companies contribute in some way to the 'incubator' industry. Some companies encourage other companies and start-ups by providing space, capacity and access to expertise free of charge for specific periods of time e.g. up to 2 years. Some such as Illumina did so in return for equity in the business, but others did so with no clear direct benefit in return - although it was suspected they may have first right of refusal for subsequent venture capital opportunities.

The purpose of incubating new developments was to expedite new technologies and foster relationships that could broker mergers and acquisitions with strategically significant consequences.

2015 USA Innovation Mission Report

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