Monday, July 29, 2013

Clinical Effectiveness, Patient Safety, and the Process of Commercializing Technologies with Dr. Schaefer

Join us at Science Cafe
EngenuitySC's popular networking event and lecture series continues this August, venturing into a few field of expertise. We would like to introduce our speaker, Dr. John J. Schaefer! Read all about Dr. Schaefer below. 

Join us for the eleventh installment of our Year of the Smartstate series where Dr. Schaefer will talk Clinical Effectiveness, Patient Safety, and the Process of Commercializing Technologies as part of National Inventors Month.

Come grab a drink in one of our smart-looking Science Cafe pint glasses, and mix and mingle with fellow science-oriented Columbians. Get excited, get your questions, and join us!

To celebrate his success at leveraging IT to save lives, our friends at IT-oLogy are joining us again to buy everyone their first drink! If you don't know IT-oLogy, they're a national non-profit collaboration of businesses, academic institutions and organizations dedicated to growing the IT talent pipeline, fostering economic development and advancing the IT profession. In other words, they work to promote, teach, and grow IT.

When and Where
Dr. John J. Schaefer
Smartstate Endowed Chair for Patient Simulation and Research
Medical University of South Carolina

Tuesday, August 13th

711 Saluda Ave. Columbia, SC 29205

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Dr. John J. Schaefer, Lewis Blackman SmartState Endowed Chair for Patient Simulation and Research, Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC)

Dr. John Schaefer is an international expert in healthcare simulation who is transforming the way healthcare clinicians are taught, and in the process, helping to reduce patient injury and improve medical outcomes.

Dr. Schaefer came to South Carolina from the University of Pittsburgh where he helped establish the first simulation training. He served as director of the center from 1997 to 2006 and directed the multi-partnered expansion of the center. As a SmartState Endowed Chair, he has led the effort to establish a statewide network of simulation centers, collaborating with diverse partners to open or improve centers at the Clemson University College of Nursing, Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center, Greenville Technical College, MUSC, Palmetto Health, the University of South Carolina College of Nursing, and Trident Technical College. 

These SmartState Program-funded simulation centers now provide training for medical, nursing and allied health students, as well as advanced continuing education to hospital employees and physicians. They allow healthcare providers to practice their skills in a

controlled, risk-free environment, rather than in an actual patient setting. This innovative training method results in better healthcare outcomes and increased patient safety.

Additionally, Dr. Schaefer is developing training, equipment, and software programs that are making South Carolina a leader in the medical simulation field.  He co-founded a start-up company called SimTunes in 2008 to create and commercialize simulation educational technology. Read more of Dr. Schaefer's bio here 

Learn more about Dr. Schaefer's background and register for the event at

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Inspiration for Urban Policy can be Found Everywhere

While planning and envisioning a future urban area, it is easy to get stuck in a rut and avoid new ideas. However, there is an abundance of inspiration from other cities in developing a successful city of the future. 

Policy researchers at NYU recently compiled a list of highlighted innovations from a top list of cities all over the place, to bring together a concentrated list of incredible policies currently being implemented. Interestingly, as the innovations were analyzed, not every city has innovations under specific, similar
categories. The categories under which innovations fall differ from city to city, showing inspiration can be taken from anywhere and tailored to a specific city according to its makeup. 

Ultimately, the researchers compiled a list of 15 highlights believed to be the most interesting, fresh, and innovative policies for a future urban area. A few of these highlights include:
  • 311 systems like in Boston and Chicago, which provide real-time updates on the status of requests
  • San Francisco's universal college savings plan for all kindergarten students, its Zero Waste initiative, and tax free commuter benefits program
  • Chicago's seed fund for public agency innovation and its strategy of organizing private sector fiscal experts to generate mass budget savings
  • Denver's Peak Academy which sends public sector staff to "innovation school"
  • London's Spacehive crowdsourcing initiative to fund community projects
  • Philadelphia Digital Badging initiatives that enables students to gain credit for skills developed outside of school
  • Affordable age in-place housing programs in  Seattle, Vancouver and Santa Cruz
  • Michigan's Prize-Linked Savings program that creates cash incentives for underbanked individuals to save more
Columbia can take inspiration from these innovations in urban policy and begin our own. What time is better than now? Initiatives like CRCI (Columbia Regional Competitiveness Initiative) must take these innovations to heart when developing policies and programs that are tailored to the unique needs of Columbia and the Midlands region. This way, we can keep an innovative edge while improving the attractiveness and competitiveness of the region.

To read more on the study mentioned above, read this

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Local Voterheads Receive National Attention

2 years ago, Karl McCollester realized a gap in the process of local government decision making and the flow of the information to citizens. 

Instead of sitting back and complaining, he decided to act. McCollester founded Voterheads, allowing citizens to become well-educated on local issues in a much more convenient way. Because of the innovative thinking behind it, Voterheads has gained national attention and was recently featured in a Government Technology article featuring "five platforms that are helping redefine civic engagement."

In 2011, Karl McCollester saw a common issue when it came to local civic issues. Local governments were making decisions that affected the community, with barely any of the local community present. Decisions were being made while the public was unaware, causing discontent. Voterheads was founded as a technological solution to bridge the information gap and ease the process of information flow between local government and its citizens.

Voterheads participated in our Ignite! ideas contest and gained plenty of local recognition as a result. Now Karl McCollester and Mike Switzer are receiving national attention because of the innovation and usefulness of their solution.

This is another phenomenal example of entrepreneurship taking place in Columbia that gives the community a competitive advantage and creates a knowledge economy. Voterheads saw a common issue in the community and decided to act on an innovative and unique solution. They are now receiving the attention they deserve!

Read the Government Technology article here. Also, Votherheads recently released the beta version of their site! Check it out and keep up to date on local civic issues on their platform here.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

SOCO: "A Place for you to work, collaborate, and excel"

Coming soon to Columbia: an exciting, vibrant, collaborative workspace known as SOCO.

What's SOCO all about?
A group of long-term Columbians involved in the business arena have come together to create a collaborative space for "coworking." The whole concept revolves around the idea that when people from different areas work together, the combined expertise and ideas bring everyone to a better place. Individuals with different ideas, initiatives, and thoughts will all be working in the same place, creating a melting pot of kickstarting ideas and viewpoints to benefit all. And to top it all off, SOCO will be located in an awesome space in the heart of the Vista, to create an even more energetic environment.

How does it work?
They are accepting applications now! If interested, you can join in one of three ways. "You can choose to join on a daily basis, or if you plan on being here frequently but don’t need anything permanent, you can join for a reasonable monthly rate."

When will this happen?
SOCO is expected to open at the start of August. This will truly provide an innovative, flexible workspace for creative and business-minded Columbians to improve themselves and the knowledge economy of Columbia!

Find out more about SOCO on their website.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Dr. Kyle Brinkman is Added to July Science Cafe!

Join us at Science Cafe
EngenuitySC's popular networking event and lecture series continues this July, expanding our expertise to another field of scientific research.  Last week, we filled you in on the awesome happenings with Dr. Kenneth Reifsnider, and now we would like to introduce July's co-speaker, Dr. Kyle Brinkman! Read all about Dr. Brinkman below. 

Join us for the tenth installment of our Year of the Smartstate series where Dr. Reifsnider and Dr. Brinkman will talk Solid Oxide Fuel Cells and how their center has led the global fuel cell innovation industry from the heart of the Palmetto State. 

Come grab a drink in one of our smart-looking Science Cafe pint glasses, and mix and mingle with fellow science-oriented Columbians. Get excited, get your questions, and join us!

When and Where
Dr. Kenneth Reifsnider
Smartstate Endowed Chair in Solid Oxide Fuel Cells
University of South Carolina
Dr. Kyle Brinkman
Principal Engineer & Program Manager for SRNL’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)

Tuesday, July 9th

711 Saluda Ave. Columbia, SC 29205

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Dr. Kyle Brinkman, Principal Engineer & Program Manager for SRNL’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) 

Dr. Kyle Brinkman is currently a principal engineer and serves as Program Manager for SRNL’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) activities in the Science and Technology Directorate of the Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL).   He is also an adjunct professor at the University of South Carolina (USC) in the department of Mechanical Engineering’s Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Center of Excellence directed by Prof. Ken Reifsnider (NAE). He has 14 years of experience in the field of advanced materials for energy applications in an international setting participating in US Department of Energy, European Union and Japanese government sponsored research projects. 

Prior to working at SRNL, Dr. Brinkman was a fellow of the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science working in a Japanese “National Laboratory”, the National Advanced Institute of Science and Technology in Tsukuba, Japan as part of the Research Center for Hydrogen Industrial Use and Storage “Hydrogenius”. Dr. Brinkman received his Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Lausanne in Switzerland (EPFL).  He obtained an M.S. in Ceramic and Materials Engineering and a B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from Clemson University.  

Dr. Brinkman has been the P.I. on over $4.5 Million in sponsored research, has published over 60 publications, delivered over 60 presentations in the field of advanced materials and was the recipient of the Charmey Prize (2007) given to the best doctoral thesis performed at a Swiss University, the TMS Young Leader Award 2010, the “Young Scientist Award for New Material Concepts for Next Generation Membranes” from the Nanotechnology Division of the 2010 Pacifichem Meeting, and the 2011 SRNL Early Career Award. His recent work and focus at SRNL has been in the areas of hydrogen storage and purification, electronic ceramic materials for gas separation in commercial (H2, and CO2) and nuclear domains (hydrogen isotopes), structure/property relations in solid oxide fuel cell systems, mixed ionic and electronic conductive ceramics for energy conversion, and crystalline waste form development as a transformational waste management solution for a closed nuclear fuel. Read more of Dr. Brinkman's bio here 

Learn more about Dr. Brinkman's background and register for the event at

Monday, July 1, 2013

Richard Florida: New Geography of Venture Capital

In our first Columbia Regional Competitiveness Workshop Series, Dirk Brown mentioned access to venture capital was both a major opportunity and obstacle to the Midlands' entrepreneurial growth. In this week's post, EngenuitySC takes a look at some interesting findings from Richard Florida and Columbia's unique position in the venture capital world.

Economist Richard Florida has conducted a study on the movement and trend of venture capital investment towards urban centers. 

Venture capital has been, and remains, a catalyst and launching pad for innovation. High-tech startups and ventures are undoubtedly a vital aspect that jumpstarts the economy. Take, for example, Facebook, Intel, and Google. All of these have revolutionized their respective industries and contributed greatly to the daily life for society. 

In the past, these startups have traditionally called suburban industrial parks like Silicon Valley, Research Triangle Park, and the Boston suburbs home. However, in recent years, these startups are moving more and more towards urban centers, where there is a much larger concentration of business, life, and capital. 

In the map below, you see the concentrations of venture capital deals that have taken place in 2012. A large amount of these deals have occurred in urban centers and metro areas rather than outside in industrial parks, as they have in the past. Therefore cities must collaborate to foster growth and success. Looking at the map, you can see that Columbia does show up as a spot of interest related to number of venture deals taking place. 

Number of Venture Capital Deals Taking Place

However, the following map now shows the dollar amount of the capital ventures taking place. As you can see, Columbia does not show up on this map. Why is this? What can be done in the business environment in Columbia to create financially larger venture capital deals? 

These are the kinds of issues we aim to address and conquer with the Columbia Regional Competitiveness Initiative. Are you surprised Columbia doesn't even register for dollar value of venture capital investment? How do you or your organization help to solve this problem? Let us know in the comments, @EngenuitySC #CRCIWorkshop, on #CompetitivenessWorkshop, or drop us an email at!

Dollar value of venture capital deals taking place