When designing conferences my aim is to force people with very different backgrounds and views to bang heads together and come up with solutions.
In the Financial Institutions and Economic Security workshop I got innovation economists to work with experts on personal finance issues (mortgages, pensions, income stability). We asked ourselves provocative questions like how the changing nature of the way that firms finance themselves (e.g. venture capital, shareholders), has affected the structure of jobs and benefits.
In the Innovation and Inequality:from Pharma and Beyond workshop, innovation economists were given the opportunity to talk to inequality theorists, asking provocative questions like why do the USA and India which, have such good innovation systems in pharma, have such bad health care systems? Is there a connection?