University leader calls for shift in culture to advance Houston innovation
HOUSTON INNOVATORS PODCAST EPISODE 187
Ramanan Krishnamoorti has had a varied career in academia, from an engineering professor to nanotech research. While he never made the transition from researcher to entrepreneur, he managed to snag a CEO title at the university about a decade ago: Chief energy officer.
Since then his role has expanded to include advancing UH's innovation of all kinds — from health tech to the arts — as vice president of energy and innovation at UH. In his role, he oversees the UH Technology Bridge, a lab and coworking space for tenants just a short drive away from UH's main campus, as well as future plans, like a new central campus hub for innovation that's in its early stages of development.
"What we really need at the university today is to bring innovation — which tech transfer is a piece of — and connect that to real-world challenges to deliver what the world needs, which is talented folks delivering new innovative, entrepreneurial, or intrapreneurial programs," Krishnamoorti says on this week's episode of the Houston Innovators Podcast.
For Krishnamoorti, so much of what is happening on campus is directly in line with what's happening city wide in Houston. There's a need to encourage more innovation and entrepreneurship, he says, and Houston already has what it takes to do it.
"As a city, we're known to solve problems," he says on the show. "We don't talk about things here, we get stuff done. That's been the calling card for the city."
A priority for Krishnamoorti is making sure that UH has a culture — for students, faculty, and the entire community — that embraces creativity.
"We've got some incredibly innovative staff and faculty, and one of the things we do very well in academia, in spite of everything we talking about, is that we know how to stifle that creativity, especially when it comes to staff and faculty," Krishnamoorti says. "How do we change that culture?"
"Culture is the dominate thing," he continues. "We've got to be systematic about it. If we don't deliver that cultural shift about how we unleash creativity and innovation amongst our student, staff, faculty, and alumni, we're going to fail."
Krishnamoorti shares more about his vision for UH's future as a hotspot for innovation, as well as the challenges the organization faces, on the podcast. Listen to the interview below — or wherever you stream your podcasts — and subscribe for weekly episodes.