By Dennis McNannay, Executive Director, Oregon Bioscience Association
Ask any entrepreneur and they will probably have a compelling story rationalizing why they believe their company is reaching an inflection point. Call it “the hockey stick” or “the turning point,” it means the same thing—we are about to enter a phase of growth or change that redefines the Oregon’s strategic position. Of course, inflection points are tricky things to identify and even harder to predict.
In naming this year’s annual conference Oregon Bio 2014: an Industry Inflection Point, the committee was actually making a bold assertion. We believe Oregon’s Bioscience industry is preparing for a decade of significant change and growth. Clearly, there are numerous external factors that we could use to validate this prediction. The Knight Cancer Challenge, increased legislative industry awareness, increased investment activity and exciting growth in new markets (such as digital health) all point to reasons Oregon may be on the cusp of significant growth.
If you accept the premise that the conditions exist to trigger an industry inflection point, the challenge becomes positioning Oregon to fully leverage this opportunity. How do we create the right balance of economic incentives, access to capital, expanded research facilities, workforce/professional training, and public awareness to accelerate industry growth?
Our answer was to use the annual conference to invite experts from all over the country who have already navigated their organizations through critical inflections points.
Whether a speaker works for a company triggering fundamental change at the FDA (23andMe), leads one of the largest research centers in the world (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory), manages a famous medical device incubator (The Fogarty Institute), or spearheaded the development of a preeminent genomic research institute (Translational Genomics Institute -TGEN), this year’s conference emphasis was on learning from national leaders how to fully capitalize on our inflection point opportunity.
“It is important to realize inflection points don’t happen in a vacuum. Individual companies and executives need to factor into their own strategies how to use this opportunity to their advantage. These periods of growth usually present opportunities to partner, collaborate and innovate in ways not possible in less dynamic phases of market development.
I encourage both member and non-member companies to seize the moment and use next week’s conference to meet these leaders and be part of the next wave of growth Oregon is likely to experience over the coming years. Everyone has a role to play in leveraging this inflection point.”