22 June 2011
Fantastic to have Harvard science lecture demoguru Daniel Rosenberg of InDemoVeritas fame -- and my colleague in performing Moments of Science at the IgNobel Prize Ceremony -- join me on MaximizingProgress.tv! The essence of our conversation was the power of learning-by-doing and the iterative experimentation and observation that's the core of the scientific method! Every kid can embrace this and have a major advantage in life -- being reality-grounded! Also, Daniel pointed out the gold at Harvard Natural Sciences Lecture Demonstrations website where the many demo videos include Exploding Garbage Can, Coanda Beach Ball, and Mousetrap Fission!
01 June 2011
Very cool to have MIT alumnus architect-designer-educator-entrepreneur Saeed Arida join me again on MaximizingProgress.tv, this time to share his experience founding and building NuVu Studio, a compelling new DIY learning venture! Saeed's the Chief Excitement Officer (CEO) of NuVu, an...
"...innovation center for middle and high school students whose pedagogy is based on the studio model and geared around multi-disciplinary, collaborative projects. NuVu nurtures creative problem solving, collaboration, and presentation skills, all critical for student success. [...] NuVu provides students the opportunity to work collaboratively with academic and professional experts to solve real-world problems in an intensive and fun studio environment."Fantastic approach!
30 March 2011
Excellent to have MIT Sloan MBA student Emmanuel Magani join me on MaximizingProgress.tv! We talked mostly about the first-ever MIT African business conference -- Friday, April 1st, 2011 at the MIT Media Lab. Organized by Emmanuel and his colleagues from the MIT Sloan Africa Business Club (ABC), the Conference features great speakers on panels ranging from Mobiles, Energy, Finance, Entrepreneurship, and Technology thru Media. I'm especially excited to hear the venture pitches from the five top Africa Innovate! business plan competition finalists happening as part of the Conference. Emmanuel and I also talked about why the billion-strong Africans represent a trillion US dollar opportunity, the growth of the MIT ABC club events and activities, and why the time is now for business leaders to have an Africa Strategy much like they have India or China Strategies. If you're interested in these opportunities, see you this Friday at the Conference!
23 March 2011
Delightful to interview Deborah Douglas again on MaximizingProgress.tv! Science and technology curator for the MIT Museum, Deb also spearheaded the latest and greatest exhibit, the amazing 150 artifacts honoring the epic 150 year history of the Institute! Some of my personal favorites include the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition, the Media Lab's CityCar, Kalmus' Technicolor camera, Metcalfe's 3Com Ethernet card, Hadzima's IPVision patent map of Stata's Analog Devices MEMS Accelerometer, Forrester's Core Memory, and many more! Stay tuned for Deb's April 1st, 2011 opening of the Compton Gallery exhibit of 19 finale artifacts on the ground floor under the main MIT Great Dome!
16 February 2011
Excellent to have MIT alum Leonardo Bonanni join me tonight on MaximizingProgress.tv! Leo is lead creator of Sourcemap.org which maps product root-origins, calculates carbon footprints, and opens supply chains. He is now a postdoc at the MIT Media Lab where he is scaling up Sourcemap, deploying with multiple industry and civic partners, and getting ever more supply chains mapped! Leo also instigated one of the coolest and most relevant classes at MIT, FutureCraft, on sustainable product design...
"...which applies emerging digital tools and processes to product design toward new objects that are socially and environmentally sustainable. [Included are the] principal themes of public, local and personal design, resources, assignments and student work. Novel ethnographic methods are discussed with relevance to informing the design of physical products. We aim to create a dialogue around these themes for the product design and HCI communities"
09 February 2011
Great to have MIT alumnus academic and entrepreneur Nathan Eagle join me on MaximizingProgress.tv tonight! Most recently, Nathan has founded txtEagle, a mobiles-enabled emerging market research and brand engagement firm. A pioneer of using mobile phones as socioscopes, Nathan's Reality Mining research initiative kicked off a blossoming movement to measure and mine human social and organizational behavior in real-world settings and led to his current efforts to engineer social systems. He writes...
"Ultimately, our research agenda is to determine how we can use these insights to actively improve the lives of the billions of people who generate this data and the societies in which they live."What I would call this "systems sociology" movement is tremendously exciting and important, and arguably one of the most transformative technologies of our time.
26 January 2011
Excellent to interview MIT alumnus entrepreneur Shahid Azim on MaximizingProgress.tv tonight. After starting and selling a offshore services business in Pakistan, Shahid came to the MIT Sloan Fellows program for an entrepreneurial sabbatical and connected with his latest venture! Together with MIT engineering professor Douglas Hart and other colleagues, Shahid co-founded Lantos Technologies to work on 3D imaging of the human ear canal to develop better-fitting hearing aids and related devices. Hart is perhaps best known for co-founding Brontes, the digital dental imaging company sold for a pile of coin to 3M. Now Lantos seeks to repeat this success in the arena of the aural. With MIT Deshpande Center support of $50K for primary research back in 2009, plus some market validation via the MIT i-Teams class, they proved enough to catalyze starting the company. Most recently they closed $1.6 million in Series A financing from Catalyst Health Ventures together with Excel Venture Management and Mass Medical Angels. I'm personally convinced they're on a pathway towards enabling radical transformation of the human-computer experience by enhancing our audio and acoustic environment. Sounds great!
P.S. As a blast from the past, check out this CNN story on Shahid's prior venture outshoring to Pakistan...
P.S. As a blast from the past, check out this CNN story on Shahid's prior venture outshoring to Pakistan...
19 January 2011
Wonderful to have our past MIT Development Ventures student and HBS alumnus DJ DiDonna join me on MaximizingProgress.tv tonight! DJ's now running African operations for a Harvard Kennedy School spinoff company, EFL or Entrepreneurial Finance Lab. EFL's purpose is to identify high-potential entrepreneurs in developing countries and, in particular, people worthy of risky loans and equity investments. In other words, they are a kind of credit-risk analytic service in countries where there aren't yet credit ratings and other forms of independent assessment. Born out of academic research in the Center for International Development at the Entrepreneurial Finance Lab Research Initiative, the EFL addresses the crucial "Missing Middle" of small & medium-size enterprises (SME) firms in developing countries...
"...time and time again, access to finance is held up as the major problem. Firms in this segment consistently rate access to finance as the top barrier to growth."EFL and their lead African client, the South African financial services giant, Standard Bank, seek to address this starting in the Kenyan and East African markets. Very exciting initiative indeed!
22 December 2010
Great to have MIT alumnus entrepreneur Eric Spitz join me on MaximizingProgress.tv tonight! We talked about his first MIT spinoff company, Trakus, which does sport informatics, his second business UFood, and his most recent time as CFO and key exec at the Narragansett Beer company revitalizing a vintage brand! Founded in 1890, this brew had a 2/3 market share in New England by the mid-1950s. Part of an ill-fated roll-up in the acquisition-heady 1960s, it was a dormant brand by the time Eric's partner bought the asset. Since then it's been reborn and is expanding rapidly throughout Rhode Island, Boston-metro, and urban New England. Part of the secret sauce is building personal relationships and promoting the brew through new media channels in ways the big boys can't or won't. See here Eric explain more in an interview with no no less than Fox TV...
15 December 2010
Awesome to have MIT alumnus entrepreneur Tim Rowe join me on MaximizingProgress.tv tonight! Proud father of three, co-founder & CEO of the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC), partner with New Atlantic Ventures (NAV), incubator of the Venture Café, and co-founder & President of the Kendall Square Association (KSA), Tim is a key venture leader and orchestrator of entrepreneurial serendipity. We've known each other since his time as an MBA student at MIT Sloan where he created the first school website. Since then he's gone on to found the 320 company-strong innovation epicenter that is CIC and extend his interests into building up ever larger communities of venture action.
01 December 2010
Delightful to have MIT alumna and X-Prize Lab executive director Erika Wagner join me on MaximizingProgress.tv! Like so many of us, Erika's childhood dream was to be an astronaut -- only she never grew out of it! This appears to be generational too, since 2.5 year old daughter Sally delights in playing the "Blast Off" game with mom and dad Wagner;-) After undergrad studies in biomedical engineering at Vanderbilt, Erika came for grad studies in the Man-Vehicle Lab at MIT working with Larry Young, Dava Newman and other key aero/astro faculty. While running the Mars Gravity Biosatellite project, she connected with amazing MIT alumnus astropreneur Peter Diamandis and they launched the MIT X-Prize Lab to have leading thinkers work together with MIT students to explore areas ripe for breakthroughs catalyzed by strategic prize-based philanthropy. Very cool stuff! I've participated in several of their classes, including my favorite on Ocean X-Prizes! FYI, here's an overview summary of the X-Prize approach -- Making the Impossible Possible...
24 November 2010
Fantastic to have Azamat Abdymomunov join me on MP.tv tonight! Hailing from Kazakhstan, a huge transcontinental CIS (ex-Soviet Union) Central Asian country, Azamat represents a resurgent and ever more vital Eurasian innovation ethos. Currently a graduate student in MIT's Systems Design & Management (SDM) program, Azamat is interested in both holistic systems thinking and engineering as well as emergent technology-business themes. Plus, he's co-founder with Rafael Maranon of the MIT Social Media Club, an organization dedicated to exploring and understanding social media, studying its development and dynamics, and shaping the future of social networks!
17 November 2010
Delightful to have MIT alumnae entrepreneur Julianne Zimmerman join me on MaximizingProgress.tv! Most recently a Momentous Scientist at the IgNobel's, Julianne is a reformed spaceflight payload engineer and NASA astronaut candidate who now helps entrepreneurial teams go exponential. She helps her clients distill their ideas, ambitions, and aspirations into a crisp, compelling plan which helps raise money, get customers, unite talent and rally the firm forward.
03 November 2010
Fantastic to have MIT alumnus entrepreneur and venture advisor Manas Ratha join me on MaximizingProgress.tv tonight! Today he's with Avendus Capital in Mumbai, India doing investment banking, including M&A advisory, private equity syndication and strategic work for mid- to large-size firms. But Manas and I first got to know each other through his work with MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition (back in its pre-inflation $10K and $50K day;-) and the System Dynamics kids education project with amazing MIT Professor Jay Forrester on Road Maps, creating guides for K12 folks to learning the discipline, a key STEM educational element! After graduation, Manas became a dot-communist, starting a B2B ecommerce venture at the cusp of market trauma. Later working in audio systems business transforming a business from export-oriented to local-market centric, he ultimately shifted to the current role at Avendus. We're all looking forward to what entrepreneurial adventures are next!
20 October 2010
Delightful to have visiting professor of ergometrics and design Daan van Eijk from TUDelft -- the "Dutch MIT" -- join me on MaximizingProgress.tv tonight! Daan's newly responsible for being Director of Education for their 2,100 student school of Industrial Design Engineering. So he decided to go on a study-tour of peer universities -- Stanford, CMU, Northwestern, MIT, Harvard, etc -- to compare and contrast. He connected with the incomparable Barry Kudrowitz at MIT and thence to a fantastic pool of MIT design-engineering-media faculty and students. After graduating from the groundbreaking TUDelft industrial design program during its early days, Daan co-founded an engineering design consultancy which he built and ran for 15 years. Lured to a faculty role at TUDelft some 6 years ago, he has both run compelling living lab testbeds and other research projects as well as his department overall. His latest role demands thinking holistically about the student experience in toto and about international and collaborative ties. Very interesting indeed! We also talked about how a good technology university can become top-tier, a great topic in this time of new uni development in the BRIC countries and beyond. Finally we considered the potent collaboration between Europe's top TU's -- the IDEA League -- and how they can together disrupt the global league tables and achieve top-tier effectiveness.
13 October 2010
Superb to have MIT alumna entrepreneur Ting Shih join me on MaximizingProgress.tv tonight! Ting co-founded ClickDiagnostics and now ClickMedix, the mobiles-enabled telehealth services venture, on the basis of her team project in our MIT Development Ventures class! Their mission and passion is to...
"...provide affordable and sustainable health care using mobile technologies, anywhere in the world. [This means] Community health-workers, serving as conduits to remote health services, can serve as a critical instrument of the public health infrastructure; Use of prevalent and inexpensive mobile technologies as key in empowering health-workers; Access to real-time data as key to planning and executing effective health interventions; Developing a community-level entrepreneurship based model for service delivery as a key component of sustainability."Among other recent advances, Click is partnered with the American Academy of Dermatology to provide tele-dermatology service to free clinics in the US and Canada. And here Ting is after her Gray Fellowship from MIT's Public Service Center!
06 October 2010
Excellent to have Alexey Germanovich join us on MaximizingProgress.tv tonight. Alexey runs the Public Sector Projects aspect of startup business school Skolkovo in Moscow, Russia! I've mentioned Skolkovo before -- noting both their Go Inside magazine and celebrating when CNN spotlighted their new campus and interviewed key entrepreneurship faculty member Dmitry Repin. Alexey's now in charge of finding, evaluating and carrying out projects in the public sector and corporate social responsibility arena, all to be implemented by students within the Skolkovo full-time MBA program. Before this, Alexey had been working in huge Russian steelco Severstal in various executive positions, as well as in media, automotive, and telcoms sectors. What's especially compelling about the Skolkovo initiative is that they have both big ambitions -- i.e. to be the top B-School on our planet, certainly for emerging markets -- as well as benefiting from top-level support in Russia, from industry and government alike -- e.g. see here the MBA students surrounding Russian Federation President Medvedev after he personally gave them their student ID cards...How cool is that! I don't see US President Obama doing anything remotely similar at Stanford GSB or HBS or MIT Sloan. Plus, I've had the pleasure of engaging with the first Skolkovo MBA class during the past two months here in MIT/Cambridge. This has been their US American Ventures module where they have connected with local companies plus absorbed at least some of the venture ethos of MIT. They will undoubtedly ferment their MIT venture yeast with plentiful Skolkovo startup feedstock to create an entirely new uniquely Russian brew! This is an epic and compelling education institution!
22 September 2010
Delightful to interview Cambridge City Councilor Leland Cheung on MaximizingProgress.tv tonight! I first met Leland through his involvement in MIT's Energy Club and related activities. He also stood out as perhaps the only MIT Sloan MBA student who had homebuilt his own DIY electric scooter! (That's pretty epic considering how such prowess is normally reserved for the extreme builderati, people like Charles Guan and his RazErblades!-) Also pursuing his Harvard Kennedy School degree, Leland decided to run for civic office in large part to live up to his deep personal and familial commitment to our local community and American economic vitality. Partly of Chinese ancestry, Leland took umbrage at my refering to Cambridge as the Other PRC "People's Republic" -- the point being we here can legally, morally, and fully exercise our freedoms, especially of speech! Touché. Since taking office he's been especially involved in championing our entrepreneurial legacy. Last week I had the pleasure of sitting in on a City Council Economic Development Hearing chaired by Councilor Cheung on Fostering an Environment Supportive of Entrepreneurs, Venture Capitalists, and Growth Businesses. All about celebrating our Kendall Square innovation epicenter. Word.
08 September 2010
Great to have MIT alumnus John Mills join me on MaximizingProgress.tv tonight. After undergrad studies at Cornell in more classic materials science, he came to MIT and ended up at the cutting edge of materials and biology using -- and even co-developing -- the latest tools for understanding the mechano-physical properties of red blood cells. This work has tremendous bearing on understanding the impact of Malaria in humans. This relevance to a tropical ailment was one major driver towards John's subsequent collaborations in Singapore, the equatorial city-state with strong MIT research ties. His interest in cross-disciplinary activities had at least one other compelling consequence, namely his major commitment to running informal social gatherings to connect folks. These include the WeeklyWednesdays at MIT's Muddy Charles Pub and the leaders-oriented Acoustic BBQ and most recently the FluidicMEMS gatherings. Excellent contributions, all of them!
01 September 2010
Wonderful to catch up with newly minted Doctor Jason Jay on MaximizingProgress.tv! I've known Jason since he and student colleagues started and ran a growing set of sustainability-oriented events, activities, and even seminars at the Institute, many organized towards helping MIT "Walk The Talk" and be a place like what we hope our planet might become. There's a lot of work to be done. We discussed especially his collaboration with Elsa Olivetti in launching the Generator, a bit about what's today become Sustainability@MIT, and the relatively recent greeningMIT initiative! Being visibly and practically active as a grassroots student organizer, Jason was somewhat surprised to be tapped as student rep on the Campus Energy Task Force, a position directly engaging with faculty, staff, Institutional leadership who ranged from supportive to frankly skeptical about just how much MIT should really invest in and prioritize its own campus energy improvement. We talked about how, for many faculty, the goal of MIT research should be both transformative and outward-focused on the big problems of major corporations and even countries and not to bother with something so seemingly ankle-biter as MIT's own footprint and per capita performance. But increasingly the consensus is emerging that we must practice what we preach across the board and indeed be a Living Lab showing the way forward. After finishing his PhD in leadership, organizational change, and local energy initiatives, Jason's next role is teaching the MIT Sloan School of Management Lab for Sustainable Business (S-Lab) classes, a key part of our Action Learning line-up!