America’s chief geek Aneesh Chopra: ‘Today is the best time to be an innovator’

Ed Lazowska, left, interviews Aneesh Chopra at the Technology Alliance luncheon (Annie Laurie Malarkey photos)

Aneesh Chopra, the chief technology officer of the U.S., laid out his vision for how America can boost entrepreneurship, spark more innovation and revolutionize industries such as health care and manufacturing in a wide ranging talk at the Technology Alliance annual luncheon in downtown Seattle today. Chopra discussed everything from how to increase the number of women entrepreneurs to the expansion of broadband services to President Obama’s policy on net neutrality to cybersecurity efforts.

But it was Chopra’s passion for the entrepreneurial process which stood out. During his remarks, he noted the efforts of people like Kevin Merritt of Socrata and Bill Schrier of The City of Seattle who are pushing the envelope in how organizations utilize government data. The goal of the Obama administration is to liberate data, allowing entrepreneurs to create new startup opportunities in the process.

“I love the notion of laboratories of democracy. That we can experiment in new and creative ways, sometimes less shackled than those of us sometimes in Washington feel as if we are,” he said. “It is the entrepreneurial energy that drives what’s happening in Seattle and King County.”

“We are collapsing a lot of the complexity that has heretofore made federal, state and local collaboration very difficult,” he said.

Chopra also touted the president’s mission to increase the success rate of high-growth entrepreneurs in the U.S. As part of that effort, Chopra discussed the five pillars of Obama’s Startup America program.

–Challenge #1: How to increase access to capital.

–Challenge #2: How to increase the role of mentors to coach and nudge startups.(Chopra gave a shout out to TechStars during his remarks).

–Challenge #3: How to encourage big companies to open up and encourage entrepreneurs to participate in their supply chains.

–Challenge #4: How to remove regulatory burdens.

–Challenge #5: How to unleash new frameworks that create new opportunities in health care, energy and education.

And it is in health care where Chopra believes one of the biggest opportunities resides, spending a portion of the talk telling tech leaders that they should consider building a health-oriented startup.

“We think today is absolutely the best time to be an innovator, not just in health but in education and energy. If you are in this room today and you are in between startups and thinking about opportunities, I am going to do my best in the next minute and half to make my pitch as to why this is the best time to be a health innovator specifically.”

Chopra said there are major trends taking hold in health care, one of the most important of which is a shift in the payments process from one focused on volume to one focused on value. That, in and of itself, will create a “new opportunity,” he said.

But that new effort, combined with what Chopra describes as the liberation of data in the health care system, will provide “rocket fuel” to create new products and services that will help care givers deliver quality care.

“The race is on to see who will invent the best solutions to keep me healthy, to keep your families healthy,” he said. “And in the process of doing so will make a ridiculous amount of money.”

Here’s Chopra talking specifically about the five challenges facing entrepreneurs in the U.S., as well as remarks about cybersecurity.

John Cook is co-founder of GeekWire. Follow on Twitter: @geekwirenews and Facebook.

  • http://twitter.com/RedRussak Joshua ‘Red’ Russak

    Brad Feld (@bfeld:twitter ) wrote a great article today along the same lines: http://www.feld.com/wp/archives/2011/05/how-federal-government-can-help-entrepreneurship.html.

  • SammamishIT

    this guy sounds like a used car salesman. I had to stop and back it up time after time to understand what he was saying. Is this the same guy who used to talk about how excited he was to learn that pampers found a way to make diapers affordable in third world countries. I thought the goal was to save money in health care not to make billioins