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On September 12th, 2014, Solomon Darwin, Executive Director at the Garwood Center for Corporate Innovation was invited as the keynote speaker for the XII Triple Helix International Conference 2014 in Tomsk, Russia.  Professor Darwin delivered his keynote presentation to over 100 academics around the world! His topic: Open Innovation Leveraging Triple Helix Model . Darwin spoke about the relationship between Open Innovation and The Triple Helix Model  (an effective organization of government, academia and business). Darwin’s key points focused on the rapid growth of innovation, and how the future is approaching much faster than anticipated.  Now, more than ever, businesses depend on current technologies. Darwin emphasizes the need for businesses to thrive on anticipated technologies, rather than simply survive on current technologies.  Professor Darwin mentions that, “Technology in the wrong hands could have devastating effects –– Knowledge is an asset within all of us that could be used responsibly or irresponsibly”.  He spoke about the importance of the Triple Helix Model, as it provides a structure for vision, while Open Innovation provides the process in which a vision becomes reality.  These two components work together! The Triple Helix Model gives Open Innovation leverage to solve the world’s grand challenges, including: global health, water, energy, environment, food, education, security, and poverty. The Open Innovation process provides a solution­­­­, as it captures the collective and collaborative wisdom of the many.

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Throughout the conference, Professor Darwin prepared for his much anticipated presentation  and workshop on  his latest project: The Balance Sheet of the Earth. Darwin, began this venture with the hopes of enabling all citizens with the power to visualize and understand the environmental, economic, and geopolitical impact of human action. By adopting simple accounting concepts that measure raw materials as assets of a business’ balance sheet, The Balance Sheet of the Earth lets us do just that! With this tool, every one of us now has the chance to educate ourselves on the adverse effects that our current economic decisions have on our distressed planet. With the informative education that The Balance Sheet of the Earth provides, we can all become better stewards and caretakers of our planet. He states, “The future is something we make happen by the decisions we collectively make today.” Darwin’s presentation of the Balance Sheet of the Earth project, and his upcoming book titled “Earth’s CEO” was well received by attendees at the Triple Helix Conference. Participants of Triple Helix Association’s convention in Tomsk received both Darwin’s project and presentation with positive feedback, and avid acclaim.

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Darwin too, greatly enjoyed the wonderful reception and experience he had at Tomsk. During his short visit, he also spoke at Moscow State University. His speech focused on Open Innovation, the Key to Economic growth, he presented to international visitors, academia, and executives. Additionally, Darwin received a special invitation to Skolkovo ( the silicon valley hub of the city), a rare opportunity to meet with key directors of Skolkovo, to discuss future collaboration with Berkeley Haas community!

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Darwin cherished his visit at Tomsk, and has received an invitation to participate as a keynote speaker in Tsinghua University, in China for the 13th annual Triple Helix Conference. With all said and done, the Triple Helix conference in Russia was an unforgettable and astounding success!

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By Timothy C. Young & Adriana Macias