2009 Chao Symposium on Innovation

In November 2009 CHF proudly presented the first annual T. T. Chao Symposium on Innovation, made possible through the generosity of the Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Foundation. This event was designed to bring together established and emerging leaders in the technical, entrepreneurial, and policy arenas to think constructively about how Houston’s industrial and entrepreneurial heritage can be adapted to address society's needs in the 21st century.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Houston

Each year’s symposium will feature a different theme, and the inaugural symposium focused on how to bring innovation and entrepreneurship to bear on the various initiatives of the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP). The GHP is a network of companies, universities, and institutions that is dedicated to building Houston's economic prosperity. Among the GHP’s interest areas are energy, aerospace, nano-scale science, health care, and biotechnology.

Conference Format

The morning section of the symposium featured opening remarks by Joe Pratt of the University of Houston to provide a framework on the history of Houston and its developments. Then panel sessions focusing on two major themes (energy and health care) featured three panelists each. The goal was to have each panel composed of one cutting-edge scientist/technologist, one entrepreneur, and one public policy/social scientist to offer diverse perspectives on the same topic.

A 45-minute buffet luncheon followed the morning session. During the luncheon, cards were available for attendees to pose questions to the afternoon panel discussion (Panel 3). CHF personnel gathered and vetted question cards which they submitted to the moderator before reconvening in the afternoon.

The afternoon featured a Q&A panel session, during which the moderator, Mae Jemison, used audience questions collected during lunch to seed the discussion. The session lasted two hours during the last fifteen minutes of which the audience was given another chance to pose questions or comments to the panelists. The conference concluded at 3:45 p.m. with a reception.

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