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Idea Machines

Jan 13, 2019

In this episode I talk to Craig Montouri about nonprofits and politics. Specifically their constraints and possibilities for enabling innovations.

Craig is the executive director at Global EIR - a nonprofit focused on connecting non-U.S. founders with universities so that they can get the visas they need to build their companies in America. Craig's perspective is fascinating because contrary to the common wisdom that innovation happens by doing an end run around politics, he focuses on enabling innovations through the political system. It's eye opening conversation about two worlds I knew little about so I hope you enjoy this conversation with Craig Montouri.

Key Takeaways:

  • There is a lot of valuable human capital and knowledge left on the table both by the US immigration system and the university tech transfer system.
  • Nonprofits need to find product-market just as much as for-profit companies making products. And just like the world of products, there's often a big difference between what people say their problems are and what their problems actually are.
  • Political innovation is different than other domains for several reasons - it both has shorter and longer timelines than other domains and in contrast to the world of startups, politics needs to focus on downside mitigation instead of maximizing upside.


Global EIR

Craig on Twitter(@craig_montouri)

NPR piece on Global EIR