Today’s economic challenges call for renewed attention to innovation and entrepreneurship to spur economic growth, create jobs, and ensure global competitiveness. Given the urgent need for civil discourse and healthy debate about these issues, the time has come to engage our nation’s leaders in the critical conversations that will take place at the Jefferson Innovation Summit. Through an unconventional and provocative format, the Summit will bring together the brightest minds in business, government, academia, media, and the arts to grapple with how best to create and sustain a society of entrepreneurs and innovators.
View the Delegate Briefing.
Watch clips from the CNBC exclusive webcast of the Rotunda Dialogue!The signature event of the Jefferson Innovation Summit is the Rotunda Dialogue, a unique exchange among twelve thought leaders about the power and promise of entrepreneurship and innovation. Guided by a moderator, a carefully selected group of innovators, entrepreneurs, policymakers, authors, and creative thinkers will work through a provocative hypothetical scenario highlighting the challenges of strengthening a nation’s innovative capacity and entrepreneurial ecosystem. Developed by Fred Friendly Seminars in collaboration with CNBC, the Summit’s official media partner, the Dialogue will take place in the Dome Room of Jefferson’s iconic Rotunda.
The Rotunda Dialogue is modeled on the award-winning Fred Friendly Seminars, created by the late president of CBS News and producer for Edward R. Murrow. In a seminar, a diverse group of participants are asked to respond to a fact-based hypothetical scenario. They are given no scripts or materials to prepare; instead, with guidance from an experienced moderator, they work through the decisions the scenario presents, taking on roles consistent with those they play in real life. The focus throughout is not “What do you think?” but “What would you do?”
Scenarios are designed so that there is no one “right” course of action but rather legitimate competing goals, constituents, and values, which compels participants to engage the issues with extraordinary depth and subtlety. As panelists wrestle with the intricacies of the scenario, and as vague opinions give way to the need for decisions, the seminar becomes a drama that illuminates complex questions in a stimulating, compelling, and entertaining way.
Previous participants in televised dialogues have included sitting Supreme Court Justices, Nobel laureates, leading CEOs, U.S. Senators, cabinet members, and presidents. More information is available at: www.fredfriendly.org. DVDs of past programs are also available through the Summit organizers.
Following the Rotunda Dialogue, Summit delegates and invited guests will enjoy a rare dinner on the grounds of Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s historic home. This event, developed in partnership with the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, a major sponsor of the Summit, will give participants the opportunity to continue the discussions incited by the Rotunda Dialogue’s thought-provoking seminar. Closed to the public and the media, the dinner will encourage earnest and informal exchange.
On the following morning, invitees will participate in a plenary session at Montalto, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation’s mountaintop retreat overlooking Monticello. During this working session, participants will draw from the previous day’s discussions to compose a Declaration of Innovation – constructive recommendations for creating and sustaining a society of entrepreneurs and innovators.
This culminating document will ensure that the outcomes of the Summit’s fruitful exchanges are sustained as these discussions continue within the public and private spheres. With an emphasis on practical, action-oriented proposals, the Declaration will provide a meaningful framework for all stakeholders to improve the nation’s innovative capacity and entrepreneurial ecosystem.
As the Jefferson Innovation Summit is envisioned as an annual event, the Declaration of Innovation will guide the development and execution of future Summits as well. Rather than starting anew year after year, the Declarations will ensure that each year builds upon the progress and growth achieved in years prior.