Making an Impact: Locally to Globally

Dear Friends and Supporters,

It is always a special opportunity to reflect back on our past year and look ahead. I do so with an eye on our mission—to elevate the technology policy discussion, support our entrepreneurial community, and prepare students for thriving careers.

In this letter, I will reflect on how our mission has made an impact at CU Boulder, in Colorado, and internationally.

First, with respect to the University of Colorado Boulder, Silicon Flatirons—working with others over the last decade—built the infrastructure for a cross-campus innovation and entrepreneurship program. At the beginning of this journey, we hosted a roundtable discussion on how to build an entrepreneurial university, developing a blueprint[1] for the campus to follow. We recently took stock, via a follow-up roundtable, on our progress[2]. In short, CU Boulder now has a world-class New Venture Challenge, an innovative Global Entrepreneurs in Residence program, and a campus seed award program to encourage innovation. Under the leadership of our Entrepreneurship Initiative Director Brad Bernthal, Silicon Flatirons developed each of these programs, working with others on campus, and paved the way for a cross-campus program.

With the leadership of Terri Fiez, CU Boulder’s Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation, there is now a proper home at the campus level for these initiatives. Silicon Flatirons will continue to be a critical part of the campus commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship. We will host the New Venture Challenge’s Information Technology track and hold a number of events, including a yearly conference, and our popular Crash Course and Entrepreneurs Unplugged series.

For the students at CU Boulder, Silicon Flatirons is a platform for interdisciplinary engagement that helps them develop valuable cross-cutting skills to open up unique career paths. This year, we built on our prior leadership of the Tech Policy Challenge and hosted, with the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative, a campus-wide IT ethics competition. It was a terrific success.

Second, for Colorado, we once again hosted the Governmental Entrepreneurial Leadership Accelerator, working with the State of Colorado and the City and County of Denver to support governmental employees and students working in teams to solve problems facing the State and City. (This topic is close to my heart and was the subject of an article[3] I wrote this fall on my sabbatical.)

Finally, on the global technology policy front, we brought together a range of policymakers, industry leaders, and academics to examine the security issues related to the Internet of Things[4] in the summer of 2016. We recently held a similar type of roundtable discussion to evaluate the role for public engagement in standard setting processes, with a particular focus on 5G technology, and the importance of improving spectrum enforcement. In June 2017, we took this conversation internationally, collaborating with Université Paris-Dauphine and the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Technology, Innovation and Competition, to hold a spectrum policy workshop in Paris with scholars from around the globe. Under the leadership of Technology Policy Initiative Director Blake Reid, student attorneys from the Samuelson-Glushko Technology Law & Policy Clinic presented a study on the future of copyright and technology accessibility for people with disabilities before the World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva. Our Digital Broadband Migration conference focused on “First Principles of Information Policy,” once again setting the agenda for the conversation in the years ahead.

As you can see from this report, Silicon Flatirons continues to fulfill our mission and make an impact on campus, within the state, and around the world. If you have any suggestions, comments, or concerns for us, please reach out to me or our terrific Managing Director, Anna Noschese


Phil Weiser

Silicon Flatirons Founder and Executive Director


To view the 2007 report, Entrepreneurial University, click here.


To view the 2017 report, Building a Great Entrepreneurial University, click here.


To view the 2017 report, Entrepreneurial Administration, click here.


To view the 2016 report, Future of the Internet of Things in Mission Critical Applications, click here.