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History of the CCC Conference (Under Construction)

The Consortium on Competitiveness and Cooperation was originally founded in 1986 by Peter Jones and David Teece at the University of California Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and was designed to promote research on the competitive performance of the United States in the global economy.  Initially funded through grants by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and others, the CCC engaged in a number of activities including sponsoring workshops and promoting research, curriculum development, and teaching on technological innovation, strategic management, and public policy.

The idea for the CCC Doctoral Conference originated at a lunch discussion in the fall of 1992 that included Professors Timothy Bresnahan, Steven Klepper, David Mowery, Richard Nelson, Richard Rosenbloom, and David Teece. Richard Nelson and David Mowery played key roles in securing continued funding and leading the CCC in the first decade.  Leadership by Steve Klepper enabled the CCC to thrive during its  second decade.

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The first, and now legendary, CCC Doctoral Conference as organized by Steven Klepper and Richard Nelson and held at Carnegie Mellon University in 1994.  The weather during the consortium was unusually cold (reportedly more than -20 °F), which made the two block walk from the hotel accommodations to the conference location a harrowing experience for the participants.  Nevertheless, the sentiment described by Professor Sidney Winter, a faculty participant in the meeting, held universally among those who attended:  “There was so much positive energy in that meeting that everybody managed to avoid freezing to death.”

Organizers and participants in subsequent consortia have worked hard to sustain that positive energy.  Hundreds of doctoral students have benefited from participating CCC. You can find a list of alumni here.

Over time, the list of schools and countries from which the doctoral student and faculty participants hailed has grown dramatically.  In 2003, the University of Toronto hosted the 10th annual CCC Doctoral Conference, marking the first time the conference was held outside of the US.  The conference expanded outside of North America for the first time in 2006 when it was hosted by École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne.  A list of the host schools and faculty organizers for each of the past consortia can be found here.  The ever-growing intellectual base of the doctoral consortium has resulted in an almost 2 to 1 faculty-student ratio at recent CCC conferences.  To take advantage of these “reunions,” a “Faculty Day” preceding the doctoral consortium was added in 2006.  The Faculty Day sessions, organized as interactive discussions led by expert panelists, highlight important and new research directions that are nonetheless core or representative of the interests of the CCC community.

Klepper_Agarwal_CCC_2013In 2013, the Kauffman Foundation hosted the 20th annual CCC Doctoral Conference at its headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri. In addition to being a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the CCC conference, this Faculty Day session themes explicitly honored Steven Klepper, as a co-founder and chief organizer universally credited for ensuring the continued existence and success of the consortium.  A tribute to Steven Klepper for his work and dedication can be found here. The tributes relate many charming anecdotes about the history of the CCC.

The organization of CCC transitioned to Rajshree Agarwal in 2013, enabled by the insights and advice Steven Klepper gave her in the months prior to his untimely passing.  Steven Klepper will be sorely missed, even as the community continues its legacy, and remains as intellectually vibrant as ever.  You can find Rajshree Agarwal’s message to the CCC community describing her own vision here.

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