The Tribeca Film Festival (TFF), in association with noted Harvard Business School Professor Clay Christensen and the Disruptor Foundation, announced it will hold the third annual Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards, hosted by NYU Stern School of Business, on April 27. The 11th edition of TFF runs April 18 to 29.
Lifetime Achievement Awards will be given to Jack Dorsey, founder of Twitter and Square, and John Wood, founder of Room to Read. Wood has opened over 13,500 libraries around the world at a cost of $5,000 per library. The Book of the Year honor will go to Thinking, Fast and Slow by Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman. DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) will be returning this year with Agency Program Manager Dr. Gill Pratt showcasing the Hummingbird, DARPA’s prototype nano-drone, as well as a new prototype making its debut from DARPA’s M3 program—the Cheetah. The roster of other award winners is a colorful and eclectic group spanning several realms of culture and society, among them pop superstar Justin Bieber and manager Scooter Braun, honored for the historic discovery of Bieber on YouTube and his subsequent social media rise; producer Rick Rubin, for founding Def Jam Records 30 years ago in an NYU dorm room; and oncologist Steven A. Curley for his advances in cancer treatments.
After publishing his best-selling book The Innovators Dilemma in 1997, Christensen moved to center stage as one of the world’s leading experts on innovation; the book presented his startling theory of disruptive innovation. It since has become one of the business world’s most important theories, and explains why great companies fail: They are frequently decimated by “two guys in a garage” who develop a simpler, cheaper, more accessible product or service that is “good enough to get the job done.” Forbes magazine recently hailed Christensen as “one of the world’s most important business theorists of the past 50 years.” This year Thinkers 50 recognized Christensen as the most influential business thinker in the world.
“Last year’s awards shined a spotlight on fascinating exceptions to the original theory,” Christensen said. “Theorists and practitioners alike must vigilantly hunt for anomalies, explanations, and narratives that help keep the theory fresh. I am thrilled to join Tribeca in celebrating this year’s honorees, who are propelling us toward Disruptive Innovation 2.0.”
Honorees receive Disruptor Awards nicknamed Maslow’s Silver Hammer, in honor of psychologist Abe Maslow, who created the famous hierarchy of human needs. One of Maslow’s most famous quotes—“When your only tool is a hammer, every problem starts looking like a nail”—embodies the spirit of the Awards and symbolizes the need for new approaches to old problems.
The Awards Ceremony, moderated by journalist and public health advocate Perri Peltz and Tribeca co-founder Craig Hatkoff and supported by Accenture, aims to showcase applications of and advancements in disruptive innovation theory that have spread far beyond the original technology and industrial realms. It is now being applied to vexing societal problems such as healthcare, education, philanthropy, politics, religion and spirituality. But its impact is nowhere more pronounced than in the fields of media, arts and entertainment. The original theory is undergoing its own evolution, impacted by the Internet and connection technologies, open-source business models, and platforms that democratize content creation and attract new audiences. Christensen will address the new insights and lenses in his opening remarks on Disruptive Innovation 2.0.
“Since its inception, Tribeca has been a living laboratory for disruptive innovation, where technology, business, culture and storytelling collide,” said TFF co-founder Craig Hatkoff. “This event, expanded for 2012, intends to shed light on the chaos of rapidly changing technologies and business models. We are beginning to see how identity-based goods, services and experiences create a powerful, yet predictable, array of resistances that change the dynamics of disruptive innovations.”
“We are delighted to host the third annual Disruptive Innovation Awards at the Paulson Auditorium, at NYU Stern School of Business,” said Peter Henry, Dean of NYU Stern School of Business. “At NYU Stern, we prize innovation and disruptive thinking for their power to create value. We are delighted that our students will share in this great learning experience.”
The 2012 Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Award honorees are as follows:
Lifetime Achievement Award – Jack Dorsey, Co-Founder and Chairman, Twitter & Co-Founder, CEO, Square – Originally from St. Louis, Dorsey had an early fascination with mass-transit and how cities function, which led him to Manhattan and programming real-time messaging systems for couriers, taxis, and emergency vehicles. Through this work, Dorsey witnessed thousands of workers in the field constantly updating where they were and what they were doing; Twitter is a constrained simplification designed for general usage and extended by the millions of people who make it their own every day. As part of Dorsey’s continued devotion to simplifying the complex and making technology accessible to everyone, everywhere, he co-founded Square in 2009. Square enables anyone to accept credit card payments on their mobile device and has empowered more than 1 million individuals and merchants in the U.S. to start and grow a business.
Lifetime Achievement Award – John Wood, Founder and Board Co-Chair, Room to Read – Wood’s organization focuses on improving literacy and gender equality in education in the developing world. Since 2000, they have established over 13,500 libraries, 1,600 schools and distributed over 10 million books, impacting over 6 million children in the developing world.
Dr. Patricia Bath, President, American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness – When Dr. Bath became the first person to demonstrate Laserphaco cataract surgery she also became the first African American woman to receive a medical patent. She recently published “ilaser,” an educational science App designed to inspire the next generation of inventors. Her next mission: “to help the blind see.”
Justin Bieber, Global Superstar, and Scooter Braun, Music Manager and Entrepreneur – In the first major discovery of an artist on YouTube, videos posted by Bieber and seen by Braun on YouTube led to an unprecedented success story that disrupted the traditional gatekeepers of the music industry. Bieber has sold more than 15 million albums worldwide to date and has amassed more than 2.7 billion video views on YouTube, plus more than 41 million Facebook fans and more than 18 million Twitter followers. The Bieber phenomenon shows that emerging talent can now be sourced online, flattening the hierarchical structure and the barriers to entry.
Ed Burns, Writer, Director, Actor, Newlyweds – When a feature film can be shot on a micro-budget of $9,000 with no fixed sets, in live environments and on a small HD camera, watch out. Burns’ Newlyweds is a case in point. Shot in the neighborhood of Tribeca, it was the Closing Night film at the 2011 TFF and was later acquired and released by distribution label Tribeca Film. Newlyweds shows how disruptive innovation for independent filmmakers has arrived and is challenging the economics of the more traditional business model.
Kevin Carroll, MS, CP, FAAOP, Vice President of Prosthetics for Hanger Clinic & Dan Strzempka, CPO, Area Practice Manager for Hanger Clinic – Carroll and Strzempka worked with engineers to develop WintersGel™, a unique prosthetic liner that serves as the critical interface between delicate skin and prosthetic devices. First developed for a tail-less dolphin at Clearwater Marine Aquarium (and dramatized in 2011 hit movie Dolphin Tale), WintersGel has since been adapted for human use, providing comfort and gentle adhesion to thousands of amputees nationwide.
Rachael Chong, Founder & CEO, Catchafire Inc, – Chong created an online matching service for social entrepreneurs and non-profits in need of pro-bono professional services, engaging a network of professionals seeking worthy projects for the public good.
Steven A. Curley, M.D., Professor of Surgical Oncology, M. D., F.A.C.S. Anderson Cancer Center – Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation – Curley led the development of a promising, non-invasive nano-particle radio-wave cancer treatment that fries hyper-targeted cancer cells.
Marci Harris, Founder & CEO, POPVOX – Harris introduced an innovative, distributed solution for online, grassroots advocacy. The platform organizes citizens around important issue, disrupting the traditional lobbying industry.
Hummingbird, developed by DARPA’s Nano Air Vehicle (NAV) program, Dr. Gill Pratt, DARPA Program Manager and AeroVironment, Matt Keennon, Project Manager — The latest in nano-drone technology, the Hummingbird brings strategic surprise to a new level of realism. The life-size prototype uses flapping wings for propulsion and control. Carrying a video camera and downlink, it has a wingspan of 16 cm (9.5 in) and weighs just 19 grams (0.66 oz). It can hover for 8 minutes, remaining stable in gusts up to 5 mph, and reach up to 11 mph in forward flight.
Cheetah, developed by DARPA’s M3 (Maximum Mobility and Manipulation) program, Dr. Gill Pratt, Program Manager and Boston Dynamics, Dr. Marc Raibert, Project Manager — Robots hold great promise for improving both the safety and productivity of human beings. But, compared to humans present day robots have poor mobility. The goal of the Cheetah prototype, which recently broke the speed record for legged robots, is to develop and test technologies that will enable future robots to assist humans in missions (e.g. scouting, search and rescue) where the robot must travel across rough terrain at high speed with high energentic efficiency.
Jason Kottke, Designer & Blogger, Kottke.org – A pioneering blogger since 1998, Kottke used crowd funding to keep his blog running and has created one of the most influential voices on the Internet through consistent yet eclectic curation.
Nigel Jacob & Chris Osgood, Co-Chair, Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, Street Bump App – City of Boston’s newest mobile phone app designed to help Boston residents improve their neighborhoods. Taking advantage of the sensors on smart phones, Street Bump will provide the City with a near-real time picture of Boston’s road conditions and the location of its potholes.
Bre Pettis, Co-Founder & CEO, MakerBot Industries — – With “The Replicator,” a desktop 3D printer that can make objects about the size of a loaf of bread, Bre Pettis has created an entire ecosystem for desktop 3D printing, a cutting-edge consumer brand, and a flourishing open source design community on Thingiverse.com. MakerBot offers a simpler, more affordable, 3D desktop printer, giving consumers access to 3D printing for under $2,000.
Pat Metheny and Linda Manzer – Legendary jazz guitarist Metheny and pioneering designer Manzer have had a three-decade collaboration, which began with the creation of the 42-string Pikasso guitar in 1984. It has a special feature known as “The Wedge,” a tapered body shape that makes the side closest to the player thinner than the side that rests on the player’s knee. That design makes the top lean back toward the player for a more aerial view of the strings.
L. Rafael Reif, Provost, MITx, (Eric Grimson, Chancellor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, accepting on Reif’s behalf) – Reif launched online learning initiative MITx, which makes more than 2,500 MIT courses available online, free to anyone in the world.
Jacqueline Novogratz, CEO, Acumen Fund – Novogratz created a new philanthropic business model for patient, disciplined investment in disruptive innovations in emerging markets. Acumen Fund’s mission is to create a world beyond poverty by investing in social enterprises, emerging leaders, and breakthrough ideas. It invests patient capital to identify, strengthen and scale business models that effectively serve the poor. And it champions the spread of this approach as a complement to traditional aid, which can create dependence, or pure market approaches, which can bypass the actual needs of the poor.
Mark Johnson, Co-Director & Producer and Whitney Kroenke, Executive Director, Playing for Change, – Johnson and Kroenke created a multimedia phenomenon uniting musicians, stars and unknowns from around the world demolishing the notion of time and space in bone-tingling renditions of our most cherished music, captured on film on a shoestring budget. Upon completion of a second Playing For Change film, Playing For Change: Peace Through Music, the team decided to create the Playing For Change Foundation, which aims to create positive change through music and arts education.
Alec Ross, Senior Advisor for Innovation, U.S. Department of State – Ross serves as Senior Advisor for Innovation to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, where he is tasked with maximizing the potential of technology and innovation in service of America’s diplomatic goals and stewarding Secretary of State Clinton’s 21st Century Statecraft agenda. In this role, Alec helps ensure America’s leadership and advances the State Department’s interests on a range of issues from Internet Freedom to disaster response to responding to regional conflicts.
Rick Rubin, Def Jam – One of the world’s most influential record producers, Rubin has worked with artists as diverse as the Beastie Boys, Adele, Jay-Z, and Johnny Cash. Rubin co-founded Def Jam Records in his NYU dorm room in 1982, and, by fusing rock with hip hop, he broke the rules and a niche market became mainstream – proving that disruptive, innovative ideas and taste can create empires.
Donald S. Siegel, Dean and Professor, School of Business, University at Albany, SUNY, for the Small Enterprise Economic Development (SEED) Program – SEED links faculty, staff and graduate students from the UAlbany School of Social Welfare, the UAlbany School of Business and its Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to local entrepreneurs. It has $2.5 million in financial support from SEFCU and $96,700 from the Empire State Development Corporation. It is designed to stimulate the creation and growth of small businesses in New York’s Capital Region.
Tiffany Shlain, director of acclaimed documentary, Connected: An Autoblogography about Love, Death & Technology – Shlain is an award-winning filmmaker and founder of The Webby Awards. She created disruptive innovation both in the way she made Connected and the way she is using the social media itself to further the conversation about its subject: “connectedness” in the 21st century.
Stanford University Office of Technology Licensing (accepted on Stanford’s behalf by Katharine Ku, Director, Technology Licensing & Luis Mejia, Senior Licensing Associate) – For more than 40 years, OTL’s goal has been to successfully transfer Stanford cutting edge technology to industry via both start-ups and existing companies. Notable Stanford licenses include the exclusive license to Google and the 440 nonexclusive licenses to the basic gene-splicing patents. To date, OTL has received over 8,900 inventions that resulted in 3000 licenses and $1.4B in royalty revenue.
James P. Steyer, Founder and CEO, Common Sense Media – Steyer created and runs Common Sense Media, the nation’s leading advocacy organization for kids and media. He is also a founding board member of the Center for the Next Generation, a nonpartisan organization supporting programs and policies that benefit the next generation of young Americans, and author of Talking Back to Facebook Published this year by Scribner, the book is a timely look at how digital media is affecting our children’s social, emotional and cognitive development.
Thomas Suarez, Founder and Chief Engineer of CarrotCorp, Inc., App Creator, TEDx speaker – Suarez is hardly an average sixth-grader. The 12-year-old app developer has started a movement for app clubs for schools. Thomas’ inspirational TEDx talk has attracted nearly 2 million online views.
Peter Thum, CEO & Co-Founder, Fonderie 47 – Fonderie 47 transforms AK47s from war zones in Africa into branded jewelry, watches and accessories with prices ranging from the thousands into hundreds of thousands. The sale of each piece of their jewelry funds the destruction of more weapons in Africa.
Jourdan Urbach, Executive Director, Children Helping Children/Concerts for a Cure
Executive Director, International Coalition of College Philanthropists Goodwill Ambassador and Artist-in-Residence, UN Arts for Peace – Urbach is a 20-year-old, award-winning, Juilliard-trained violin virtuoso, a composer/film scorer, a Yale University senior and Founder/Executive Director of Concerts for a Cure. He stands alone as the only young, classical music star who has ever devoted himself to touring the country for the express purpose of performing Concerts for a Cure, raising $5 million to date to fight pediatric and neurological disease.
Yvette J. Alberdingk Thijm, Executive Director, WITNESS – Co-founded in 1992 by advocate and musician Peter Gabriel, WITNESS was created in the aftermath of the Rodney King incident, in which a bystander recorded police brutality. Its founding vision sought to amplify grassroots voices through stories and transform them into powerful agents of change. Today—20 years later—WITNESS has partnered with more than 300 human rights groups in over 80 countries, trained over 3,000 human rights defenders and citizen activists, and supported the inclusion of video in over 100 campaigns, increasing their visibility and impact globally. With grassroots partners, it changes laws, reverses policies, holds perpetrators accountable, and improves the lives of the vulnerable and oppressed among us. WITNESS engages millions of ordinary citizens in the struggles for human rights taking place every day all over the world.
Book of the Year – Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahnehman. Princeton University’s Kahneman is a renowned psychologist who won the Nobel Prize for Economics. Our understanding of the world is formed by two modalities of thought: System 1 is the fast, intuitive, emotional, unconscious processing of data and information for decision making; System 2 is rational, deep thought, reflective and studied. Making good decisions consistently—micro or macro—cannot rely on solely on System 1 or System 2. Most people are prone to either System 1 or System 2 with different biases, strengths and weaknesses; understanding this insight will help shape the conversation how to merge these two styles into one brain and get the best of both worlds.