A rocket scientist, a mathematician, a brain surgeon, and a lawyer walk into a room. It sounds like the beginning of a joke, but at Intellectual Ventures it's something more serious—a business model. IV traffics in a single product: invention. On June 17 it invited 10 of the most blindingly brilliant doctors and scientists in the country to a daylong brainstorming session at its headquarters in a nondescript office building next to a swamp in Bellevue, Wash. Assembling around a conference table, the diverse group, which included physicists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories, physicians from several major medical centers, and a Stanford University postdoctoral fellow in bioengineering, spent the day pondering a complex question: How can surgery be improved? The goal wasn't just incremental advances but multibillion-dollar lightning bolts that could change the world and, not incidentally, make all of the participants rich.
PUBLISHED: July 3, 2006
LENGTH: 14 minutes (3668 words)