Path Home Shows 2015 Show Archive January 2015 Show 1504 Innovation for the Future

Innovation for the Future

Industry leaders come together to find new ways to move the state forward.
Innovation for the Future

Innovation for the Future

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Oklahoma Innovation Institute


Show Details

Show 1504: Innovation for the Future
Air Date: January 25, 2015



Rob McClendon: Hello, everyone. Thanks for joining us here on “Horizon.” Well, no one has ever said that innovation is easy. For every great success, there are plenty of failures. Yet when a great idea turns into reality, it can change everything. Joining me now is our Andy Barth.

Andy Barth: Well, Rob, Oklahoma was founded on innovation. And from our oil and gas industry to being one of only seven aerospace hubs in the nation, innovation certainly runs deep, which is why industry and state leaders gathered for an innovation forum, to discuss new ways of furthering the Sooner State.

Andy: Innovation -- it’s what keeps our world moving forward, which is why Gov. Mary Fallin held a forum to bring together some of Oklahoma’s greatest minds.

Gov. Mary Fallin: Innovation is important to the state of Oklahoma because it helps create that entrepreneur spirit and ideas and bringing them to the marketplace. It’s what creates small businesses; it creates new jobs. And having a regional summit like this on innovation helps bring all the people together to work together in collaboration and cooperation so we can create the very best climate for innovation to occur in the state of Oklahoma.

Andy: And for Secretary of Science and Technology Stephen McKeever, innovative thinking is a key factor in his industry.

Stephen McKeever: Innovation is the lifeblood of science and technology companies. Those companies need to be on the cutting edge all the while in order to maintain competitiveness.

Andy: A competitiveness that may be key in Oklahoma’s energy industry. Prices plunged at the end of 2014 for oil and gas. And economist Russell Evans says innovation is key for an oil and gas rebound.

Russell Evans: Today’s oil and gas industry, really the energy industry, you look at from wind to oil to gas, it’s very technologically complex. It really is a technology industry these days. It’s not as simple as drilling a well and relying on some, you know, age-old laws of physics. It is very much a technology intensive industry that’s going to require innovation to, to make tomorrow’s oil and gas place economically feasible.

Andy: Yet innovative thinking must be nurtured, which is where education comes in. Oklahoma Department of CareerTech’s Marcie Mack.

Marcie Mack: Innovation to the workforce and education in Oklahoma is substantial for us to always continue to move forward. There will be jobs out there in the next few years that we haven’t even thought of yet. And we need to be prepared in the education sector to be able to prepare our workforce for the companies that we have currently in Oklahoma and more companies we hope to bring to Oklahoma.

Andy: Which is important for a state like Oklahoma.

Mack: For a state as small as we are -- we’re only three and half million people -- we’re very competitive. So we’re hitting above our weight, as it were.

Andy: An accomplishment thanks in part to a successful education setup.

Mack: We are in a perfect area to be able to utilize all of our resources and collaborate together of all of our educational institutions because at the end of the day what we provide for students is vital and how we help prepare them to be successful and wealth generating for the state of Oklahoma – that’s what we’re here for.

Andy: Embracing the future for a better workforce and a stronger Oklahoma.

Andy: Well, now, according to a new study, Oklahoma’s innovation has room to grow. In the 2014 State New Economy Index, Oklahoma actually ranks 48th in the country in terms of innovation, certainly leaving the state with a lot of room for improvement.

Rob: So any thoughts on why Oklahoma faired so poorly on this survey?

Andy: Well, Rob, historically, states that are at the bottom of the list, they focus on things like manufacturing and tourism and natural resources instead of innovation to grow. And with Oklahoma being the energy state that we are, it’s no reason that we’re third from last on the list.

Rob: All right. Thank you so much, Andy.

Andy: You’re welcome, Rob.

Rob: Now, when we return, we’ll look at an innovative Oklahoma company breaking that mold by turning trash into energy.