The IC2 Institute has a legacy of innovation and broad impact. From the very beginning George Kozmetsky, the Founder of IC2, had a vision that understood the value of combining academic research with real-world practice and innovation. IC2 is known to many as a prominent catalyst in Austin’s rise as an innovation hub and a magnet for what Richard Florida referred to as the “creative class.” Over the years IC2 has applied a rigorous lens to study a mix of social phenomena including innovation ecosystems, entrepreneurship among immigrants and African Americans, economic development and resiliency in small communities, and, more recently, the economic impact of the Dell Medical School in the central Texas region. Moreover, IC2 developed and maintained a successful incubator that pioneered a number of start-ups in the technology sector and beyond, translating its academic enterprise into a vibrant start-up economy. While the areas of interest and investment have changed over the years the focus at IC2 has remained steady: understanding how to develop knowledge, ecosystems, and partnerships that catalyze economic development, social transformation, and human ingenuity. As the new Executive Director, I am excited to lead the IC2 Institute into the future.
We are working to craft a new strategic direction, one that we call, “Towards a Well-Being Economy.” We see this effort as an opportunity to expand what we mean by economic and societal progress beyond conventional markers such as GDP or the number of patents that a country generates. In other words, how can societies around the world assess progress in terms of sustainability metrics or the equitable allocation of life-enhancing resources?
One of the great societal challenges today is the widespread manifestation of structural inequality. Whether it is the ever-evolving digital and data divides, health inequities, isolation of poor and rural populations, or the racial wealth gap the forms of structural inequality are all around us. As part of its new strategic direction, IC2 is developing an action-oriented agenda that will identify some of the key pillars for a well-being economy. IC2 is committed to contributing to substantive research, innovation, and strategic partnerships that advance equity in social, economic, and health systems. The challenge we embrace is not ours alone. As a result, we look forward to pursuing this work with faculty and students from all disciplines, public and private sector partners, and community leaders.
Dr. S. Craig Watkins