Our Events

Upcoming Events:

Professional Speaker Series (PSS)

The PSS seeks to bring individuals to campus who can speak to both scholars and students, as these speakers’ insights can inform, motivate, and inspire future academic research. The PSS will feature professionals involved in a wide variety of sectors who have exposure to innovation in their respective fields. These speakers do not need to be CEOs of Fortune 100 companies, nor do they need to be Aggies, though that helps. The PSS seeks to find a diverse mix of speakers who can broaden the conversation on innovation and kick-start ideas for research and collaboration among Mays faculty.

Scott Moscrip
Friday, March 1
Founder and Chairman of Truckstop.com

Eduardo Torrealba
Friday, March 29
Former Director of Engineering at Formlabs

Rob Legato
April 2019
Motion Picture executive

Blake Chandlee
April 2019
Vice President of Global Partnerships at Facebook.

Brown-Bag Lunch Series

These lunches will be for our Center’s faculty affiliates to discuss the work they have done since the prior lunch. We collaborate with these research-active faculty members to increase our output on interdisciplinary scholarship on innovation, and we share student workers and data sets with our faculty affiliates.

Friday, February 22 – Wehner 340C

Speaker: TBD

Friday, March 22 – Wehner 340C

Speaker: TBD

Friday, April 19 – Wehner 340C

Speaker: TBD

Friday, May 10 – Wehner 340C

Speaker: TBD

Faculty Speaker Series (FSS)

Lecture by Dr. Yael Hochberg, a Professor in Entrepreneurship at Rice University
February, April 5

Our Center is working with the Department of Finance to host Dr. Hochberg during the 2018-19 academic year. Dr. Hochberg has committed to speaking about innovation on Friday, April 5 in the Mays Business School.

Conferences and Panels

Conference on Infrastructure and Autonomous Driving in Washington, DC
July 25, 2019
The conference will discuss and showcase research on autonomous driving at Texas A&M. The goal is to gather scholars, policymakers, legislators, regulators, and the public.

We are cohosting this event with the University of Florida Transportation Institute and the Brookings Institution. The event will be held at Brookings.

Conference on the Future of Work
September 27, 2019
We’ll host this conference at the Thomas G. Hildebrand, DVM ’56 Equine Complex. We will cohost this event with Texas A&M’s Private Enterprise Research Center.

Previous Events:

Lecture by Dr. Oded Netzer, a Professor of Business at Columbia University
Friday, February 8

Our Center is working with the Department of Marketing to host Dr. Netzer during the 2018-19 academic year. Dr. Netzer has committed to speaking about machine learning on Friday, February 8 from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. in Wehner 190.

Workshop by Mr. Christopher Bishop, a nonlinear, multimodal careerist
How to Succeed at Jobs That Don’t Exist Yet
Friday, January 25

Chris Bishop provided students at Texas A&M with insight into succeeding in the fields of the future. Throughout his life, Chris continuously redeveloped his skills and created new jobs for himself. Chris toured internationally as a musician with artists such as Robert Palmer and Chuck Berry; wrote advertising jingles, including the original “Gimme a Break” Kit Kat jingle; turned a conversation on a train into a twelve-year career at IBM; and now delivers presentations on the future of work around the world.

Each time Chris switched careers, he focused on three fundamental tools for success: Tool Number 1: Voice. Identify your own brand. Invest in what makes you stand out. Frame your persona on your own uniqueness. Tool Number 2: Antenna. Connect your interests to events in the world. Seek sources based on your values and interests that help you stay informed. These sources include magazines, newspapers, blogs, YouTube videos, podcasts, or other forms of media. Tool Number 3: Mesh. Share yourself with those who value your skills. LinkedIn is a valuable tool. Expand your network by adding at least five people each week. Reach out to others who share your interests and goals, and join groups to expand your connections. This puts you on the radar of people you would otherwise miss.


Lecture by Dr. Peter Klein, a Professor of Entrepreneurship at Baylor University
October 31, 2018

Dr. Klein delivered a lecture entitled “Entrepreneurship and Innovation under Knightian Uncertainty” to an audience of faculty members in the Mays Business School. During the lecture, Dr. Klein discussed two of his recent papers: “Entrepreneurial Finance under Knightian Uncertainty” and “Learning by Seconding: Evidence from NSF Rotators.”

Peter G. Klein is W. W. Caruth Chair and Professor of Entrepreneurship at Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business and Senior Research Fellow at the Baugh Center for Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise. He is also Adjunct Professor of Strategy and Management at the Norwegian School of Economics and Carl Menger Research Fellow at the Mises Institute. He directs Baylor’s PhD Program in Entrepreneurship and is currently serving as Program Chair of the Academy of Management’s Entrepreneurship Division.

Klein holds a BA in Economics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley. Peter’s research focuses on the links between entrepreneurship, strategy, and organization, with application to innovation, diversification, science policy, health care, and public policy. His work has appeared in Academy of Management Review, Organization Science, Rand Journal of Economics, Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, Journal of Management, Managerial and Decision Economics, Journal of Industrial Economics, Sloan Management Review, and other outlets. His work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, Kauffman Foundation, Illinois-Missouri Biotechnology Alliance, and other organizations.

Klein is an Associate Editor of Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal on the Editorial Boards of many other academic journals. His 2012 book Organizing Entrepreneurial Judgment (with Nicolai Foss, Cambridge University Press) won the 2014 Foundation for Economic Education Best Book Prize, and his 2010 book The Capitalist and the Entrepreneur (Mises Institute) has been translated into Chinese and Portuguese. He holds an Honorary Professorship at the Beijing University of Information Science and Technology and has held faculty positions at the University of Missouri, the Copenhagen Business School, the University of Georgia, and Washington University in St. Louis and was a Senior Economist for the Council of Economic Advisers.

Presentation by Jonathan Ballesteros and Brian Ragone, two executives at Geyser Systems
October 9, 2018
Messrs. Ballesteros and Ragone delivered a presentation entitled “Evidence-Based Innovation & Marketing – Practical Steps toward Products That Sell & Win” to MBA students in the Mays Business School. The presenters were engaging and dynamic, and their product, a portable shower that uses only a gallon of water, could change the camping industry.

Lecture by Dr. Zikas, an Associate Professor and Vice-Director of the Blockchain Technology Laboratory at the University of Edinburgh
September 19, 2018
Dr. Zikas delivered a lecture entitled “Rational Protocol Design: Security Against Incentive-driven Adversaries” to an audience of faculty members and Ph.D. candidates in the College of Engineering. During the lecture, Dr. Zikas presented the “Rational Protocol Design” (RPD) framework, which formally incorporates adversarial incentives into cryptographic protocol design. In a nutshell, RPD models incentive-driven attacks by a “meta-game” between a protocol designer and a protocol attacker, and then shows how proving equilibrium in the above game reduces to a cryptographic optimization problem of finding the solution which best tames any adversary attacking it. Dr. Zikas showcased the benefits of the framework by applying it to various settings, including secure and fait multi-party computation (all parties obtain the result of the computation or nobody does) and blockchain protocols like Bitcoin, showing how knowledge of the attacker’s incentives can be used to circumvent known impossibility results.

Vassilis Zikas is an Associate Professor and Vice-Director of the Blockchain Technology Laboratory at the University of Edinburgh. He is also a Research Fellow (Area Leader: Secure Multiparty Computation) of the blockchain company IOHK. He was previously Assistant Professor at the Computer Science department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), Senior Research Associate in Cryptography and Information Security at ETH Zurich, Research Fellow of the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing, UC Berkeley, and postdoctoral researcher at UCLA and at the University of Maryland. His research has been supported by a career development (Ambizione) grant and a postdoctoral fellowship from the Swiss National Science Foundation.

Lecture by Fernando González, President of GP Consumer business at Georgia-Pacific LLC
September 6, 2018
Mr. González discussed innovation at Georgia Pacific and his experience challenging orthodoxy in front of MBA students in the Mays Business School.

Visits to Incubators and Accelerators in Austin and Houston
Summer 2018
In June, we drove to Austin to view SKU, Techstars, Capital Factory, and ATI, and in August, we visited Bunker Labs, Station Houston, and The Cannon in Houston. Seeing these accelerators and incubators in action provided us with a great introduction to state-of-the-art entrepreneurial ecosystems, which require more development on Texas A&M’s campus.

Tour of the Center for Infrastructure Renewal (CIR)
May 30, 2018
Our Center coordinated a visit with Dr. Zachary Grasley, the Director of the CIR. We learned more about the applied research that takes place at the CIR, and we discussed the possibility of hosting events in the CIR’s new conference space. The CIR is located on the RELLIS Campus.

Visit to an AgriLife Research drone lab
May 22, 2018
Our Center coordinated a visit with three of the leading researchers in the UAS Project, or the AgriLife Research Unmanned Aerial Systems Project for Precision Agriculture and High Throughput Field Phenotyping. We met in the Wildlife, Fisheries, and Ecological Sciences Building with Drs. Sorin Popescu, Seth Murray, and Alex Thomasson. The researchers showed us their advanced autonomous drones and provided us with an overview of their research.

Tour of Texas A&M’s High Performance Research Computing’s supercomputer
May 21, 2018
Our Center coordinated a visit for faculty members to view the supercomputer in the Teague Research Center. Faculty members learned ways to supplement their research with the help of the university’s supercomputer.

France Hoang: “Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Service: Perspectives from a Veteran Entrepreneur”
April 18, 2018
France Hoang and his family left Saigon ten days before the city fell to Communist forces. He grew up in Tumwater, Washington and attended the United States Military Academy, graduating in the top one percent of his class. After serving as a peacekeeper in Bosnia, France returned to the United States, attended Georgetown Law, and passed the bar exam and CPA exam on back-to-back days. After practicing at Williams & Connolly LLP, he served on the Office of Counsel to the President, and he worked in the White House for two years. France then served as the Executive Officer for a detachment of Green Berets in Afghanistan. He considers leading soldiers in combat to be one of the most fulfilling experiences of his life. After returning to the United States again, France helped found MAG Aerospace, a leading contractor in the field of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance. France encouraged people to not be afraid of failure, surround yourself with hard-working, intelligent individuals, and never pass on an opportunity that you could regret when looking back on your life decades down the road. France ended his lecture with a quote from President Theodore Roosevelt: “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

Charles Brandes: “Entrepreneurship and Investment Management”
April 16, 2018
Charles Brandes is a successful value investor who resides in San Diego, California. If you are unfamiliar with the term “value investing,” think of Warren Buffet and his work with Berkshire Hathaway. In his speech, Charles talked about the importance of having a mentor, but luckily for him, his mentor just happened to be the father of value investing – Benjamin Graham. Charles highlighted the importance of seeking new opportunities when looking into investments. He began working with foreign value investing when there was only outdated information available to the public, and he had to take a leap of faith. He noted that people will become too scared to take action based on the advice they are given, will preventing them from making sound decisions. His example was the stock market, and how the market fluctuations will keep individuals away even when the price is absurdly low. Overall, the content of the lecture emphasized the importance of doing your own research and trusting your results.

Andy Wilson
April 11, 2018
Lectures by Dr. Andy Wilson on innovation in healthcare and emergency medicine on Wednesday, April 11. Dr. Wilson will deliver a lecture in each of Professor Korok Ray’s ACCT 620 classes in Wehner 187. Dr. Wilson is an MD-Managing Partner and is Board Certified in Emergency Medicine. Outside of the ER, Dr. Wilson serves as the Associate Medical Director for the Bryan SWAT Team and the Associate Medical Director for the TEEX Paramedic Academy. Dr. Wilson also serves as an Assistant Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine in the Texas A&M College of Medicine. Dr. Wilson’s greatest joy is spending time with his family. Dr. Wilson has been married to his wife Heidi for nearly 20 years, and they have been richly blessed with three beautiful daughters. The Wilson’s enjoy doing just about anything outside including camping, hiking, and the shooting sports

Autonomous Driving Demonstration
March 30, 2018

The Mays Innovation Research Center is tentatively scheduled to host a demonstration of autonomous driving by the Connected Autonomous Safety Technology Center (CAST) from the Department of Mechanical Engineering. The CAST’s faculty and staff, who are leading the university’s research on autonomous driving, will provide a full demonstration of automobile and truck platooning at the RELLIS Campus of Texas A&M.
view video here

Michael Flaxman
Bitcoin expert and investor
Understanding the Bitcoin Protocol (for Software Engineers)
March 1, 2018

Lecture by Michael Flaxman on Thursday, March 1 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in HRBB 113. The Texas A&M Computing Society co-hosted the event. The speech was entitled “Understanding the Bitcoin Protocol (for Software Engineers).” Bitcoin and “blockchain” have been appearing more often in the media, yet their fundamentals are rarely understood. This talk was designed for computer science students, so Mr. Flaxman started with a quick refresher on hash functions and asymmetric cryptography, and then dove into transactions, blocks, difficulty. Mr. Flaxman also covered more advanced topics like Merkle trees, Bitcoin’s stack-based script language, node communication, and SegWit. The event ended with a Q&A session. Michael Flaxman is a software engineer and investor. He has built three venture-funded companies, thumbtack.com, Priceonomics, and CoinSafe, and he and is an alumnus of Y Combinator. He fell in love with Bitcoin in 2013, and he has built a number of blockchain applications including BlockCypher’s popular Block Explorer. Most recently, Michael was a Principal Engineer at Paxos, a blockchain company with offices in New York, London, and Singapore. Michael graduated from Brown University in 2007, and he moved to Austin in 2017 after spending time in Seattle, San Francisco, and Manhattan.
download presentation slides here
view presentation video here

Professor Clara Xiaoling Chen
University of Illinois, Gies College of Business
Management Control Systems and Innovation
February 23, 2018
Professor Chen talked about the debate on the role of management control systems in creativity and innovation, how management accounting researchers contribute to the debate, and the importance of using multiple methods to examine the impact of MCS on innovation. Clara Xiaoling Chen is an Associate Professor in the Department of Accountancy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research focuses on management accounting and management control systems, especially the design of performance measurement and incentive systems in organizations. She has published in top accounting journals including The Accounting Review, Journal of Accounting Research, Contemporary Accounting Research, Accounting, Organizations and Society, and Journal of Management Accounting Research. She currently serves on the editorial boards of top accounting journals including The Accounting Review and Accounting, Organizations and Society. Professor Chen earned a B.A. in English from Beijing University, a Master’s of Accounting from USC, and a Ph.D. in Accounting from USC. She has been on the U of I faculty since 2006. The Accounting Department hosted Professor Chen, and the event was sponsored by the MIRC.
download presentation here

Professor Gustavo Manso
University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business
December 1, 2017
Professor Manso is on the Finance faculty at UC Berkeley. He is a leading scholar on innovation and the author of the now famous study “Motivating Innovation,” published in the Journal of Finance. This workshop was be held within the Finance workshop series of the Mays Business School.
download presentation here

Fernando González
President of GP Consumer business at Georgia-Pacific LLC
October 6, 2017
Mr. González discussed innovation at Georgia Pacific and his experience challenging orthodoxy. This was the MIRC’s first event, so it included some description of the MIRC’s mission and values.