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Dr. Alex Dehgan Speaks to House Committee on Open Innovation

Published: 2 years ago | 0 comments

Dr. Alex Dehgan, Chanler Innovator in Residence for Duke I&E, recently testified before the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology about the importance of open innovation.

The subcommittee was hearing testimony on the Head Health Challenge that was held to generate solutions and new technologies for a safer football helmet that would prevent concussions. Dehgan said that challenges like these, and the attached prizes, are important to solve the problems the country faces.

“We’ve seen that our solutions tend to be linear, but the problems are exponential,” he said. “We need to incentivize the revolutionary over the evolutionary and broaden the solutions in our scientific and technical arsenal.”

Dehgan, who is the founder of Conservation X Labs, uses this approach in his startup, which seeks to apply entrepreneurial methods to address the world’s biggest conservation problems.

Challenges and associated prizes are a great way to draw applicants who think outside of the box and harness talent, said Dehgan, drawing on his experience as former chief scientist at USAID to offer specific examples. This approach leads to a wider range of solutions for problems that previously seemed intractable.

Dehgan explained why funding prizes was crucial to innovation. “Instead of looking for the needle in the haystack, you’re incentivizing the needle to find you,” he said.

And although the country is facing many challenges, ingenuity, entrepreneurship and leadership will lead the way to solutions.

“Many of these grand challenges are actually grand opportunities, and we can use the power of open innovation to transform the very realm of what is possible,” he said.

To see Dehgan’s full testimony, see the video of the subcommittee’s hearing. Dehgan begins speaking around minute 47.

To learn more about Dehgan’s work with Conservation X Labs and with Duke I&E, watch this video or visit the Conservation X Labs website.

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