NEWS: PanIIT 2009 – Clinton foundation, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship


Chicago Mentors got an opportunity to attend a conference on “Entrepreneurship and Innovation in a Global Economy” in Chicago last week. The conference was attended by 2000 individuals from across the globe and was organized as an alumni conference of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). The IIT alumni conference is held every year, alternatively in US and India.

Key Attendees

Bill Clinton – President
Aneesh Chopra – Federal CTO, US
Anu Acharya – CEO, Ocimum Biosolutions
Arjun Malhotra – CEO, Headstrong
Bala Balachandran – Professor, Kellogg School of Management
Carl Schramm – CEO, Kauffman Foundation
Desh Deshpande – Chairman of Sycamore Networks, Tejas Networks, A123 Systems,Sandstone Capital and HiveFire
Glen Tullman – CEO, Allscripts Healthcare Solutions
James Owens – CEO, Caterpillar
James Rogers – CEO, Duke Energy
Michael Wasielewski – Director, Argonne-Northwestern Solar Energy Research (ANSER) Center
Nathan Mhrvold – Intellectual Ventures
Padmasree Warrior – CTO, Cisco
Peter Balbus – CEO, Pragmaxis
Praful Kulkarni – CEO, gkkworks
Prith Banerjee – Director, HP Labs
Rajat Gupta – CEO, McKinsey retired, now equity investor
Rich Lavin – Group President, Caterpillar
Ro Khanna, US Department of Commerce
Sanjay Khosla – President, Kraft International
Sharon Oster – Dean and Professor, Yale School of Management
Umang Gupta – CEO, Keynote Systems
Vishal Wanchoo – CEO, GE Healthcare IT
Vivek Kundra – Federal CIO, US

Key Takeaways

U.S. Economy

  • The traditional options for GDP growth (consumer spending, government spending, real estate) are not viable or sufficient. The GDP growth will have to come from exports. Ro Khanna at US department of Commerce is responsible for trade promotion programs.
  • The second avenue of GDP growth will be technology entrepreneurs. In contrast to common beliefs, the wealth is created by well-educated entrepreneurs that start their business at the average age of 39.


  • Only 8% of hospitals and 17% of physicians use Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems. Majority of healthcare organizations are small with no EHR systems. There is an opportunity to provide EHR for smaller health organizations that can’t afford an internal IT organization (Software as a Service). There is also a need to make EHRs interoperable.
  • US spends 16% of GDP ($2.1 trillion) on healthcare, nearly twice the average of other developed nations – and we don’t get the money’s worth. Starbucks reported that they spend more on health care than to buy raw materials for coffee. Over $1500 is tacked on to each car that GM makes because of health care costs.
  • Opportunities exist in Health Information Exchange (HIE), Clinical Information Systems, and Healthcare IT (HIT) professionals.


While wind energy solutions have seen the highest growth in recent years, it is not the correct solution for everyone. Several farms in Illinoisinstalled windmills, however they look like huge sculptures because there isn’t enough wind. Solar is the only form of alternative energy that is carbon neutral. Clinton foundation is providing 500,000 solar lanterns/flashlights to Haiti that does not have electricity. The people there currently spend 30% of their income on kerosene lanterns. This will reduce crime against women and provide an opportunity to kids to study after dark.

Process vs Passion

B. Muthuraman, Managing Director of Tata Steel had an interesting perspective on working in a global environment. Developed countries like those in western Europe are big on process but may lack passion. Developing countries like India and China tend to be full of passion but not so much on process (example – defining lofty goals without a process to come up with goals). Countries like US and Japan seem to have a balanced mix of process and passion.

What is IIT

Indian institute of technology (IIT) is India’s premier engineering institution. As one of the speakers put it, its easier to get into MIT and Harvard, than IIT. Another said, if US is the land of opportunities, India is the land of ideas. Based on the list of attendees and their contributions it seems true.

1 Comment

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