Nakiso Maodza and Mike Grandinetti discuss what Innovation is and more importantly what Disruptive Innovation is. Using examples from a variety of sources, they talk about who’s doing it right and who’s about to get disrupted!
Where to listen
Episode 18: How Reebok Is Using Signals From Other Industries To Innovate & Transform It’s Products
In this episode, Mike has a compelling conversation about how Innovation Research Programs Like The New Small Business Grant Programs Are Transforming Military Funding Approaches & The Result Is Profound Disruption To How We Solve Problems.
Geopolitical tensions abound. Asia. The Middle East. Eastern Europe. Africa. For the US military, business as usual is no longer adequate. Dramatic improvements in agility, speed, costs, etc are vital based on today’s global realities. Programs like the US Airforce AFWERX program drive open collaboration across a global ecosystem to enable #innovation at speeds once unimaginable
This episode focuses on the story of 4 young United States Air Force captains, including US Airforce Academy graduate Captain Steven Lauver, active duty U28A pilot & AFWERX accelerator manager, working closely with Warren Katz, Techstars #USAF program Managing Director, to profoundly disrupt how this branch innovates. Steve & Warren share the impressive results of the 1st two cohorts & preview what to expect from their impressive 3rd cohort, now in session. Results from this ground-breaking “experiment” include: -Incorporating a truly global world view of innovation potential and capacity, with participating #startups from Canada , the UK, Poland, Singapore & the US. This is historically unprecedented for military technology sourcing programs
-100% of the 20 startups that have graduated from the program to date remain active. This is unprecedented as deep tech startups fail at alarmingly high rates
-A newly designed, non-dilutive Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant program was significantly improved to minimize bureaucracy and enable funding - approval turnaround times at startup speed. It has seen a 200% increase in applications just two years. Previously, only 10% of TechStars startups applied for the prior version of SBIR grants
-As proof of the efficacy of the improved program $20M in SBIR funding has been secured by the first two 20 startups that have “graduated” from the 2018 & 2019 programs.
-New #VentureCapital investors have joined the ecosystem to support these graduates
- The #USAF culture itself is being transformed, with more service members taking on the growth mindset of "Airmen - #Entrepreneurs" , infused with a sense of ownership of solving problems by leveraging open innovation from Techstars & many other sources. An early breakout success, #VitaInclinata, solved a problem that went unfixed for 75 years. Under the traditional approach, this innovation would never have been identified. Today, they're growing exponentially just one year after graduating from the program. Founder, #CalebCarr, is a Forbes #30under30 designee
- A significant increase in high potential global applicants to this highly selective program
-The early success of this program is now being piloted by other branches of the US military
Stay tuned, next week, when Nakiso is back in the studio to continue the take aways from this episode and build on an exciting discussion with a VC firm that's focused on advancing innovation in a compelling way.
Karen Korellis Reuther, is VP Creative Design & Futures at Reebok . A woman pioneer in the male-dominated world of industrial design, she spent the formative years of her career working in the Boston high tech sector with early disrupters Digital Equipment Corp & Wang Labs, where she was the first woman to ever be awarded a design patent. After a successful stint as an entrepreneur consulting for clients including Blaupunkt, Braun, Miehle & other iconic European design-centric brands, she spent 12 years as Creative Designer at Nike, and after an interim career step, joined Reebok 19 months ago.
The Reebok brand has a history of innovation. It’s predecessor company, JW Foster, was founded by a British teenager. He literally created the first spiked running shoe, which was used by the British Olympics team‘s 100 meter world champion sprinter Harold Abrahams to win the gold medal at the 1924 Paris Olympics. This moment was immortalized in the Academy Award winning film, “Chariots of Fire”. The Reebok Freestyle, introduced in 1982, was the first athletic shoe designed specifically for woman. It symbolized the huge aerobics craze, becoming one of the most successful athletic shoes of all time. The Reebok Pump was another noteworthy Reebok innovation when introduced in 1989. Over 100 professional athletes wore the shoe at its peak. Curently, Reebok is the official footwear and apparel sponsor for CrossFit, and the Spartan Race. It’s also increased its presence in yoga and dance in recent years.
Today, in addition to its long-standing focus on superior athletic performance, the brand is also heavily focused on sustainability. Their first breakthrough product, the “Cotton+Corn” lifestyle shoe, remains a major seller 4 years after launch, a rarity in the lifestyle category. It also won an award from PETA. Recently, Reebok introduced the Floatride Forever GROW performance athletic shoe. 6 years in development, working closely with partners to create new materials, the shoe is made of 75% plant-based material. The company is highly committed to producing 100% biodegradable shoes. They’re also committed to climate friendly apparel materials.
In this episode, Mike interview’s the polymath Professor Jeffrey Schnapp. Jeffrey is a study in duality. An expert on the romance languages, medieval history AND the digital transformation of society, a long-time resident of both Milan, Italy AND Silicon Valley, an endowed Professor & Research Center Director at Harvard and formerly Stanford, AND a founder-entrepreneur, a former top level motorcycle racer AND a visionary on the future of transportation who extols the importance of walking to reclaim civic space - his fascinating multi-disciplinary career path led him to this moment, when endlessly congested cities & the Climate Crisis require imaginative, intelligent personal mobility solutions.
This is where Piaggio Fast Forward, the personal mobility innovation lab that he founded in Boston, comes in. Jeffrey is Co-Founder, former CEO & now Chief Visionary Officer of Boston-based Piaggio Fast Forward, the personal mobility innovation lab of the 150 year old Italian heritage company, Piaggio Group, based in Genoa. Simultaneously, he remains very active at Harvard, as Faculty Director of the (meta) Lab which he founded, and the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society.
Piaggio designs & manufacturers 2 of the most successful & ubiquitous motorized vehicles in history- the iconic Vespa scooter & the workhorse 3 wheel Ape. Piaggio’s history of innovation is rich and extremely rare for a dynastic Italian company founded during the period of the US Civil War. Piaggio has been able to successfully evolve from the maritime era of outfitting ships to making leading edge railcars and aeroplanes to scooters, mini-trucks & now, under Jeffrey and team’s leadership, intelligent robots that augment personal mobility
To this end, Piaggio Fast Forward introduced the gita in November of 2019. The gita is their first commercial product offering that supports their vision – “to build technology products that move the way people move”. Further, ” to support a sustainable mobility ecology with healthy lifestyles and social connectivity available to all, regardless of age or abilities.” Please join me for this discussion on this vitally important topic with this endlessly fascinating man.
In this episode, part 3 of a 3 part “mini-series” on Entrepreneurship, we discuss two very effective & unique co-curricular entrepreneurial programs affiliated with major universities. The first is open to any UC Berkeley affiliate from current undergraduate and graduate students ( first priority) to faculty and alumni and to select international companies with high potential. The second program is open only to Babson College undergrads. The discussion focused on the Berkeley Skydeck Incubator is a conversation with Caroline Winnett the Executive Drirector and Hayoung Park, an entrepreneur who shares his story about in the Babson eTower. Join us for a very interesting conversation!
In this episode, we continue the discuss we began in Episode 14, on Entrepreneurship. Except, we shift the conversation to a discussion about the state of entrepreneurship education at 27 top global MBA programs, based on a credible, recently available new data source that is available for the first time.
This data is combined with Mike’s own observations & experiences as an award winning Professor in the Practice of Entrepreneurship / Senior Lecturer for over 20 years in the US & Europe at schools as diverse as MIT, Rutgers, the Technical University of Denmark & Hult, & as a guest lecturer at Babson College, Boston College, ESADE(Barcelona), and in Olin College of Engineering’s entrepreneurship courses.
Join us as we dive in!
In the Episode, we discuss the connection between age and success and the misconception that it’s only the young 20 and 30 years old Entrepreneurs who are destined to build the most disruptive companies. In fact, a newly released definitive study, co-led by the MIT Sloan School Professor Pierre Azoulay, Northwestern Kellogg Business School Professor Benjamin Jones and US Census Bureau, Principal Economist Javier Miranda, makes it irrefutably clear- the most successful founders are middle age – ranging from 42 to 46 years old +.
While there are certainly notable exceptions, and Zuckerberg starting Facebook at age 24 is certainly one, the numbers bear out the fact that founder-entrepreneurs between 20 and 25 fail at an alarming rate, and that there is a plateau between ages 25 and 35. Starting at age 35, the probability of success increases. Join us for this interesting discussion about age and entrepreurship!
If you’ve ever wondered about who is helping automaker’s reimagine the environment impact of their products, to focus on 100% EV luxury automobiles with zero tailpipe emissions, then this is the episode for you!
Join us for a fantastic episode, as we take a deep-dive into this topic with pioneer AutomobiliPininfarina Founder & CEO Michael Perschke. APF is the global pace-setter as the creator of the world’s first sustainable, 100% EV luxury automobile with zero tailpipe emissions!
If you’ve ever worn the Max +1, the Pegasys, the Tailwind, and the lace-less Kukini, which is on display at the Smithsonian Museum, then you wore the inspirations of Sean McDowell. He’s an award winning designer, who served as Director of Design, Innovation & Sustainability at Nike and then most recently at Converse. At Converse, the recently released Converse Chuck Taylor Renee Canvas, made from 100% recycled P.E.T. bottles, shows us how the future of design can be much less environmentally impactful and still profitable.
In this episode we explore these ideas and the stories behind this iconic brand, and this iconic contributor to global sustainability. Join us for this incredible discussion!
In this episode of we talk about the historic news that Xerox is trying to acquire HP. This is remarkable on many levels, because HP, founded in 1939, is considered to be the “grand-daddy” of Silicon Valley. The HP garage, located in Palo Alto, considered the birthplace of Silicon Valley, is listed in the “National Register of Historic US Places Countless successful startups, also launched in garages from San Jose to San Francisco, were also created by entrepreneurs who worked at HP, including Apple.
Xerox, 3X smaller than HP in terms of market capitalization and with 5X less revenue in comparison to HP, is making a truly remarkable play. Join us for this incredible story!
In this episode of we focus exclusively on enabling boundless female entrepreneurship, along with the formation of female - friendly angel capital & venture capital funds. The progress in this domain has been extraordinary over the past few years and it deserves to be acknowledged and celebrated.
We start off highlighting female entrepreneurial role models, specifically the founders of Eventbrite, Rent the Runway, 23&Me, Stitch Fix & Glossier as beacons to a new generation of female founders, and female investing partners in VC Funds, including Forerunner Ventures, Cowboy Ventures and Backstage Capital.
This episode is a reflection on what has transpired to date in the world of innovation & entrepreneurship in 2019 year-to-date. The year started off with great optimism. It was the “Year of the Unicorn” and a large number of blockbuster IPOs were eagerly anticipated. Many, including Uber, Lyft, & WeWork had some of the highest valuations of private tech companies in history.
However, most recently we’ve seen that has gone sideways for a number of these companies! Tune in to the discussion.
In this episode, we do a deep dive into a focused branch of FinTech, InsuranceTech. Our guest is Alex Shyr, who leads the Data Science & analytics team at disruptor, Next Insurance, based in Silicon Valley. There are now hundreds of InsureTech companies that have been funded, often by large insurance company incumbents, and they are disrupting every imaginable sector of the market. Join us for this interesting conversation.
Mike recently organized and led the first of MIT's four "Innovation Series" events for this academic year, "Preparing For and Competing with the Tech Titans of China", in collaboration with the MIT Enterprise Forum. In this bonus episode, Mike share’s his 15 minute opening keynote talk, and conducts a 10 minute fireside chat with author and Forbes and MSNBC contributor Rebecca Fannin.
In this episode, Mike and Nakiso speak with #PatrickMullane, Executive Director of Harvard Business School Online. HBS Online, which offers non-degree certificate programs, is at the forefront of online learning and the “MOOC” movement that is now part of many of the world’s best educational institutions. Often talked about as EdTech, the disruption caused by programs like HBS online, also includes corporations like 2U, who in 2017 spent $103 million to purchase GetSmarter.com. What does this mean for the future of learning? Take a listen.
In this episode, we invited David Rosenberg, Founder & CEO of AeroFarms, the leading US vertical farm, and a certified B Corporation to discuss what is happening in the world of sustainable agriculture. AeroFarms was named one of the world's most Innovative companies by FastCompany Magazine.
In this episode, we invited WinterLight Labs Co-Founder & CEO Liam Kaufman to join us to discuss what is happening in next generation Health Tech. We look at a new class of solutions known as “Digital Therapeutics” which are mobile apps being used by doctors to diagnose illnesses. We also discuss how #MachineLearning & statistical learning are being used in diagnosing and managing a wide range of chronic illnesses & diseases. WinterLight is using voice recording data to predict the onset of mental & cognitive illnesses.
In Episode 4, we build on discussions in previous episodes about massive sociable change caused by disruptive innovation, and Industry 4 technology enablers like AI, Machine Learning, Deep Learning, Autonomous Vehicles, and VR. Featured Guest: Lee Edwards, Partner with Silicon Valley venture capital firm Root Ventures joined us for an extended discussion on “ Hard Technology”.
Nakiso and Mike do a deep dive on China. Chinese “entrepreneurs” are no longer copying leading US platforms, and instead are building dominant juggernauts that one day, if US companies are not paying attention, will become the leaders. Baidu (Google knock-off), Alibaba (Amazon knock-off), early Xiaomi (Apple iPhone knock-off), pay close attention. China has emerged into an innovation powerhouse over the past decade. Under President Xi, China has made clear their intention to become a technological powerhouse superior to the US. Many government policies have supported this.
Mike & Nakiso discuss the unprecedented disruptive power of industry 4 technologies like AI, Machine Learning, Deep Learning, VR / AR and others, and their already significant effect on a multitude of industries from Financial Services, Insurance, Mobility and Transportation, Health Care, Food and Urban Farming to Gaming, Music, Movies and Professional Sports. In addition, we discuss how AI & ML are totally changing the game for sales, marketing and customer service and support professionals.
In Episode 1, Nakiso and Mike set the context for their new podcast series on Disruptive Innovation. In today’s increasingly fast-paced digital economy, both the life-span of organizations and the average tenure of C-Suite executives has collapsed. Why? Simply because the majority of leadership teams are ill-prepared to keep their core businesses competitive while simultaneously redefining and reinventing their business models and offerings to remain relevant. There are a number of fundamental reasons, which are covered. Distinctions between invention, innovation and disruptive, societal changing innovations are drawn. The discussion centers on best practices in future-proofing your organization, regardless of industry, size of organization, sector or country of origin, by diving into specific “role models” from the US, China and Australia. In addition, cultural norms, behaviors and practices to be avoided that are obstacles to innovation are also reviewed.