Tag Archives: innovation

Eric Whitacre – Choir 2.0

Throughout my education, music and performance have played a pivotal role in my development.  In high school and college, I was a full time student by day, and a full time performer by night – often juggling rehearsals for two concert bands, three choirs, a solo performance repertoire and a musical or two. Stylistically, this breadth of performing opportunities grounded my appreciation for music in several genres, from classical music, to jazz, to popular music today.

Particularly for classical and choral music, I marveled at the intricacies and beauty of 100 voices singing with perfectly aligned vowels to achieve sounds conceived by great men like Beethoven  hundreds of years ago. Great men like those classical composers are on a whole other level. They hear in their minds the wisps of great master works and somehow have the ability to condense that to paper in a digestible  form for the artist to recreate.  All these great men don’t just exist in history.  Eric Whitacre is one of the most lauded composers of our time, and I consider to be a great, possibly the greatest of this generation. Continue reading

Posted in Art, Music, Shifting Perspectives. Tagged with , , , , , .

Kairos Society – Tomorrow’s Leaders on Today’s Problems

"Innovation is about thinking outside thebox.  give them your insight and see what the bright minds of tomorrow come up with."
 

"Innovation is about thinking outside thebox. give them your insight and see what the bright minds of tomorrow come up with."

“Innovation is about thinking outside the box. Give them your insight and see what the bright minds of tomorrow come up with.”

Ankur Jain is the founder and chairman of the Kairos Society. The Kairos Society is an international, student-run, not-for-profit foundation based in the United States that brings passionate young entrepreneurs together from all over the world and asks them to tackle the worlds toughest challenges. Ankur doesn’t just believe that they can solve these challenges, he also believes that by fostering inside tomorrow’s leaders a belief that they will do well by doing good, that they will impact the quality of life for the global population on a large scale.  Continue reading

Posted in Activism, Inspirations, Shifting Perspectives. Tagged with , , , , , , , .

George Whitesides – Virgin Galactic

"Only 541 people have been to space (total). Within two years we will double that number."

“Only 541 people have been to space (total). Within two years we will double that number.”

George Whitesides is the CEO and President of Virgin Galactic, the spaceflight company founded by Sir Richard Branson. Prior to Virgin Galactic, Whitesides served as Chief of Staff for NASA, where he provided policy and staff support to the agency’s Administrator. Upon departure from the agency he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, the highest award the agency confers.

During this talk at the WOBI conference I was just in awe. There isn’t much to say after a video like that. I am unbelievably excited that the view from space may be something I see in my lifetime with my own eyes.  Especially after my thoughts on the Overview Effect, I think it would do the world a lot of good for people to see the world as one planet, one ecosystem, and not a collection of invisible borders. Companies like Virgin Galactic are pushing the envelope of what’s possible, going where governments have not. Continue reading

Posted in Inspirations, Science, Shifting Perspectives. Tagged with , , , , .

Man-Powered Helicopter Wins Sikorsky Prize

The Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition was established in 1980 by the American Helicopter Society (AHS) International to develop the first controlled flight of a human powered helicopter that meets a set of extremely challenging requirements. In summary, the requirements to win the AHS Human Powered Helicopter Competition include a flight duration of 60 seconds and reaching an altitude of 3 meters (9.8 ft) while remaining in a 10 meter (32.8 ft) square. The flight must be certified by a representative of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. On July 11, 2013, 33 years after the competition was established, the award was officially declared won when AeroVelo, from the University of Toronto, flew a human-powered helicopter that met all the requirements of the competition. [Wikipedia]

Continue reading

Posted in Art, Inspirations, Science, Shifting Perspectives. Tagged with , , .

On Your Feet – The Art of Making it Up

"The secret to Improvisation is Co-Creation. Life is Improvisation, and creativity is the willingness to play."

“The secret to Improvisation is Co-Creation. Life is Improvisation, and creativity is the willingness to play.”

Gary Hirsch co-founded On Your Feet alongside Robert Poynton in 1996. His premise is that business leaders benefit greatly from the skills imparted in improvisational comedy – most notably the concepts of co-creation, acceptance, and “throwing away the script.”

In Improv, you can’t force your partner in any particular direction. You have to respond to what they say, and them to you, without any preparation beforehand.  This often brings unexpected results, and laughter.  The takeaways are so important! Everything in Improv, in business, in life, is an offer.  Continue reading

Posted in Art, Funny, Inspirations, Shifting Perspectives, Work. Tagged with , , , .

Rebecca Henderson – Sustainable Corporate Values

 Rebecca Henderson- Building a sustainable organization, culture, and values

“For the last 50 years we have been focused on reducing our reliance on Labor and Capital. All we have to do now is put the same focus on reducing energy and material dependence.”

In a riveting display of her professorial skills, this co-director of the business initiative at Harvard University “schooled” me on the subject of her career’s research: exploring how organizations respond to large-scale technological shifts, most recently in regard to energy and the environment.

Her success stories, or companies that seem to have been successful in navigating potentially damaging changes to their business, have done so by talking about some previously taboo subjects in capitalism: their values.  She contends that because values are a powerful motivator, and positive motivation has shown to make employees 3x as effective, sharing corporate values could have very positive economic effects.

Industry must become more self-regulating, because national governments just don’t have the jurisdiction to propose meaningful protections everywhere they are needed.  Having clear corporate values can drive to this goal.

Johnson & Johnson has been putting values at the heart of its business model for over a century, and it has paid off. Even after devastating losses in consumer sales due to Consent Decree, J&J acted quickly and responsibly to recall products. Now that these products are starting to return to the shelves, they are finding that the Brand Loyalty has survived, in no small part due to the ethical actions taken to protect their customers, which they put first. When you are against the ropes at a moral fork in the road, there is a lot to gain from taking the highroad.

Posted in Activism, Inspirations, IT, Life Lessons, Shifting Perspectives, Work. Tagged with , , , , , , .

Insights from World Innovation Forum 2013

A few weeks ago I attended the World Innovation Forum at the regal New York City Center, a two-day immersive look at what it means to build a culture of innovation, hearing from a broad range of speakers, across countless disciplines. From the experience, I came back to my work and personal life refreshed and invigorated, as is true of most conferences. I think what makes this experience truly unique is that unlike other conferences, Innovation is not an industry specific thing, and yet has become so widely desirable in so many facets of life. I found insights from this experience that I hope to carry across the broad spectrum of my creative endeavors, both personal and professional, and here, I plan to share them with you.

Continue reading

Posted in Inspirations, IT, Life Lessons, Shifting Perspectives. Tagged with , , , , , .

Michael Martin – Vibram

Michael Martin – From a Marketing Strategy to a Global Movement

“We sold a product that went against everything we ever did in the industry, without a business model, that no customers asked for, that people initially hated, without spending a dollar in marketing.”

Michael Martin, General Manager of the Five Fingered shoes (you know, the “toe shoes”), shared his journey building a product that was doomed to fail according to virtually every conceivable measure of potential future success.

The company’s big break was actually deep in it’s history, when it sold the first rubber soled shoe, going on to supply the US military with all of its footwear. They had proven they could innovate once, why not again? As anyone in a large successful company can attest, it is a lot harder to innovate in a proven, successful market than it is at the start of a company when you have nothing to lose.

As if putting Mauro’s theory into practice, they relied heavily on their loyal customers to advertise their product for them. They have a website where their customers have made three minute videos about what Five Fingers means to them.  Suddenly, this confusing, unwanted product has evolved into the 2010 “Item of the Year” in the Plus awards for design excellence.  All of this is possible because they had the courage to stand by their idea, because of their experience with a young, unproven product. The courage to accept early failure as part of the road to future success is instrumental to building a culture of innovation.

Posted in Funny, Inspirations, IT, Life Lessons, Project Management, Shifting Perspectives, Uncategorized. Tagged with , , , , , , .

Designing For Our Bodies

Artist Neil Harbisson was born completely color blind, but these days a device attached to his head turns color into audible frequencies. Instead of seeing a world in grayscale, Harbisson can hear a symphony of color — and yes, even listen to faces and paintings.  Neil Harbisson’s “eyeborg” allows him to hear colors, even those beyond the range of sight, such as ultraviolet and infrared frequencies.

His story is unbelievable; a remarkable use of modern technology.  This is just one example of a growing trend of technology integration with our biological “hardware”.  I want to talk about encouraging the innovation that will push the boundaries between technology and our world.  To do this, we have to start designing for our bodies, for our native ecosystems.  There is a lot of material in this post, so make sure you catch all of the exciting developments! Listen to Neil’s story, and get excited! Continue reading

Posted in Health, Inspirations, Science, Shifting Perspectives. Tagged with , , , , , .