Klowden Mike formal

Published January 19, 2016.

From the CEO

Self-driving cars …  virtual reality headsets …  interactive gaming. So many cutting-edge technologies are linked to the cascade of innovation that powers the California economy – and benefits the world.

Although the Milken Institute has offices in Washington, Singapore and now London, we are proudly rooted in California. It's not just geographic happenstance (or the great weather). We like to think that the Golden State's openness to ideas and change is part of the DNA we bring to the issues we work on.

For instance, an Institute meeting years ago to brainstorm new approaches to spurring investment in the developing world included experts from the seemingly unlikely arena of film finance. Their fresh perspective pushed the group in novel – and productive – directions that would have otherwise eluded it. It's just that kind of mash-up in tune with Cali-fornia thinking that unlocks creativity across all our endeavors.

Our work on California issues takes place through our California Center, which both nurtures research and convenes groups to share ideas. Our analysts have detailed how changes in state government policy could further spur the R&D activity that fuels the Cali-fornia economy, while a separate study probed reforms needed to make the state's own procurement of technology more efficient. Our work on the issue of open data directly affected state legislation in 2015. And our research on the design and magnitude of financial incentives for the film industry helped frame the issues and to convince state policymakers of the value of retaining California's leadership in this industry.

We know our research is amplified when we share it with those who can transform ideas into action. To this end, our California-focused meetings run the gamut from informal get-togethers with policymakers and other stakeholders to our annual California Summit, where several hundred decision makers from government, business, academia and the media help shape the California Center’s agenda for the coming year. Meanwhile, in our partnership with public radio powerhouse KPCC the Center has created programming delving into the crucial question of whether the ballooning costs of education, housing and skilled labor are stunting the continuing Cali-fornian dream.

The tide of innovation coming from the Golden State is not slowing – in fact, it appears to be accelerating. Moreover, the state seems to be expanding its leadership role in taking on a host of policy challenges facing the world. We look forward to being a part of this grand adventure.

Michael Klowden

CEO and President


Michael Klowden, CEO and President