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Scientific American WorldView Super Session: The Future of Global Innovation

June 26, 2014
The sixth annual Scientific American WorldView super session packed the room late in the day as the 2014 BIO International Convention wrapped up in San Diego. International industry luminaries examined the global innovation ecosystem in a lively and candid conversation.

Moderated by television and radio journalist, David Brancaccio, host of Marketplace Morning Report, the session explored key themes from Scientific American’s annual biotechnology edition, featuring the WorldView Scorecard and examined the many multicultural elements driving new partnerships, new products and new paradigms.

Brancaccio describes himself as a ‘student of innovation interested in the ingredients of innovation.’ Throughout the session, panelists shared myriad perspectives on the many ingredients that contribute to a robust and thriving global innovation ecosystem.

Anita Goel, Chairman and CEO, Nanobiosym, X-Prize Winner, shared her vision of the future in which ‘boundaries of the past will blur and new ecosystems will emerge.’ She added that as an industry, ‘we must rewrite the rules of our paradigm by adopting a new global consciousness through the nexus of silos of the past.’

Cevdet Yilmaz, Minister of Development, Republic of Turkey, cautioned that while biotechnology offers new opportunities, these new technologies can also generate new problems. Yilmaz compared this to the digital divide, coining the term nano-divide or bio-divide.  “We must establish a dialogue between the developed and developing world to make full use of technologies and avoid social injustices,” said Yilmaz.

While Yilmaz stressed the importance of having a global perspective, he pointed out that it is equally important to be mindful of the differing needs of regional markets and local environments.

Francis Gurry, Director General, World Intellectual Property Organization, urged industry leaders to aim for striking a balance while recognizing that it is an iterative process since the industry is constantly changing and being transformed.

Representing the patient perspective, National Health Council’s Marc Boutin called on industry for more strategic thinking toward drug development by identifying the right problems to be solved. “This is the era of patient engagement, but we have a limited time to capitalize on it,” said Boutin.

Goel echoed Boutin’s comments by saying, “One challenge is inventing breakthrough technologies, another challenge is driving adoption by patients.” Goel continued saying, “I dream of a day when anyone, anywhere can have access to their own health information.”

Gurry summarized the challenges that lay ahead by saying, “Science presents the biggest ethical and moral dilemmas of the 21st century.” He further urged industry to celebrate innovation as it is the way out of our problems as a global society.

Worldview is a collaborative annual edition and media program created in partnership with the Biotechnology Industry Organization and produced by Scientific American’s Global Media division. The annual Worldview Scorecard ranksnations according to their biotechnology “innovation potential.” For more information, please visit