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SoCal Ecosystem Leadership Forum 2019

November 14, 2019 @ 10:00 am 7:00 pm

UC Irvine Research Park – Conference Center

5301 California Avenue
Irvine, California 92617 United States
+ Google Map

The SoCal Alliance will convene a select cross-section of leaders from across the region for a professionally facilitated workshop.

Workshop Overview

There are common challenges and opportunities that unite the often fragmented, geographically dispersed hubs of innovation throughout Southern California. The alliance for SoCal Innovation’s (“The Alliance) analysis of the region, in partnership with the Boston Consulting Group, has revealed that there is little coordination among these compelling pockets of innovation to address issues. However, the Alliance believes aligning best practices, external messaging, and delivery of services and resources are necessary to harness the collective potential of the region’s innovation assets to make Southern California the next great innovation ecosystem.

To this end, the Alliance will convene a diverse cross-section of leaders from across the region for a professionally facilitated one day intensive workshop to generate clarity of purpose, goals, and a coordinated strategy to tackle shared challenges and opportunities. This will likely be the first of an ongoing annual regional planning workshops focused on uniting and leveraging the diverse and compelling innovation nodes that define the SoCal innovation network.

Event Goals 

  • Convene SoCal’s regional leaders to align best practices, external messaging, and delivery of services and resources to harness the collective potential of the region’s innovative assets to make SoCal the next great innovation ecosystem.
  • Unify, Connect and Engage the top leaders who represent the compelling innovation nodes that define the SoCal innovation network. 
  • Achieve a collective clarity of purpose, goals, and a coordinated strategy to tackle the shared challenges and opportunities across SoCal. 
  • Create and galvanize an ongoing innovation leadership group that can tackle current and future regional hurdles to innovation.

Leadership Workshop
The core of the engagement will be a daylong workshop at which approximately 50 key stakeholders from across the region – e.g. CEOs, founders, industry experts, elected officials and other top policymakers, economic development experts, academics, and regional planners – will discuss topics of mutual interest. 

Our work with BCG revealed a core set of challenges and opportunities around themes such as geography, diversity, access to capital, attracting and retaining talent, and the importance of dismantling false narratives.

The workshop will include various components such as presentations, panels, breakout groups, etc.

Workshop Facilitation
The Alliance has engaged Diana Joseph, the Founder of the Corporate Accelerator Forum as well as a learning scientist and corporate innovation leader, to facilitate the workshop. Her consulting company focuses on developing personal agency and initiative using cognitive science research and innovation techniques. She has expertise guiding organizations on initiating innovation programs and helping ecosystem builders figure out how to build their community such as the LA Innovation Forum focused on filling gaps in the Los Angeles biotech ecosystem.

Action Plans and Final Report

The goal of the workshop is to connect top regional leadership and develop a regional action plan, or multiple plans, to address topic-specific challenges and opportunities. Plans will include coordinated messaging as well as concrete steps to promote a unified approach to regional issues. 

The Alliance will document the plan(s) in a final report that will summarize the workshop and articulate the Alliance’s overarching objective to unite Southern California’s fragmented innovation hubs. The report will include a visualization/illustration of the workshop notes. Depending on timing, we will include an implementation status update and/or any lessons learned so far.


8:30 AM: Tour of the Cove @UCI + University Lab Partners

5270 California Avenue, Irvine, CA, 92617
Informal sneak peek tour of the newly constructed facilities.

9:30 AM: Getting Started

Conference Center: 5301 California Avenue, Irvine, CA, 92617
Informal breakfast and Check-in
Meet leaders and attendees, explore the space, suggest additional burning topics.

10:00 AM: Welcome

Gene Sykes: Chairman, Alliance for SoCal Innovation
Doug Holte: President, Irvine Company Office Properties
Dr. Diana Joseph: Workshop Facilitator

Learning the Landscape Introductions: Name, Org, what you want from the day Spectrum: Learn who is here and how you’re connected

Discussion Round One: Centers of Gravity Goal: Ground ourselves in the entrepreneur’s experience to reveal the financial, physical and information resources we have in each center of gravity in SoCal. What surprising or unique resources we have in each area? What challenges and gaps can we address by working across all of SoCal?

(All attendees will self-divide into three discussion groups) Breakout group discussion leaders: Alex Bates, NeoCortex Ventures; Erin Beck, Wana; Anderee Berengian, Cie/RezVen

Lock in the learning Share group findings to the full meeting and make them stronger. Captured by graphic recorder Alece.

12:45 PM: Lunch On Site

1:45 PM: Discussion Round Two: Connective Tissue

Discussion Round Three: Thorny Challenges

Topic 1: Talent Trouble, We are hungry for seasoned business talent interested in startups, both on the startup side and on the enterprise side. What’s causing this hunger? How might we address it? Discussion leader: Alex Maleji, Idealab

Topic 2: Money Trouble, Certain stages of investment seem to call forth lots of dollars in SoCal, others seem to be blocked. Certain types of funders seem to be abundant in SoCal, others seem to be absent. What’s going on? How can we fix? Discussion Leader: Carmen Palafox, MiLA Capital.

Topic 3: Brand Trouble, Limitation of SoCal brand – so heavily weighted to consumer internet and entertainment and doesn’t capture the full richness of the region? How do we construct an alternative narrative? Discussion leader: Susan Windham-Bannister, BioLA

Lock in the learning: Share group findings to the full meeting and make them stronger, Captured by graphic recorder Alece.

Wrap Up and Sign Up: Sign up for a task. Share your biggest takeaway. Closing comments: Andy Wilson, Alliance for SoCal Innovation. 

5:15 PM: Reception

Wait out the traffic! Eat and drink with you (new) colleagues before heading home.

Graphic Recordings Captured During the Workshop

  • Dennis Abremski, US San Diego
  • Dave Adornetto, UCSB Technology Management Program
  • Jim Andelman, Bonfire Ventures
  • Peter Asmuth, Kaiser Permanente
  • Alex Bates, NeoCortex Ventures
  • Ken Beall, ULP (University Lab Partners)
  • Erin Beck, Wana
  • Andereee Berengian, Cie/RezVen
  • Bud Bishop, Pasadena Bio Collaborative Incubator
  • Matt Bresnahan, WSGR
  • Scott Brovsy, UC Riverside
  • Janelle Brunette, OCTaNe
  • Jack Davidson, GSMA MWC/4YFN
  • Andre Doumitt, Aerospace Corporation
  • Michelle Drucker, OC4 Venture Studio
  • Jennifer Dyer, USC Stevens Center for Innovation
  • Fred Farina, Caltech
  • Daniel Feldman, Verizon
  • Ruben Flores, San Diego Innovation Council
  • Scott Fox, OC Startup Council
  • Rob Freelen, Silicon Valley Bank
  • Niles Friedman, County of Los Angeles
  • Tad Funahashi, Kaiser Permanente
  • Isabel Guzman, Governor Gavin Newsom, Office of Business and Economic Development
  • Jennifer Hiramoto, City of Glendale
  • Keith Hoffman, LA Biomed
  • Greg Horowitt, T2 Ventures
  • Derek Hoyt, Silicon Valley Bank
  • Carolyn Hull, LAEDC
  • John Keisler, City of Long Beach
  • Terang Kim, Edison International
  • Mike Krenn, Connect w/SDVG
  • Jen Landress, BioCom
  • Len Lanzi, LAVA
  • Gary Livingston, 805 Startups
  • Alex Maleki, Idealab
  • Tommy Martindal, San Deigo State
  • Bob Musselman, LACI
  • Carmen Palafox, Make it in LA (MiLA)
  • Mark Percy, CEO Leadership Alliance – OC
  • Miki Reynold, Grid 110
  • Paul Ruben, UC San Diego
  • Aria Safar, LA Mayor’s Office
  • Calvin Selth, Annenberg Foundation
  • Rishabh Singh, BCG DV
  • Richard Sudek, The Cove @UCI
  • Jamie Sullivan, Soylent
  • Hovig Tchalian, Drucker School of Management, Claremont Graduate University
  • Todd Terrazas, AI LA
  • Tim Tiemann, Cal State North Ridge
  • Jess Tirado, Wells Fargo – Corporate Philanthropy and Community Relations
  • Paul Vasington, Verizon
  • Gillian Wilson, UC Riverside
  • Susan Windham-Bannister, BioLA/Biomedical Growth Strategies
  • Jeff Wolf, FinScale

About the Alliance for SoCal Innovation

The Alliance for Southern California Innovation (The “Alliance”) is a not for profit formed in 2017 that has successfully brought together the heft of Southern California’s top research institutions, local business leaders and world-class advisors to focus on bridging critical gaps in the SoCal innovation ecosystem. The goal of the Alliance is to engage and unify SoCal’s compelling diversity of talent, ideas and perspectives in order to optimize the conditions for the region’s innovators to bring breakthroughs to the world. 

The Alliance will focus on developing and connecting SoCal’s diverse nodes of innovation excellence while attracting new capital to Southern California by identifying, nurturing and matching high potential startups to leading venture investors. By working together with node leadership, the Alliance will begin to tackle more regional issues including retaining top STEM talent and growing the base of local institutional capital. Our efforts have the potential to generate 200k direct jobs and more than 1M indirect jobs in Southern California.