California Innovation Program

Our exploration of California’s forward-thinking approach to the industrial economy.

An insightful journey to discover the stories of California’s manufacturers unveiling the secrets of value creation in the land where anything is possible.

At its founding edition, the California Innovation Program led 25 selected international students through a journey throughout the State of California to discover the stories of innovative manufacturers that every day strive to create the best products in their industries.

Globally recognized as a digital tech outpost, California is also the state responsible for the largest manufacturing output in the US. Today, it’s experiencing an artisanal manufacturing renaissance in sectors like food, wine, textile and industrial design. As men and women in the Golden State turn their attention to these highly specialized industries, they are bringing the same progressive spirit that they brought to tech in order to revolutionize them.

The California Innovation Program has been a fully-immersive learning experience that offered an unprecedented exploration into this phenomena occurring in the world’s fifth largest economy. To investigate how exposure to this dynamic environment drives businesses to push the boundaries of traditional manufacturing, participants met with the land’s manufacturing entrepreneurs—leaders of Made by California who dare to construct new possibilities for industries. They also took a behind-the-scenes look at manufacturing processes to get deeper industry knowledge.

The program, which has been held in San Francisco from July 22 to August 9 2019, exposed its participants to mentorship sessions led by international business and thought leaders and project works designed in collaboration with innovative manufacturers.

The faculty included forward thinking professionals like Nick Foster, Head of Industrial Design of Google X, Julian Bleecker CEO at Omata, Vincent Stanley and Nora Gallagher which are respectively Head of Philosophy and Environmental Editor at Patagonia. On the academic side, Professor Stewart Thornhill, Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies at Ross School of Business discussed innovation principles and frameworks for the manufacturing sector. The program included also a rich group of visits and conversations inside company HQ, like Charles Krug Winery, Patagonia, Verve Coffee Roasters, American Giant and Dandelion Chocolate, which have been introduced and guided by Elizabeth Segran, staff writer at Fast Company.

Dates: 22nd July – 9th August 2019

Headquarter: PCH International, San Francisco (CA)

Number of participants: 25

Design Director: Jonathan Rewers (Parsons School of Design)

Program Faculty: Vincent Stanley (Patagonia), Stewart Thornhill (University of Michigan), Ron Johnson (Apple and Enjoy Inc.), Robert J. Jackson Jr. (NYU), Bayard Wintrhop (American Giant), Nick Foster (Google X), Julian Bleecker (Omata), Elizabeth Segran (Fast Company), Daria Illy (illy coffee), Alexandra Fattal (The Economist)

Corporate Partners: Patagonia, Dandelion Chocolate, Charles Krug Winery, Verve Coffee Roasters, Tartine Bakery