Coalition of Public-Private Entities Launch Partnership to Advance Technology and Inclusive Innovation Statewide

Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan announced the official launch of the Partnership for Inclusive Innovation, a public-private partnership created to lead coordinated, statewide efforts to position Georgia as the Technology Capital of the East Coast.

This goal was set by the lieutenant governor at the start of his term, and the corresponding efforts will establish the state as a national leader in technology research, development and implementation – ultimately encouraging growth, entrepreneurship and innovation across Georgia. The Partnership for Inclusive Innovation will build on the important foundational work of the Georgia Innovates Taskforce, which was convened by Lt. Gov. Duncan in January 2020 and provided final recommendations last month to accelerate Georgia’s path towards achieving this goal.

“As we shape the future of Georgia, we must prioritize innovation improvements and technology advancement across the state,” said Lt. Gov. Duncan. “With guidance and advocacy from the incredible leaders who comprise the Partnership for Inclusive Innovation, I am confident Georgia will institute an impressive entrepreneurial identity as the Technology Capital of the East Coast.”

Under the leadership of board chair Dr. G.P. “Bud” Peterson, president emeritus of the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Debra Lam, the executive director of the Partnership for Inclusive Innovation, the organization will implement recommendations outlined by the Georgia Innovates Taskforce, which support foundational, transformational and sustaining work and development throughout the state:

  • Foundational: Providing access to digital resources and education.
  • Transformational: Advancing agriculture, food system innovation, venture capital growth, lab-to-market tech transfer and more.
  • Sustaining: Ensuring the resources, access and opportunities created are sustained through coordinated and ongoing public-private partnerships.

These key themes follow the Taskforce’s guiding principles of inclusive innovation – connectedness, diversity, identity, sustainability and talent. The resulting work will build on Georgia’s already strong foundation, leveraging tremendous technology infrastructure and leadership, as well as the diverse economic, geographic and demographic energy of our state to execute this important initiative.

Advancement efforts will include a series of high-impact, low-cost pilot programs – including K-12 Digital Readiness, Advanced Food Supply Innovation and Regional Industry/Education Collaboratives. The first set of pilots was recently announced by the Georgia Smart Community Challenge, including:

  • Civic Data Science for Equitable Development, Savannah – The city of Savannah plans to build new decision-making tools using a city data hub and analytics platform for programmatic outcomes for vacant and blighted properties.
  • Traffic Monitoring and Communication System, Valdosta – This project includes the development of a smart traffic management system that will connect all 128 traffic signals in Valdosta for increased safety and efficiency.

More pilots will begin in the coming months, and a framework will be created to evaluate and select additional pilot proposals. The Partnership for Inclusive Innovation will work closely with local governments, startups, nonprofits and the pilot managers to scale and institutionalize each pilot after its trial period.

The pilots will provide an essential foundation that will enable all Georgians to participate through increased educational, entrepreneurial, technological opportunities and access to innovation. These programs will also advance homegrown talent and attract new talent to the state.

“The Partnership for Inclusive Innovation will leverage the tremendous untapped potential in Georgia to realize a shared vision of creating a more prosperous future for our state through equitable and inclusive innovation,” said Dr. Peterson. “Our efforts will bring access and opportunity to all Georgians, transforming entrepreneurship in our state for decades to come. I look forward to witnessing the innovation and progress we will achieve together.”

The Partnership for Inclusive Innovation will have a board of established leaders throughout Georgia, including:

  • Raphael Bostic, president and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
  • Paul Bowers, chairman, president and CEO, Georgia Power
  • Reed Dulany III, chairman and CEO, SeaPoint Complex
  • Geoff Duncan, Lieutenant Governor of Georgia
  • Martin Flanagan, president and CEO, Invesco Ltd. USA
  • S. Jack Hu, senior vice president and provost, University of Georgia
  • Paul Judge, co-founder and executive chairman, Pindrop, and co-founder and partner, TechSquare Labs
  • Jana Kanyadan, senior vice president and global CIO, Mohawk Industries Inc.
  • Debra Lam, executive director, Partnership for Inclusive Innovation, Georgia Tech
  • Kenneth Meyer, CIO for digital channels and innovation, Truist Financial Corporation
  • G. P. “Bud” Peterson (board chair), president emeritus and Regents professor, Georgia Tech
  • Latham Saddler, chief of staff, Synovus
  • Stephanie Tillman, chief legal counsel, Flower Foods, Inc.
  • Carol Tomé, CEO, UPS
  • Larry Williams, president and CEO, Technology Association of Georgia
  • Pat Wilson, commissioner, Georgia Department of Economic Development

These leaders are united by their vision to advance Georgia and commitment to helping drive the long-term success of the organization. Additionally, Georgia Tech and notable Georgia-based companies, including Georgia Power, Jabian, Jackson Spalding and Kilpatrick Townsend, have provided counsel to the Georgia Innovates Taskforce and will continue to support the efforts of the Partnership for Inclusive Innovation. Funding for the partnership will be split between the private and public sector.

“Through collaboration between industry and education, the Partnership for Inclusive Innovation has the potential to transform our entire state and the lives of its citizens,” said Ángel Cabrera, president of Georgia Tech. “We are very grateful to Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan for creating the Georgia Innovates Taskforce earlier this year, and for the thousands of volunteer hours that my predecessor, co-chair G. P. ‘Bud’ Peterson, and other civic and community leaders and supporting organizations invested in creating this exciting vision. We at Georgia Tech are honored to help Georgia maximize inclusive innovation throughout our state.”

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The Partnership for Inclusive Innovation is a public-private partnership that launched in 2020 to lead coordinated, statewide efforts to position Georgia as the Technology Capital of the East Coast. Under the leadership of Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, board chair Dr. G.P. Bud Peterson and executive director Debra Lam, the organization guides efforts and pilot programs to help foster access, growth, entrepreneurship and innovation throughout the state, with the ultimate goal of achieving inclusive innovation throughout Georgia. The organization aspires to define Georgia’s entrepreneurial identity as a national leader in technology research, development and implementation. More information is available at