The Responsible Company

Just finished reading The Responsible Company, the second business book by Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia. His first, Let My People Surfing, laid out Chouinard’s personal path and the company’s history before spending the bulk of the book on the business philosophy of the small (roughly $400M) outdoor gear and apparel company. This second book establishes Chouinard’s voice and leadership in the new sustainable business movement—though he and co-author Vincent Stanley are quick to point out there’s no such thing as a truly ‘sustainable’ business.

If you’re thinking about starting something—or re-orienting your existing something—towards what matters to you, this book belongs on the stack on your desk. It’s a perfectly-timed counterbalance to the Jobs biography.

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Which is the faucet and which the leak?

If you work in universities, or even in corporate R&D settings, the Council of Graduate Schools just released a very important report on the education of graduate students by US Universities: “Pathways Through Graduate School and Into Careers.” In particular, its findings on the career development of doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows in engineering and the life sciences are timely and sobering. In essence, for the great majority of our doctoral students that go into industry, innovation, leadership, and communication are essential for success. And these are also the skills most notably absent from their training.

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Upcoming programs at the Child Family Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

UC Davis Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Out of the lab and into the world:
Upcoming Opportunities for Science and Engineering Researchers

Green Technology Entrepreneurship Academy

June 25–27

The 5th annual GTEA is open to science and engineering senior undergrads, graduate students, postdocs and faculty working on research in green and sustainable technologies. The three-day intensive program integrates lecture, exercises and individual projects. You’ll learn to identify, design and validate new opportunities for your research. Sessions are taught by investors, entrepreneurs and industry executives in the green tech arena.
Apply by May 25 >>

Biomedical Engineering Entrepreneurship Academy

July 11–13

The 2nd annual BMEA is open to science and engineering senior undergrads, graduate students, postodcs and faculty working on biomedical engineering technologies and research. The three-day intensive program integrates lecture, exercises, and individual projects. Sessions are taught by investors, entrepreneurs and industry executives in the biomed arena.
Apply by June 8 >>

Business Development Fellows Program

The year-long Business Development Certificate program provides UC Davis science and engineering graduate and postdoctoral students hands-on experience in developing business skills for a career in industry and the opportunity to develop new business ventures.
Apply by June 30 >> 




Information Sessions

Want to learn more about our entrepreneurship academies and the Business Development Fellows certificate program? Join Program Manager Niki Davisson for an Information Session, held in the Innovation Lab/Room 3301, Gallagher Hall, on the UC Davis campus. RSVP today >>

May 24: noon–1 p.m

Grounded advice for Entrepreneurs

Most of the advice for entrepreneurs that is floating around these days is focused on the 0.5% who are building venture capital-backed companies and furiously pivoting away in hopes of being the next Instagram. The overwhelming majority of new ventures, however, live in a different world with different rules.  Gravity applies, so does the need for profitability, cash flow, paying customers, employees, and lines of credit. And regardless of what the meia tell you, this is where America actually produces most jobs. So it was great to see Jay Goltz, writing for the New York Times, offer his list of 10 Rookie Mistakes for Entrepreneurs.

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Reprising W+K’s 10 lessons for young designers

I recently ran across this list while reading about the challenges faced by John Maeda as he moved from software engineer and computer scientist to President of the Rhode Island School of Design. It reminded me that not all of design, in education and in work, can be neatly packaged and served to managers in a sound bite like ‘design thinking.’ I’m reprising here the list written by Wieden+Kennedy’s Executive Creative Director, John C. Jay of 10 lessons for young designers:

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Social entrepreneurship—as opposed to?

I just returned from an engaging panel discussion on social entrepreneurship, at Darden’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Research Conference. We were asked to speak on social entrepreneurship—a new field of venturing and venture investing, and a new and rapidly emerging curriculum in business schools across the country. I had to pose the question: If at this moment we are talking about entrepreneurship for the social good, what are we talking about, and teaching, when it’s just entrepreneurship?

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To pivot or not to pivot…

It seems that the best strategy for a startup is longer a matter of if, or even when, but now how many times you pivot before you make it rich. Pivoting, a term the enterpreneur-turned-entrepreneurial sage Steve Blank recently popularized, now threatens to become the next business buzzword. Forget open innovation, what’s your pivot strategy? That’s dangerous.

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UC Davis program opens headquarters with two Davis startups

Davis Roots, a recently formed nonprofit business accelerator bridging the city of Davis and the University of California, Davis, officially opens its headquarters at the historic Hunt-Boyer Mansion today. The enterprise is geared toward supporting startup companies to succeed and stay in the city, with two companies ready to move in.

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Reserve Accounting for ski days

Setting innovation strategies to deal with declining resource stocks sounds like the kind of long-range planning that’s only good for oil, mining, timber, and other companies in the extraction business. But as I mention in an earlier post, the Innovating against Declining Resources, that’s changing. In Getting Green Done, Auden Schendler describes how his company, the Aspen Skiing Company, and the City of Aspen are recognizing the same need in setting their own strategic planning.

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