Last Friday I joined hundreds of others at the Borough of Manhattan Community College on Chambers Street for the Disruptor Foundation’s 6th Annual Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards (TDIA).
Co-founded in 2009 by distinguished Harvard Professor Clayton M. Christensen, co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival Craig Hatkoff, and Rabbi Irwin Kula, the Disruptor Foundation works to raise awareness of and encourage the advancement of disruptive innovation and its application in society. Christensen’s original Disruptive Innovation Theory explained how simpler, cheaper technologies, products, and services can dethrone entrenched market leaders.
The TDIA celebrate individuals and ideas that have broken through and had an impact. It showcases disruptive innovation in business and beyond, across healthcare, education, development, advocacy, media, the arts and entertainment. Or as Craig so aptly put it in his opening remarks, the Awards explore and honor “the irrepressible power of the human spirit”. Amen. So these are awards with a difference; created by and for people who are making a difference; creative thinkers who are, in fact, also doers. Those in pursuit of what some now call big wisdom; the innate capacity in all of us to be the best version of ourselves – and do more good.
As in every preceding year, the scope and scale of this year’s honorees’ ambitions and achievements are breathtaking. And if that sounds over the top, or you’re running short of time, or you’re having a bad day/week/month, just watch this brief video It’s about Aaron “Wheelz” Fotheringham, a twenty-two year old athlete, born with spina bifida, who’s invented a whole new sport, WCMX. It just might re-orient you and your week/month/year. (When Craig asked Aaron in presenting him his Award: “What were you thinking?!” “Wheelz” replied:” Well, you know, maybe it was a lack of thinking…”
Here’s a sampling of additional Award winners and their stories. Trust me and prepare to be amazed:
Reshma Saujani – Founder & CEO, Girls Who Code
Brian Chesky – Co-Founder & CEO, Airbnb
Dr. Bill Magee – Co-Founder, Operation Smile
Jennifer Hyman – Co-Founder & CEO, Rent the Runway
Alec Momont – Ambulance Drone Inventor & Founder, Drones for Good
Ayah Bdeir – Founder & CEO, Littlebits
Jason Silva – Futurist, Filmmaker & Host of National Geographic’s “Brain Games”
No telling what these people may inspire in your own life and work. You’ll find all of them here.
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Lou Killeffer is Editor at Large for Innovation Excellence, and Principal with Five Mile River Marketing. A versatile marketing strategist, Lou’s passion for communications and innovation has made him a trusted advisor to some of the world’s most enduring businesses and brands, from AT&T to UPS, where he helps enterprises embrace change, look ahead, and focus on sustaining success.