Business and Policy Leader Events
The Economist’s Vijay Vaitheeswaran & Professor Paul Romer Discuss Global Innovation
March 21, 2012
"How Global Innovation Can Tackle the World's Toughest Problems”More than 80 students, faculty and alumni gathered for a fireside chat about global innovation with Vijay Vaitheeswaran, award-winning global correspondent for The Economist and author of Need, Speed and Greed (Harper Collins, Mar '12), and Professor Paul Romer, director of NYU Stern’s Urbanization Project.
Kicking off the discussion, Vaitheeswaran stressed the importance of identifying opportunities amidst the complex challenges facing the world today. “How do you harness greed for good,” he asked. “How can we create better rewards for innovators?”
In what he called the “age of disruptive innovation,” Vaitheeswaran outlined three keys to success when pursuing a new venture:
- Move nimbly
- Open wisely
- Fail gracefully (and learn the right lessons)
Professor Romer underscored the vital roles that both technology and rules play in innovation. He noted that changing rules, whether formal laws or informal societal norms, is oftentimes more difficult than changing technology.
Speaking about current projects, Professor Romer described his concept of “charter cities,” a concept that the government of Honduras has incorporated into their push for special development regions. In essence, a charter city is developed on a piece of uninhabited land, which is large enough to house a city of several million people; the city adopts a set of well-tested rules, borrowing models of governance from other successful regions and cities (e.g., Hong Kong); and the city allows individuals who like what it has to offer to opt-in.
Read more about Charter Cities.