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Chiang Mai goes creative in the U.S.

On 2nd September 2012, a Chiang Mai Creative City (CMCC) delegation of ten representatives from different organizations left Chiang Mai for an almost two week visit to the United States of America by invitation from the US Department of State.

The first part of their journey was in the last edition of the Chiang Mai Mail. Here we pick them up in Texas where thee group had the opportunity to visit the historical city of San Antonio. Monday was a day of variety, ranging from visits to Austin’s Film Society, National Instruments, and the newly opened and highly creative coworking space “Capital Factory”. This mix truly represented Austin, which is known for its music scene, but also its IT and high-tech industries.

In the evening, the group arranged for additional meetings with entrepreneurs, local developers, and designers at Book People, the one of a kind local bookshop, and in the open dining area of the massive headquarters of Whole Foods Market.

The delegation flew to Oklahoma to meet the Creative Oklahoma initiative after visiting Texas. Ken Stoner and Martin Venzky-Stalling, both TEDx license holders, had met at a TEDx event in Chiang Mai and established that Oklahoma, off the beaten track for many, would be a worthwhile city for the CMCC delegation to visit since Oklahoma had transformed itself into high economic growth engine, Oklahoma University is in the process of expanding its science and research park, and the Creative Oklahoma initiative had grown from voluntary unfunded foundation to a significant force of creative change and in Oklahoma.

The visit to Oklahoma City focused on science, innovation and R&D collaboration. The city had made significant investment in new research parks, particularly in the areas of healthcare and life sciences. For lunch, the host had arranged for them to join the monthly venture forum, where start-up and young businesses in Oklahoma have the opportunity to present their ideas and businesses to the who’s who of Oklahoma to get funding and support.

The University of Oklahoma has developed into an impressive R&D for industry oriented institution, starting with the National Weather Center, a global excellent center for any R&D related to weather which had given rise to the a whole cluster of companies that collaborated and hired students form the center. The Center is part of the University of Oklahoma’s research park and is managed by the University’s Vice President for Economic Development, who oversees the research part, an office of technology management, and an incubator.

The last day in Oklahoma was again packed with meetings ranging from the unique Academy of Contemporary Music, the Film Department at the Oklahoma Community College, and a meeting with the Creative Oklahoma Directors to share lessons learned discuss opportunities for future collaboration between the two cities. Before heading off to the State fair, the group was welcomed at the luxurious and massive private residence of the Dunning family. The family had made its fortunes in the oil and gas industry, but Mrs. Dunning had turned her attention to helping children starting and supporting several schools in the US and in Northern Thailand.

All goods things must come to an end and after a grueling 20 hours on four flights, the group arrived safely back in Chiang Mai on the 18th of September. During her visit to Chiang Mai US Ambassador Kristie Kenney met with the group to discuss future collaboration between the Thai-US Creative Partnership and Chiang Mai Creative City. The group is still working hard and recently held a half day meeting to discuss how to take CMCC forward and explore the many idea and collaboration opportunities that this trip opened.
More details about the trip:!/groups/4593317107554 35/?fref=ts

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Chiang Mai goes creative in the U.S.