On Air: September 2, 2014

Warren Berger, Author and Speaker

Warren Berger is a graduate of Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications, and the author of both A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas and Glimmer: How Design Can Transform Your Life, and Maybe Even the World, both of which drew critical praise. Berger also writes for Fast Company, Harvard Business Review, and has previously written extensively for Wired. He has appeared on NBC’s The Today Show, ABC World News, CNN, and NPR’s All Things Considered. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Colorado, and has lectured at the University of Virginia, University of Oregon, University of Texas, New York’s School of Visual Arts, and Virginia Commonwealth University. He is an expert on design thinking and innovation.

As a guest on Innovation Navigation, Berger spoke in depth about the manner and power of correctly questioning. As children, we question everything around us, but we start to question less and less as we grow older. Successful innovation necessarily involves asking not just ‘why’ but also ‘what-if’ and then finally, ‘how?’. This is not simply a matter for individual entrepreneurs, however. Berger spoke about how successful companies are and will continue to be those that cultivate an environment of questioning, in which employees feel comfortables asking management why things are as they are, but also feel comfortable doing so even when they do not have an answer to their own question. On a more personal note, he discussed how individuals ask themselves questions to help understand themselves, their motivations, and their plans for the future.

On Air: August 19, 2014

Rachel Botsman, Author “What’s Mine is Yours: The Rise of the Collaborative Consumption”, Co-Founder of the Collaborative Lab

Rachel Botsman is a global thought leader on the power of collaboration through technology to transform the way we live, work and consume. She has inspired a new economy with her influential book What’s Mine is Yours: How Collaborative Consumption Is Changing The Way We Live. TIME Magazine recently called Collaborative Consumption one of the ’10 Ideas That Will Change The World’. Rachel is the founder of Collaborative Lab, the leading source of expertise for companies and governments that want to embrace the collaborative economy to revolutionize business and society. Rachel was recently named a 2013 Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, which recognises individuals for their commitment to improving the state of the world. In 2014, she was named by Fast Company as one of the ‘Most Creative People in Business,’ Rachel has presented at high profile events including The Clinton Global Initiative, TED, HP, Google, and No.10 Downing Street and was named by Monocle as one of the top 20 speakers in the world to have at your conference. Her thought leadership and writings have appeared in Harvard Business Review, The Economist, CNN, New York Times, The Guardian, Fast Company and other publications. Rachel has a monthly future tech trends column in the Australian Financial Review and is a contributing editor to WIRED UK. Rachel was a founding partner in the Collaborative Fund, an early stage investor in disruptive ventures, and a former director at President Clinton’s Foundation. She received her BFA (Honors) from the University of Oxford, and undertook her postgraduate studies at Harvard University. Her work has taken her to every continent, except Antarctica.

On Tuesday, Rachel Botsman discussed Collaborative Economy with Rahul Kapoor. Botsman explained that the Collaborative Economy identifies unused life assets and puts them into marketplaces for collaborative or shared use for greater efficiency or shared access. According to Botsman, this idea has been around for 40 years, and has been evolving over time.

On Air: August 19, 2014

Simon Bransfield-Garth, CEO of Azuri Technology: Solar

Simon has 25 years global experience building rapid growth, technology-based businesses including 7 years at Symbian, the phone OS maker, where he was a member of the Leadership Team and VP Global Marketing. He was founder of Myriad Solutions Ltd was formerly an Industrial Fellow at the London based Royal Society. He holds a BA and Ph.D in Engineering from Cambridge University in the UK and was named a Global Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum in 2013.

On Tuesday’s show, Simon Bransfield-Garth discussed Azuri Technology. Azuri is pioneering bringing solar power to rural areas. 20% of the worlds population still do not have access to main electricity. Azuri finds ways to bring power to these people. Since mobile technology is universal, they combine this technology with solar energy, to reach these off-the grid populations. They avoid the upfront costs associated with solar, by having users pay as they use it, they way they pay for mobile.

On Air: August 19, 2014

Dr. Matthew Silver, Founder and CEO of Cambrian Innovation

Dr. Silver is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Cambrian Innovation Inc., a water and bio-energy technology provider headquartered in Boston, MA. Founded at MIT in 2006, Cambrian Innovation develops advanced environmental solutions for corporate, government, and agricultural clients. Cambrian has been supported by NASA, EPA, DOD, NSF, and USDA, won the Clean Tech Open in 2009, and was selected as a top 50 global emerging water company by the Artemis Project in 2012. Matt has published over 15 academic publications and in 2011 testified before the United States Senate on the government’s role in early stage innovation. Prior to founding Cambrian Innovation, he co-founded Intelligent Action Inc., an MIT spin-out using patented algorithms developed during his masters work. Matt worked previously in the aerospace sector with primary focus on technology strategy and systems architecture. He was a Research Scientist at the MIT Space Systems Lab and System Engineer at the Canadian Space Agency, during which he participated in two field expeditions to the High Canadian Arctic to operate and test exploration systems in extreme environments. He was a finalist candidate for the NASA Astronaut Corp (final 48 out of 6,300+ applicants). Matt received a Doctorate in Engineering Systems and two Master’s degrees in Astronautical Engineering and Technology and Policy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has a Bachelors Degree, cum laude and with honors, from Williams College. Matt was previously a national ski patroller and also enjoys surfing, snowboarding, sailing, golf, and guitar.

On Innovation Navigation, Dr. Silver discussed revolutionising water treatment in the US. Cambrian Innovation offers the world’s first bio-electrically enhanced waste-water system. They primarily work in food and beverage , primarily doing biotech to eliminate the organics in waste-water, reducing water risk while also cutting operating costs.

On Air: August 19, 2014

Michelle Kreger, Executive Director of Potential Energy

Michelle comes to Potential Energy after 7 years at Kiva, a nonprofit organization connecting people through lending to alleviate poverty. At Kiva, Michelle spent 5 years building their network of microfinance partners across Latin America, Africa and the Middle East, and 2 years as Senior Director of Kiva’s Strategic Initiatives group, where she was responsible for overseeing their expansion into new impact areas including clean energy, water and sanitation, innovative agriculture and higher education. In 2012, Michelle served as a Rainer Arnhold Fellow, a prestigious program for social entrepreneurs with particularly promising solutions to the big problems in health, poverty, and conservation in developing countries. Prior to joining Kiva, Michelle founded a nonprofit organization in Costa Rica, NatureKids, which focuses on English literacy and environmental sustainability in burgeoning tourist hubs. She also worked at various organizations dedicated to financial inclusion, including ACCION International. Michelle graduated magna cum laude from Boston University with a degree in International Relations and a minor in Economics.

On the show, Michelle Kreger talked about Potential Engergy and its innovation practices. 3 billion people across the world prepare their meals over an open cooking fire. This smoke is one of the leading causes of death in the devloping world. Working with improved cooking stoves can drastically improve the amount of smoke in the home and can have an effect on not only the health of the women preparing the food, but also the children in the home. Potential Energy produces low-tech stoves, made of steel that have internal combustion chambers that burn wood. The structure drastically improves the efficiency of the burn, reducing the amount of smoke and wood needed by half. They have been able to produce these stoves under 20$ to get it in the hands of the user.

On Air: August 12, 2014

Mark Bonchek, Founder and Chief Catalyst of thinkORBIT

Mark Bonchek is the founder and Chief Catalyst of thinkORBIT, a designer of digital business strategies that pull employees, customers and partners into orbit around a brand. Mark has been a pioneer and guide to the digital revolution since receiving Harvard University’s first doctorate on digital media and social networks in 1997. Mark has launched new businesses and advised global leaders for such organizations as McKinsey & Company, The Economist, IBM, and the American Heart Association. He is a regular columnist for Harvard Business Review and was recently named to the Agenda Digital 50. Mark is also the founder of the ORBIT Club for 21st Century Explorers and the SHIFT Academy, updating mental models for a digital age.

On the show, Mark Bonchek discussed the importance of principles in innovation, instead of processes. In order to innovate, a company needs to develop a shared purpose and platform, a narrative or story for who you are and what your future is,and data collection and leverage. These are sources of attraction to generate pull. According to Bonchek, “innovation managers can learn from flocks of birds.” Some flocks have no leaders, yet are incredibly coordinated. They follow these rules: move to the center, follow your neighbor, and dont bump into your neighbor or a threat.

On Air: August 12, 2014

Steve Blank, Author of The Startup Owner's Manual

A retired eight-time serial entrepreneur-turned-educator and author, Steve Blank has changed how startups are built and how entrepreneurship is taught around the globe. He is author of the bestselling The Startup Owner’s Manual, and his earlier seminal work, The Four Steps to the Epiphany, credited with launching the Lean Startup movement. His May 2013 Harvard BusinessReview article on the Lean Startup defined the movement. Steve is widely recognized as a thought leader on startups and innovation. His books and blog have redefined how to build successful startups; his Lean LaunchPad class at Stanford, Berkeley and Columbia has redefined how entrepreneurship is taught; and his Innovation Corps class for the National Science Foundation forever changed how the U.S. commercializes science. His articles regularly appear in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes,Fortune, The Atlantic and Huffington Post. Blank’s first book, The Four Steps to the Epiphany (2003), offered the insight that startups are not small versions of large companies – large companies execute business models, but startups search for them – and led him to realize that startups need their own tools, different from those used to manage existing companies. In 2011, Blank developed the Lean LaunchPad, a hands—on class that integrates Business Model design and Customer Development into practice through rapid, real—world customer interaction and business model iteration. In 2011, the National Science Foundation adopted Blank’s class for its Innovation Corps (I—Corps), training teams of the nation’s top scientists and engineers to take their ideas out of the university lab and into the commercial marketplace. In 2009, he earned the Stanford University Undergraduate Teaching Award in Management Science and Engineering. In 2010, he earned the Earl F. Cheit Outstanding Teaching Award at U.C. Berkeley Haas School of Business. The San Jose Mercury News listed him as one of the 10 Influencers in Silicon Valley. Harvard Business Review named him one of 12 Masters of Innovation.

On Innovation Navigation, Blank discussed the Lean Startup Movement. He talked about his personal experiences that led to defining the Lean Startup Approach. He explained that startups are looking for business models that are repeatable and scalable, and in order to find these, they must treat their assumptions about the business plan as hypotheses and follow the “4 steps to the discovery:” Customer discovery, customer validation, customer creation, and finally, comany building.

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On Air: August 12, 2014

Michael Gelb, Author and Creativity and Innovation Expert

Michael J. Gelb is the world’s leading authority on the application of genius thinking to personal and organizational development. He is a pioneer in the fields of creative thinking, accelerated learning, and innovative leadership. Gelb leads seminars for organizations such as DuPont, Merck, Microsoft, Nike, Raytheon and YPO.He brings more than 30 years of experience as a professional speaker, seminar leader and organizational consultant to his diverse, international clientele. Michael Gelb is the author of 14 books on creativity and innovation including the international best seller How to Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day. (1998)How to Think Like Leonardo has been translated into 25 languages and has appeared on the Washington Post,, and the New York Times best seller lists. In 2007 Gelb released Innovate Like Edison: The Five Step System for Breakthrough Business Success, co-authored with Sarah Miller Caldicott, the great grand niece of Thomas Edison. As Professor Vijay Govindarajan, author of Ten Rules for Strategic Innovators noted, “This book is a must have for anyone who wants to turn creative ideas into profitable reality.” In 1999, Michael Gelb won the Brain Trust Charity’s “Brain of the Year” award; other honorees include Prof. Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates, Garry Kasparov and Gene Rodenberry. In 2003, Michael was awarded a Batten Fellowship by the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business. Michael co-directs the acclaimed Leading Innovation Seminar at Darden with Professor James Clawson. From 2008 to 2012, Michael Gelb also served as the Director of Creativity and Innovation Leadership for the Conscious Capitalism Institute. A former professional juggler who once performed with the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan, Gelb introduced the idea of teaching juggling as a means to promote accelerated learning and team-building. He is the author of The 5 Keys to High Performance: Juggling Your Way to Success. A fourth degree black belt in the Japanese martial art of Aikido, Gelb is co-author with International Grandmaster Raymond Keene, of Samurai Chess: Mastering Strategic Thinking Through the Martial Art of the Mind. Michael Gelb is also a certified teacher of the Alexander Technique, (the method taught at The Julliard School for cultivating commanding stage presence), and the author of the classic work:Body Learning: An Introduction to the Alexander Technique. Michael’s 1988 release Present Yourself! Captivate Your Audience with Great Presentation Skills guides readers to develop the communication strategies they need to generate support for their innovative ideas. Michael has also created many best selling audio programs, include: Mind Mapping: How to Liberate Your Natural Genius,Work Like Da Vinci: Gaining the Creative Advantage in Your Business and Career and The Spirit of Leonardo. Michael Gelb’s passion for applying genius thinking to personal and organizational development is also expressed in his Harper Collins release (2002) Discover Your Genius: How To Think Like History’s Ten Most Revolutionary Minds. Published in 2010, Wine Drinking For Inspired Thinking: Uncork Your Creative Juices, offers a unique, original and very enjoyable approach to team building. In January 2012 Michael released Brain Power: Improve Your Mind As You Age, (New World Library). His new book Creativity On Demand: Ignite and Sustain the Fire of Genius is published by Sounds True.

On Tuesday, Michael Gelb discussed the importance of your body and energy in relation to relaxation, balance, and creativity. According to Gelb, “Managing energy,not time, is the key to enduring high performance, health, happiness and life balance. Gelb used Cloud Hands as an example. It is a specific set of movements to help get creative energy flowing within the body. The body is where we live every day, so when you move your body in a rhythmic balanced harmonious way, you are evoking balanced qualities. Cloud hands is an ancient practice, an efficient way to feel more relaxed, centered and balanced,but also can be used in martial arts to block a punch.

On Air: August 12, 2014

Jeff DeGraff, Professor of Management and Organizations at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan

Jeff DeGraff is Professor of Management and Organizations at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. His research and writing focuses on leading innovation. He is co-author of several books including Creativity at Work, Leading Innovation and Competing Values Leadership. His PBS programInnovation You introduces his ideas about innovation to viewers across America. Jeff’s opinions on contemporary business matters are covered byNPR, CNN and Forbes just to name a few. He writes a syndicated blog forPsychology Today, the Huffington Post and Big Think. He has consulted with hundreds of the world’s most prominent firms and has developed a broad array of widely used creativity and innovation methodologies and tools. Professor DeGraff founded a leading innovation institute, Innovatrium, with labs in Ann Arbor and Atlanta. Jeff got his nickname, the Dean of Innovation, while he was a member of the executive team at Domino’s Pizza when it was one of the fastest growing businesses in the world in the 1980’s. To learn more about Jeff and his work on innovation please visit You can follow Jeff on Twitter @JeffDeGraff and Facebook.

On Innovation Navigation, Jeff DeGraff discussed his book, Making Stone Soup: How to Jump-start Innovation Teams. The book is based on the stone soup parable, how innovation works when people contribute very small but very different things. According to DeGraff, there are 4 different ingredients to innovation: a Create Type, Control Type, Compete Position, and Collaborate position.

On Air: August 9, 2014

Charles Leadbeater, Author and Management Strategist

Charles Leadbeater is a leading authority on innovation and creativity. He has advised companies, cities and governments around the world on innovation strategy and drew on that experience in writing his latest book We-think: the power of mass creativity, which charts the rise of mass, participative approaches to innovation from science and open source software, to computer games and political campaigning. We-think was the latest in a string of acclaimed books: Living on Thin Air, a guide to living and working in the new economy; Up the Down Escalator, an attack on the culture of public pessimism accompanying globalization and In Search of Work, published in the 1980’s, which was one of the first books to predict the rise of more flexible and networked forms of employment.

In 2005 Charles was ranked by Accenture, the management consultancy, as one of the top management thinkers in the world. A past winner of the prestigious David Watt prize for journalism, Charles was profiled by the New York Times in 2004 for generating one of the best ideas of the year, the rise of the activist amateur, outlined in his report The Pro-Am Revolution.

As well as advising a wide range of organizations on innovation including the BBC, Vodafone, Microsoft, Ericsson, Channel Four Television and the Royal Shakespeare Company, Charles has been an ideas generator in his own right. As an associate editor of the Independent he helped Helen Fielding devise Bridget Jones’s diary. He wrote the first British report on the rise of social entrepreneurship, which has since become a global movement. His report on the potential for the web to generate social change led to the creation of the Social Innovation Camp movement. Charles has worked extensively as a senior adviser to the governments, advising the 10 Downing St policy unit, the Department for Trade and Industry and the European Commission on the rise of the knowledge driven economy and the Internet, as well as the government of Shanghai. He is an advisor to the Department for Education’s Innovation Unit on future strategies for more networked and personalized approaches to learning and education. He is a co-founder of the public service design agency Participle.

A visiting senior fellow at the British National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts, he is also a longstanding senior research associate with the influential London think-tank Demos and a visiting fellow at Oxford University’s Said Business School and the Young Foundation. He is co-founder of Participle, the public service innovation agency, which is working with central and local government to devise new approaches to intractable social challenges.

Charles spent ten years working for the Financial Times where he was Labour Editor, Industrial Editor and Tokyo Bureau Chief before becoming the paper’s Features Editor. In 1994 he moved to the Independent as assistant editor in charge of features and became an independent author and advisor in 1996.

On the show, Leadbeater discussed his theory of lean innovation and how it not only applies to small, cash-strapped enterprises (though it certainly does), but also to the very biggest corporations. For example, General Electric practiced lean innovation when it sought to provide a low-cost heart monitor for use in India. Lean innovation isn’t simply about removing features from products so that lower-cost versions of them may be released, it is a fundamental rethinking of the product in order to conceive of a design that is lower cost by its very nature. One thought experiment Leadbeater spoke about was the consideration of building Chinese restaurants versus building McDonald’s restaurants. A McDonald’s is essentially a kit sold to a franchise owner, such that it is very much the same everywhere, but requires a lot of capital for a franchise owner to open. In contrast, a lean innovator pursues a Chinese restaurant approach – Chinese restaurants look more or less the same everywhere, and offer similar products, but they aren’t sold as kits, don’t require as much capital to open as a result, and are tailored to their specific environments in such a way as to appeal more strongly to locals.