Art Markman named director of the IC² Institute

Art MarkmanArt Markman, the Annabel Irion Worsham Centennial Professor of Psychology and Marketing, has been appointed director of the IC² Institute at The University of Texas at Austin, effective Dec. 1, 2018.

Markman succeeds Gregory Pogue, who has served as the institute’s interim director since 2016 and will continue to serve as deputy executive director. Markman has been the IC² Institute’s research director since 2012.

“With his active, imaginative approach to innovation research, his ability to make that research accessible to people outside of the academy and his deep connections to the faculty, Art Markman is the perfect choice for the directorship of IC²,” said Daniel Jaffe, vice president for research. “I’m looking forward to seeing how a dynamic, creative director like Art can make IC² into the critical element of the UT innovation ecosystem that it deserves to be.”

Markman has published more than 150 scholarly works about cognitive science, decision-making and organizational behavior. He is also the founding director of the Human Dimensions of Organizations program in the College of Liberal Arts, which teaches current and future leaders in business, the nonprofit sector, government and the military about how people, groups and cultures influence the workplace.

Beyond the UT campus, however, he’s probably best known as the co-host of KUT’s “Two Guys on Your Head” radio show and podcast, where he and Butler School of Music professor Bob Duke explore the human mind with a unique mix of research, humor and everyday relevance.

“The roots of IC² are tied deeply to Austin’s emergence as a national center of innovation and entrepreneurship. It has been a source of cutting-edge work as well as research-based education programs that have spread best practices to entrepreneurs around the world,” Markman explained. “I am honored to be given the opportunity to support a new generation of research in the path from idea-to-product-to-company as well as the creation of ecosystems that nurture new businesses. This work will enable The University of Texas to maintain its role as a leading source of practical knowledge about how communities enhance the growth of new ventures.”

The IC² Institute was established in 1977 as a “think and do” tank by George Kozmetsky, a former dean of the McCombs School of Business. Through the Austin Technology Incubator and its many other programs, IC² serves as a technology incubator and accelerator and is devoted to researching the intersection of industry, government and academia. Its mission is to promote entrepreneurship and strengthen regional economies, both locally and abroad.

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Selected books by Art Markman:

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ATI announces launch of Circular Economy incubator

On October 16, IC²’s Austin Technology Incubator (ATI) introduced a fifth vertical within its portfolio group, a Circular Economy Incubator, to support entrepreneurs and startups whose mission is to provide solutions that contribute to a zero-waste world. ATI now operates one of only three circular economy incubators in the country.

ATI recognizes that moving forward with a circular economy incubator is a vital step toward solving one of the world’s most pressing problems: redesigning the reuse and recycling processes of circular products. Mark Sanders, currently COO of ATI, will also serve as director of the ATI Circular Economy Incubator.

Circular Economy: A global challenge
A circular economy works to maximize the life-cycle of products and materials by revolutionizing manufacturing processes to ensure the possibility of reuse and recycling. It’s estimated that 350 million tons of plastic are produced globally each year, and despite the efforts of manufacturers and consumers, little of this is ultimately recycled. Most is destined for landfill or joins the five trillion pieces of plastic polluting the world’s oceans. Taking up to 400 years to degrade, plastic is just one of many circular products that plague the environment.

ATI supporter of City of Austin’s Austin Resource Recovery Master Plan
ATI made the announcement at the first Circular Economy Roundup in collaboration with the City of Austin and Austin Resource Recovery whose focuses are on growing the zero waste industry in order to create well-paying local jobs, attract investment, and support the necessary infrastructure for a resilient circular economy in Central Texas. ATI Circular Economy member companies are a contributor to the City of Austin’s Austin Resource Recovery Master Plan which has a goal to reach Zero Waste by 2040 which means reducing the amount of discarded materials sent to landfills by 90 percent. Austin Resource Recovery is on board to contribute to this goal as well providing a wide range of services designed to transform waste into resources.

“There is no waste in nature – byproducts become the fertile soil that something else needs to grow. The vision of a circular economy is for that to become true of our cities as well, which is only possible with highly innovative entrepreneurs and an ecosystem of support around them,” said Natalie Betts, Recycling Economic Development Program Manager with the City of Austin. “The partnership with ATI is a major milestone on Austin’s journey to becoming a truly circular city.”

ATI Circular Economy Incubator
The ATI Circular Economy Incubator links entrepreneurs with academia, industry, and government to solve global challenges in design and reuse. Through customized and deep engagements, ATI works across Texas to co-design, pilot and test circular economy technology and business model innovations to find viable solutions to this global problem. Mitch Jacobson, director of ATI, emphasizes the incubator’s core focuses by describing how “We’re doubling down on deep tech, which involves trying to solve big problems with big solutions. That can be clean air, clean water, drugs around cancer or new carbon capture technology. Now, we add Circular Economy to that impactful list.”

Portfolio Companies
Inaugural members of the Circular Economy portfolio include:

  • ICON is a construction technologies company which is revolutionizing homebuilding through 3D printing.
  • Smarter Sorting uses patented technology to turn incinerator bound consumer chemical waste into a product primed for reuse. Combining big data, smart tech and business know how, Smarter Sorting is leading the way in pushing for a truly circular economy.
  • Leaf & Flour’s process turns distillery by-products into flour for food production (in pre-incubation).

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ICON logoSmarter Sorting logoLeaf and Flour logo

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“Austin is a tech hot spot. It wasn’t always this way”

IC² researcher and Fellow featured in Statesman article on how landing MCC made Austin a tech hub.

IC² Senior Research Scientist David Gibson and IC² Fellow Pike Powers were featured this week in an article in the Austin American-Statesman on the successful effort to bring the Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corp. to Austin in the 1980s. Austin’s win against a field of 57 cities changed national perception of the city and The University of Texas at Austin, which led to the recruitment of subsequent large manufacturing and R&D facilities and the ensuing Austin tech boom.

MCC was the first for-profit computer industry R&D consortium in the US, created at a time of anxiety over Japanese competition. “The MCC was an inflection point for Austin’s evolution. People on the West and East Coasts didn’t think of Austin too much before it won the MCC,” said Gibson, who co-authored a noted book on the founding and impact of the consortium.

Read the article

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IC² announces new business acceleration program in Bhutan

DHI Business Acceleration Program will help Bhutanese entrepreneurs launch new ventures.

The IC² Institute of The University of Texas at Austin is pleased to announce the commencement of a new project in Bhutan, together with Druk Holding and Investments (DHI – ). This initiative is called the DHI Business Acceleration Program, or DHI BizAP.

DHI BizAP logoDHI was established in 2007, comprising 20 different companies operating in the manufacturing, energy, natural resources, financial, communication, aviation, trading and real estate sectors. The Royal Charter for DHI mandates to “promote and encourage entrepreneurship and business development through venture capital and other required institutional support.” In keeping with the important mandate to promote and support private sector development, a holistic approach to entrepreneurship development is proposed, initially targeted mainly towards promoting Cottage and Small Industries (CSI) sector.

DHI has engaged with the IC² Institute due to the proven IC² methodology, which has been employed with success in over 40 countries around the world, creating more than USD $3 billion in economic impact. IC² programs have taught best practices in technology transfer, entrepreneurship, incubation management and new enterprise commercial acceleration.

This program has already begun, with online training of DHI staff via the IC² Innovation Readiness Series™, with in-country activities that began in September, and with a formal launch supported by His Majesty the King of Bhutan in conjunction with the Royal Wedding Day Seventh Anniversary celebrations on October 13.

DHI BizAP includes:

Training: structured training for selected Bhutanese entrepreneurs, with focus on commercializing business ideas and launching businesses in the market, delivered by global experts in innovation and entrepreneurship, using the proven and patented IC² entrepreneurship training methodology. Selected entrepreneurs will experience a balanced mixture of face-to-face, virtual distance learning and homework assignments.

Funding: opportunity for all entrepreneurs selected to pitch their business to the Business Accelerator Fund panel, and the chance to qualify for capital infusion.

Mentorship: establishment of mentoring relationships, in both Bhutan and internationally, to aid the entrepreneurs in developing a high-impact entrepreneurial venture, building business linkages and networks, and accessing markets for their goods and services.

Advisory services: experts available to provide specific mentoring HR, legal, accounting, etc.

For each of the three 3-month cohorts comprising this initial program, a total of 15 of the applicants exhibiting the highest potential for success will be competitively selected, based on proven IC² Institute selection criteria.

The DHI initiative is the latest in a series of IC² Institute engagements in the South Asia region going back over a decade. Currently, IC² operates the Nexus Startup Hub at the American Center in New Delhi; the XLr8AP Technology Accelerator in Andhra Pradesh, India; and the South Asia Connect program, which links entrepreneurs and startup ecosystem leaders from Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India.

For more information:

DHI BizAP, Bhutan

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New guide to resources for startups and innovators at UT Austin

The Herb Kelleher Center in the McCombs School of Business has released the 2018 edition of their “A Guide to UT Austin’s Startup Ecosystem,” a directory of units, programs and organizations supporting innovation throughout the university.

A Guide to UT Austin's Startup Ecosystem

The guide notes UT Austin’s special position as a top-notch research institution in a hotbed for startups.

AUSTIN is the No. 1 city for startup activity.
The 2016 Kauffman Index

MCCOMBS SCHOOL OF BUSINESS has one of the top-ranked entrepreneurship programs in the world.
U.S. News and World Report, 2016

UT AUSTIN ranks No. 8 in the world for educating startup founders who successfully raise money for new ventures.
Business Insider, 2016

UT AUSTIN is No. 18 among public universities nationwide.
U.S. News & World Report, 2016

The guide is available for download here.

See pages 10-12 for the IC² Institute’s programs including the Austin Technology Incubator, Southwest I-Corps, and Student Entrepreneur Acceleration and Launch.

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Korean visiting scholars and students gather at IC²

What can happen when mid-career managers from a global supplier of electric power systems connect with members of the UT Korean Student Association (KSA)? Business can happen!

Over pizza and short presentations at the IC² Institute, four visiting scholars from LSIS in Korea got acquainted with a group of graduate students from KSA. In its 9th year, the Institute’s Global Leadership Management Program, which trains LSIS managers in American business practices, connected its Korean visiting scholars with KSA members to talk about business opportunities in Korea.

After a welcome to The University of Texas at Austin provided by Jenn Wang of the Office of Development, Salvador Alanis and Greg Pogue described IC²’s technology commercialization programs in Korea, including initiatives in Seoul and Daejon, Jeolabuk, and Gyeonggido provinces in Korea.

IC²’s relationship with LSIS runs deep: LSIS chairman and CEO Dr. Ja-Kyun Koo, himself a UT Austin PhD, is a generous supporter of the University through his leadership of the Korean Alumni Association and involvement on the University’s International Board of Advisors.

All attendees at the reception seemed grateful for the chance to share ideas and make connections that might pay off back in Korea, after their time in Austin is over. KSA students expressed interest to engage in commercialization programs IC² offers through the Austin Technology Incubator in Austin and global initiatives in Korea.

LSIS and KSA at IC²    LSIS and KSA at IC²

LSIS and KSA at IC²    LSIS and KSA at IC²

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New publications from IC²-funded research on global climate policy

Joshua BusbyJoshua Busby, recipient of a 2017-2018 research award from the IC² Institute, has announced several publications stemming from his research on climate policy and the renewable energy industry in an international context.

Climate Leadership in Uncertain Times
By Joshua Busby and Nigel Purvis. Atlantic Council, September 2018.

Warming World: Why Climate Change Matters More Than Anything Else
By Joshua Busby. Foreign Affairs, July/August 2018.

Turning the Carbon Supertanker: Sectoral Feasibility of Climate Change Mitigation in China
By Joshua Busby, Xue Gao, and Sarang Shidore. Energy Research & Social Science, March 2018.

Still Shining? Our Third Annual Review on Solar Scale-up in India
By Joshua Busby and Sarang Shidore. Council on Foreign Relations, February 2018.

Busby is an Associate Professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and a Distinguished Scholar at the Strauss Center for International Security and Law at The University of Texas at Austin.

IC² Institute research awards are designed to stimulate research by tenured and tenure-track faculty across UT Austin and to promote thought leadership in the disciplines informing entrepreneurship theory and practice.

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BBR studies human trafficking in the wake of Hurricane Harvey

A team from the Bureau of Business Research and The University of Texas at Austin has received a National Science Foundation grant to explore ways to disrupt human trafficking supply chains related to Hurricane Harvey reconstruction efforts.

After Harvey hit Houston and the Texas coastal bend in 2017, causing $125 billion in damage, residents and officials quickly turned their attention to rebuilding homes, apartments and office buildings. This need for a large supply of quick labor after natural disasters can create conditions ripe for human trafficking, exploitation and coercion, especially in a low-wage, high-hazard industry such as construction.

The NSF awarded UT researchers a two-year competitive grant to help disrupt illicit supply networks by studying the patterns of exploitation endured by laborers in the construction industry after Harvey.

Matt Kammer-Kerwick of the Bureau of Business Research at UT’s IC² Institute will lead the study in collaboration with Eleftherios Iakovou at Texas A&M University. The team also includes researchers from UT’s Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault in the Steve Hicks School of Social Work.

The study will inform policymakers, business owners and regulators so they can better combat human trafficking in the construction industry.

“People would want to know if their homes and local businesses are being rebuilt by workers who are exploited, coerced, or swindled out of their hard-earned wages. Reducing labor trafficking and exploitation makes Texas a fairer and better place to work and live,” said Noël Busch-Armendariz, director of the Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault and professor of social work at UT Austin.

The award stems from an NSF-funded, interdisciplinary workshop at UT in 2017 that was led by Kammer-Kerwick and Busch-Armendariz and brought together scholars from operations research, data analytics and human trafficking to create a new and collaborative research agenda.

This interdisciplinary approach is novel for the study of human trafficking labor networks, said Bruce Kellison, director of the Bureau of Business Research.

“UT has expertise in both human trafficking and in complex mathematical modeling. It’s exciting to be moving the field forward and expanding its reach by identifying ways to disrupt these illicit networks that sustain human trafficking through this innovative collaboration of social scientists, engineers and mathematicians,” he said.

Human trafficking is often associated with the sex trade industry, but people are exploited in other sectors such as housekeeping, kitchen work and construction labor, working under conditions considered to be modern-day slavery — situations of force, fraud, or coercion. This landscape is often marked by a labor supply chain in which labor contractors, recruiters, or other middlemen are present and hazardous work is performed by easily replaced, migrant, or low-skilled workers.

“We saw employers exploiting workers after Ike, and we are seeing it again with Harvey. Wage theft is devastating for workers, many of whom live locally and are recovering from Harvey themselves,” said Marianela Acuña Arreaza, executive director of Fe y Justicia Worker Center, a group that plans to assist with the research and may be able to use the findings to inform their work.

As part of the study, researchers will interview laborers who worked in post-Harvey cleanup about their various jobs, related experiences and working conditions. This real-world evidence will then be used to model human trafficking and other forms of exploitation. The goal is to identify precise interventions that disrupt the illicit behaviors in the construction supply chain.

The $300,000 award to study the exploitation of laborers in the wake of Hurricane Harvey is one of nine grants that the NSF awarded this week to help disrupt illicit supply networks.

For more information

News coverage

flood image - AP
AP Photo/David J. Phillip

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IC² developing collaboration with Army Futures Command

On the occasion of the Activation Ceremony of the Army Futures Command (AFC) on August 24, 2018, the IC² Institute announced its plan to support the AFC mission by facilitating links to the Austin deep tech community.

The Army Futures Command is a major new initiative to modernize the Army’s technological capabilities and has been described by military officials as the most significant reorganization of the army in 45 years. Its mission is “to lead the future force modernization enterprise and deliver lightning-fast innovative solutions with leading talent, technology, and ideas.”

Austin was chosen as the headquarters for the AFC after a competitive process among 150 U.S. cities. The Army chose Austin in order to place the command in a center of innovation with ready access to talent, a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem, and leading academic research institutions.

“The IC² Institute’s history as an interface among industry, government, and The University of Texas at Austin makes it well placed to help AFC create and strengthen connections,” said Gregory Pogue, Interim Executive Director of the Institute. “IC² programs such as the Austin Technology Incubator constitute a ready-made pipeline to Austin’s deep tech startup community.”

The Activation Ceremony at the University of Texas System marked the official launch of the AFC and its new headquarters in Austin. The gathering of military and civilian officials was addressed by Secretary of the Army Mark T. Esper, Governor Greg Abbott, Senator John Cornyn, Austin Mayor Steve Adler, and General Mark A. Milley, followed by remarks from the Commanding General of the AFC, Lt. Gen. John Murray.

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IC² Institute board member Pike Powers with Lt. Gen. John Murray
IC² Institute board member Pike Powers with Lt. Gen. John Murray

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Austin-American Statesman covers ATI rebranding as “deep tech” incubator

In preparation for its 30th anniversary, the Austin Technology Incubator re-emphasizes focus on startups with complex technologies.

The Austin American-Statesman has published a feature story on ATI’s renewed connection with The University of Texas at Austin and the incubator’s unique role in the Austin startup ecosystem. The story also highlights ATI’s work with member companies EQO, H2Optimize/Hydroid, and Yotta Solar.

ATI director Mitch Jacobson explained what he means by deep tech. “We’re not doing things around parking apps and dating apps. We’re doubling down on deep tech, which involves trying to solve big problems with big solutions… That can be clean air, clean water, drugs around cancer or new carbon capture technology.”

The story was released Thursday on the site and will be featured in this Sunday’s business section. Read it here.

To rebuild the brand, Austin Technology Incubator focuses on ‘deep tech’
Austin’s first tech incubator is working to raise its profile and play a larger role within UT and the Austin startup scene.
Lori Hawkins, Austin American-Statesman

conversation at ATI
Photo: Amanda Voisard, Austin American-Statesman

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