One of the most important (and beloved) events that takes place during the Festival is the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards, held in collaboration with renowned Harvard Business School Professor Clay Christensen and the Disruptor Foundation. Co-sponsored by Accenture and AT&T, the 6th annual awards ceremony will be moderated by Perri Peltz at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center BMCC, on Friday April 24 at 11:00 a.m
Inspired by Christensen’s ground-breaking theory of disruptive innovation, the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards recognize creative visionaries who are shaking up their various industries through both traditional and non-traditional means. Over the past six years, the awards have recognized notable innovators early in their careers including Jack Dorsey for Square (2010), Garrett Camp for Uber (2013), DARPA’s drone Hummingbird (2012), Psy’s YouTube record-breaker “Gangnam Style” (2013), and Scooter Braun’s SB Management for cultivating artists including Justin Bieber (2012).
With honorees from such wide-ranging fields as technology, biomed, philanthropy, healthcare, sports, fashion, and spirituality, this year’s diverse class of groundbreakers, inventors and activists truly deserve acknowledgment. From Airbnb changing the way we travel to Jake Burton of Burton Snowboards revolutionizing the sport to Operation Smile’s Dr. Bill Magee to filmmaker David Lynch for his advocacy of Transcendental Meditation through the David Lynch Foundation, the TDIAs celebrate innovators who have broken the mold to impact industries and business models in both traditional and non-traditional domains.
In addition to the kudos afforded this year’s fantastic group of recipients, New York Times bestselling author Walter Isaacson’s “The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution” (Simon & Schuster, 2014) will be recognized as the 2015 Book of the Year. The 2015 App of the Year is Headspace, which is a subscription-based app that delivers 10-minute meditation sessions and provides activity tracking, reminders, tips and animations illustrating how the mind works. All TDIA honorees will receive the iconic red hammer, inspired by psychologist Abe Maslow, that embodies the spirit of the awards.
The 2015 Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Award honorees are as follows:
- Advance Care Planning at Gundersen Health Systems: Respecting Choices® is a comprehensive, community-wide program, created and led by healthcare organizations and state and local medical societies. Owned and operated by Gundersen Health System, based in La Crosse, Wis., its mission is to engage patients and their families in informed conversations about advance care planning and to improve the systems and processes used to collect and store advance care planning decisions in patients' medical records. The program provides standardized, locally developed patient education materials to patients across all healthcare settings in the community; trains non-physician facilitators to guide patients and their families in advance care planning; and implements common policies and practices for collecting, maintaining, retrieving and using advance care planning documents across settings. The program increased completion of documentation of advance care plans, achieved a high degree of consistency between patients' desires and actual care decisions made at the end of life, and is associated with low care costs during the last two years of life.
- Airbnb: Founded in August of 2008 by Nathan Blecharczyk, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, and based in San Francisco, California, Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world – online or from a mobile phone. Whether an apartment for a night, a castle for a week, or a villa for a month, Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences at any price point, in more than 34,000 cities and 190 countries. And with world-class customer service and a growing community of users, Airbnb is the easiest way for people to monetize their extra space and showcase it to an audience of millions.
- Ruzwana Bashir: Ruzwana Bashir is Founder and CEO of Peek, which is disrupting the $100bn activities industry. Peek.com is a marketplace to book the best activities, and the company has developed backend SaaS tools to provide activity operators with real-time booking and inventory management capabilities. CNBC labeled Peek as the “OpenTable for activities” and the New York Times Peek.com “a site you want to visit again and again.” Peek is backed by tech heavyweights including Google’s Eric Schmidt, Square’s Jack Dorsey and TPG’s David Bonderman. Ruzwana has been selected for Vanity Fair’s Next Establishment, Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Technology and Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People. Ruzwana started her career in investment banking at Goldman Sachs and in private equity at the Blackstone Group. Before starting Peek she worked at Gilt Groupe and was part of the founding team at Artsy. Ruzwana has an MBA from Harvard Business School, where she was a Fulbright Scholar, and a BA from Oxford University where she was President of the Oxford Union.
- Jake Burton: Snowboarding has changed a lot in the past 38 years since Jake founded Burton Snowboards. One thing has stayed constant during all that time: Jake still leads the world’s most successful snowboard company, testing nearly every product Burton makes. He still takes feedback to heart - whether it’s from a pro rider, a customer email or a kid who happens to sit with him in the gondola. He still walks Burton’s halls almost every day, saying hi to the dogs around the office and seeing what’s up with his co-workers. He still has team riders over to his house for a four-day roundtable to give the final word on the entire product line. He still weighs in on marketing campaigns and leaves product managers notecards with feedback on luggage design, apparel fits, outerwear fabrication, board flexes and graphics. He still can be found at Stowe almost every day it’s open (and plenty of days it’s not) hiking for early and late season turns. He is still inspired by the communal spirit of snowboarding. And he still makes many of the company's biggest decisions from a chairlift, not a desk.
- Mary Childs: Mary Childs joined Bloomberg News in 2009 and reports on the world's biggest asset managers, in print, on television, and on radio. She previously covered corporate bonds and derivatives, and in April 2012, she and a team were the first to break the story of the JPMorgan London Whale, a trader who lost the bank more than $6 billion on bad derivative positions. For that work, she and her team were finalists for a Gerald Loeb Award in 2013. Before joining Bloomberg, Childs spent a year traveling the world painting portraits on a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, a grant for independent study outside the U.S. She graduated from Washington & Lee University with a degree in business journalism, and after studying at St. Stephen's College in Delhi, wrote an honors thesis on the use and significance of sting operations in media in India and the U.S. Childs, a native of Richmond, Virginia, volunteers for the News Literacy Project, and continues to paint and draw.
- Formula E: Formula E is a new FIA single-seater championship and the world's first fully-electric racing series. Beginning in September 2014 through to June 2015, the championship will compete in some of the world's leading cities - including London, Beijing and Miami. For the inaugural season, 10 teams, each with two drivers, will go head-to-head creating a unique and exciting racing series designed to appeal to a new generation of motorsport fans. It represents a vision for the future of the motor industry over the coming decades, serving as a framework for R&D around the electric vehicle, accelerating general interest in these cars and promoting sustainability. From season two, Formula E will operate as an “open championship,” allowing teams and manufacturers the opportunity to showcase their own electrical energy innovations. Working to the technical specifications set out by the FIA, teams will focus their efforts on improving and developing battery technology in the hope this will filter into the everyday electric vehicle market. The championship centres around three core values of Energy, Environment and Entertainment and is a fusion of engineering, technology, sport, science, design, music and entertainment - all combining to drive the change towards an electric future.
- Aaron “Wheelz” Fotheringham: Aaron “Wheelz” Fotheringham is a 23 year-old wheelchair moto-cross athlete from Las Vegas, Nevada. Aaron was born with Spina Bifida, which resulted in him having no usage of his legs. Aaron never let anything stop him. Even as a baby and small child, he did anything anyone else his age could do; he just had to figure out how to make it work for him. Aaron started riding at skate parks at the age of 8. Over the last eight years Aaron has challenged himself to try progressively more difficult tricks; carving, grinding, power-sliding, hand planting, and spinning are just a few of his accomplishments. In 2005, he perfected a midair 180-degree turn. Then on July 13th, 2006, he landed the first wheelchair back flip. Four years later, at a camp in Woodward, he landed the first ever double back flip (August 26, 2010). Since then, he has gone on to perform it live while touring with the Nitro Circus. As if this is not enough, on February 9th, 2011, he landed his very first front flip in New Zealand, and on August 25, 2012, he shocked Brazilians by jumping and successfully landing a 50-ft gap off of the Mega Ramp in his chair. Aaron has a passion for what he does, and he wants to change the world’s perception of people in wheelchairs, as well as help everyone see his/her own challenges in a new way. You certainly do not have to be disabled to be inspired by what he is able to do.
- Peter Greste: Peter Greste is one of Australia’s most acclaimed journalists and a correspondent for Al Jazeera English in Africa. From 1991 to 1995 he was based in Afghanistan, London, Bosnia and South Africa, where he worked for Reuters, CNN, WTN and the BBC. He returned to Afghanistan in 2001 to cover the start of the war. After Afghanistan, Peter worked across the Middle East and Latin America, and was based in Mombasa, Kenya, then Johannesburg, followed by Nairobi where he has lived since 2009. In 2011, Peter won a Peabody Award for the documentary Somalia: Land of Anarchy. In December 2013, he and two other Al Jazeera English journalists (Mohamed Fadel Fahmy and Baher Mohammad) were arrested by Egyptian authorities and accused of news reporting which was deemed damaging to national security. In June 2014, Peter was found guilty by the court and sentenced to seven years of incarceration in Egypt along with his colleagues. They were perceived internationally as political prisoners due to the nature of the trial and lack of evidences presented. In February 2015, after more than 13 months in prison and an announcement of retrial, Peter was deported to his home country (and thus released) based on a newly passed Australian decree. Peter accepted a Royal Television Society award on behalf of himself and his two colleagues, for their sacrifices to journalism.
- Jennifer Hyman: Jennifer Hyman is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Rent the Runway, a fashion company with a technology soul that is disrupting the way women get dressed. In her role, she oversees strategic initiatives and leads the company in growing all areas of the business, including marketing, technology, product, and analytics. She co-founded the company in 2009 with Jennifer Fleiss, and has since raised $116 million in venture capital. With over 5 million members, 300 employees and 270 designer brands, Rent the Runway is the largest rental platform in the world, democratizing luxury for women everywhere in the sharing economy. Jennifer has been honored with numerous recognitions including: Fortune Magazine’s “Trailblazers, 11 People Changing Business in 2013”, “Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs”, and “40 Under 40”; Inc. Magazine’s “30 Under 30”; and Fast Company’s “Most Influential Women in Technology.” She received her BA from Harvard University and MBA from Harvard Business School. Jennifer is a Bloomberg Fellow, a TechStars mentor, and a member of both the Entrepreneurship Board at the Fashion Institute of Technology and the Women in Business Board at Harvard University.
- Brad Katsuyama: Brad is the CEO, President, and co-founder of IEX – an equity trading marketplace that is owned and designed for traditional investors – mutual funds, hedge funds, and individuals. Brad is most widely known for his central role in Michael Lewis’ best-selling book, "Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt." Prior to co-founding IEX, Brad was a 12-year employee of the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), serving most recently as Global Head of Electronic Sales and Trading, where he spearheaded the development of THOR, an award winning product that helped clients combat predatory high-frequency trading. Brad also held management positions such as: Head of US Trading, Head of US Hedge Fund Trading, and Head of US Technology Trading. Bradley received the Alumni Gold Medal as the top student in the School of Business and Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, where he graduated with a Finance degree and was a two-time academic All-Canadian in Football.
- littleBits: Ayah Bdeir is the founder and CEO of littleBits, an award-winning library of electronic modules that snap together with magnets to allow anyone to learn, build, and invent with electronics. Bdeir is an engineer, interactive artist and one of the leaders of the open source hardware movement. Bdeir’s career and education have centered on advancing open source hardware to make education and innovation more accessible to people around the world. She is a co-founder of the Open Hardware Summit, a TED Senior Fellow and an alumna of the MIT Media Lab. Bdeir was named one of Inc. Magazine’s 35 Under 35, one of NY Business Journal’s Women of Influence, one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business, one of Popular Mechanics’ 25 Makers Who Are Reinventing the American Dream, one of Entrepreneur’s 10 Leaders to Watch, one of the CNBC Next List, and one of MIT Technology Review’s 35 Innovators Under 35. Originally from Lebanon and Canada, Ayah now lives in New York City.
- David Lynch: The David Lynch Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, was established in 2005 to fund the implementation of scientifically proven stress-reducing modalities, including the Transcendental Meditation program, for at-risk populations such as underserved inner-city students; veterans with PTSD and their families; women and children who are survivors of violence and abuse; American Indians suffering from diabetes, cardiovascular disease and high suicide rates; homeless men participating in reentry programs who are striving to overcome additions; and incarcerated juveniles and adults. The Foundation also funds university and medical school research to assess the effects of the program on academic performance, ADHD and other learning disorders, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, cardiovascular disease, post-traumatic stress disorder and diabetes. The effects of the Foundation’s programs have been researched at leading medical schools, including Harvard Medical School, Stanford Medical School and Yale Medical School, and have received the endorsement and support from private foundations and government agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, General Motors Foundation, the Chrysler Foundation, the Kellogg Foundation, the American Indian Education Association, Indian Health Services, many school districts and state departments of corrections.
- Dr. Bill Magee: Dr. William Magee, Jr., CEO and Co-Founder of Operation Smile, has dedicated the past 32 years to helping improve the health and lives of children and young adults around the world. As a leading plastic and craniofacial surgeon, Dr. Magee has trained thousands of physicians worldwide, delivered hundreds of keynote speeches for corporate and national meetings, holds honorary doctorates from many prominent universities, and has appeared in numerous national publications, documentaries and news shows. Under Dr. Magee’s leadership, Operation Smile has grown to be the largest volunteer-based organization providing free cleft surgeries in the world with over 5,400 volunteers. Operation Smile has provided over 220,000 free surgeries for children and young adults born with cleft lips, cleft palates, and other facial deformities in over 60 countries since 1982. In his home state of Norfolk, VA, Dr. Magee maintains a private practice and is Co-Director of The Institute for Craniofacial and Plastic Surgery in the Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters.
- Alec Momont: Alec Momont recently founded Drones For Good, an open platform that is changing the public perception of drones. It is redefining what the technology can do for people and leverage its strengths for the greater good. One of its recent innovations is the Ambulance Drone, a high speed (over 100km/h) UAV that carries critical supplies to any emergency situation. Within minutes after an accident can provide the right care to prevent further escalation and save lives. In case of, for example, cardiac arrest brain death and permanent death start to occur in just 4 to 6 minutes. With the Automated Defibrillator on board the patient can be shocked to reestablish regular heart rhythm. Other uses include people that are drowning, stroke, diabetes etc. The technology is currently being field tested in Belgium to improve speed and user-machine interaction.
- Georgette Mulheir: For more than two decades, Georgette has worked in 23 countries around the world, leading large-scale programs to transform (and at times save) the lives of thousands of disadvantaged children. She pioneered a model of ‘deinstitutionalisation’ (DI) now followed by many governments, preventing the separation of children from families, returning children from so-called ‘orphanages’ to families, and shifting finances from harmful institutions to community services that support children in families. She advises officials at the European Commission on using EU funds for reforming children’s services, and has published four books on children’s rights. Georgette sits on the Leaders' Council of the Global Alliance for Children, the UK-based Commission on Civil Society and Democratic Engagement. In 2014, she was named as ‘one of the world’s 30 most influential social workers’ by socialworkdegreeguide.com. She is Chief Executive of Lumos, an international children’s organization, founded by J.K. Rowling to end the institutionalisation of children globally by 2050.
- Nanotronics Imaging: Nanotronics Imaging are enablers for the next industrial revolution, creating hardware, software and services that deal with the unification of scale. Our microscopes can image over a range previously not thought possible in one instrument. We can look at the macro, micro and atomic scale, and do this all now in 3D. Complex algorithm for the detection, classification and increased resolution of imaging and automation hardware. This ranges from a patented way to avoid the Abbe Limit through image reconstruction, newer types of Sparse data AI, computer vision techniques for creating the fastest nanotopographies in the world and systems for intelligently automating traditionally manual processes.
- Alyse Nelson: Alyse Nelson is president and CEO of Vital Voices Global Partnership. A cofounder of Vital Voices, Alyse has worked for the organization for 17 years, serving as vice president and senior director of programs before assuming her current role in 2009. Under her leadership, Vital Voices has expanded its reach to serve over 14,000 women leaders in 144 countries. Previously, Alyse served as deputy director of the State Department’s Vital Voices Global Democracy Initiative and worked with the President’s Interagency Council on Women at the White House. Alyse is a Member in the Council on Foreign Relations, serves on the Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on Strategic Dialogue with Civil Society and is a Board member of Running Start. Alyse is a part of the Expert Group for the B Team and is on the Advisory Board of Chime for Change. Fortune Magazine named Alyse one of the 55 Most Influential Women on Twitter. Alyse is the author of the best-selling book "Vital Voices: The Power of Women Leading Change Around the World" and has been featured in various international and national media. She completed her graduate degree work at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.
- Reshma Saujani: Reshma Saujani is the Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, a national non-profit organization working to close the gender gap in technology and prepare young women for jobs of the future. In her groundbreaking new book, "Women Who Don't Wait in Line," Reshma advocates for a new model of female leadership focused on embracing risk and failure, promoting mentorship and sponsorship, and boldly charting your own course -- personally and professionally. After years of working as an attorney and supporting the Democratic party as an activist and fundraiser, Reshma left her private sector career behind and surged onto the political scene as the first Indian American woman in the country to run for US Congress. Following the highly publicized race, Reshma stayed true to her passion for public service, becoming Deputy Public Advocate of New York City and most recently running a spirited campaign for Public Advocate on a platform of creating educational and economic opportunities for women and girls, immigrants, and those who have been sidelined in the political process. A true political entrepreneur, Reshma has been fearless in her efforts to disrupt both politics and technology to create positive change.
- Scribd: Scribd is the premier subscription book service with more than half a million e-books and audiobooks including New York Times bestsellers, Pulitzer Prize winners and reader favorites across every genre. Launched in 2007 by founders Trip Adler and Jared Friedman and backed by Y Combinator, Charles River Ventures, Redpoint Ventures and Khosla Ventures, Scribd is one of the most influential websites in the world. It is available in nearly every country, featuring 62MM documents in +80 languages.
- Trip Adler is CEO and co-founder of Scribd. More than 100 million users read books and other documents on-demand using Scribd. Inspired by trying to help his father publish a medical paper, Trip started Scribd in 2007 with a simple observation that even with the proliferation of blogs and other self-publishing tools, there was no easy way for people to publish to a readership of millions. Today, Scribd makes it incredibly simple for anyone to share and discover informative, entertaining and original written content on the web and mobile devices. Prior to co-founding Scribd, the Harvard-educated entrepreneur tested the waters with a ridesharing service, Craiglist service for colleges, and an informational call center. Trip graduated from the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences with a major in Physics.
- Jason Silva: Jason Silva is the Emmy-nominated host of National Geographic Channel’s Emmy-nominated hit TV series, Brain Games, seen in over 100 countries. “A Timothy Leary of the Viral Video Age” was how The Atlantic described television personality, filmmaker and philosopher Silva, who has also been described as “part Timothy Leary, part Ray Kurzweil, and part Neo from ‘The Matrix.’” Silva is the creator of the Discovery Digital web series SHOTS OF AWE, micro-documentaries exploring creativity, innovation, exponential technology, futurism, metaphysics, existentialism and the human condition. In short: Philosophy, Science and Art for the YouTube generation. The videos, which “play like movie trailers for ideas,” according to The Atlantic, have spread like wildfire across the internet and have been viewed more than 10 million times. An active and prolific global speaker, Jason has spoken at TEDGlobal, Google's Zeitgeist Conference, keynoted multiple events for Microsoft, IBM, Adobe, Oracle, Electronic Arts, Honeywell, PEPSICO, Intel, Dolby, the Tribeca Film Festival, The Sydney Opera house, The Economist Ideas Festival, the main stage at SXSW Interactive and the MainStage at CANNES LIONS festival of Creativity.
- Bill Simmons: is a columnist, author, and podcaster whose prolific writings, rants, and insights have become the voice for a generation of American sports fans. Simmons is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Grantland, the sports and pop culture website that he created for ESPN in June 2011. Thanks to Simmons's guidance and one of the most talented writing staffs in the business, Grantland has become the internet's most accomplished multi-media site, recently getting nominated for three National Magazine Awards and earning an Emmy for the digital series "30 for 30 Shorts." Grantland also launched a video network that features a variety of shows and podcasts, including Simmons' The B.S. Report, which has been the most downloaded sports podcast since 2007 and featured guests like President Obama, Lorne Michaels, Louis CK, and Larry Bird. He is also the creator and host of The Grantland Basketball Hour—the first Grantland-branded television series on ESPN—and is the co-creator and an executive producer of ESPN’s Peabody Award-winning documentary series, 30 for 30. Off-screen, Simmons is the author of two best-selling books, including the New York Times No. 1 best-seller, "The Book of Basketball." He currently lives in Los Angeles.
- Shane Smith: Shane Smith is the founder and CEO of VICE, the global youth media brand. One of the industry’s most respected visionaries, Smith is also a critically acclaimed journalist, and the host and executive producer for the Emmy winning news series, VICE, on HBO. Under Smith’s guidance, VICE, initially launched in 1994 as a punk magazine, has expanded and diversified to become the world’s leading youth media company; operating an international network of digital channels, a television production studio, a record label, an in-house creative services agency, a book-publishing house and a feature film division. VICE's award-winning video content covers news, culture, music, technology, sports and fashion from a unique perspective tailored towards a young international audience often ignored by mainstream media. To syndicate VICE’s content globally, Smith established a network of content distribution partnerships with leading platforms, including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, HBO, and others. VICE’s online presence has since exploded, with its network of channels reaching hundreds of millions of viewers a month. Smith has reported from the world's most isolated and difficult places, including North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Liberia and Greenland. Smith has been awarded numerous journalism and media awards, including the 2014 Knight Innovation Award, the Environmental Media Award, and more.
- Tampon Run: High school students Sophie Houser and Andrea Gonzales created an 8-bit side scroller game, Tampon Run, last summer to combat the menstrual taboo. They made the game as their final project for the Girls Who Code immersion program. They posted it to tamponrun.com in early September to share with friends and family. To their surprise, it went viral. Tampon Run features a girl who throws tampons at oncoming enemies rather than shooting a gun. The game is meant to combat the menstrual taboo by using humor to promote thought and discussion about the topic. Since posting their game online, Sophie and Andy have been written up in newspapers, magazines and blogs globally and received moving emails and tweets of support from around the world. They have also appeared at public speaking engagements including a TEDx Youth talk and worked with leading development company Pivotal Labs to build a mobile version of the game, to be released on February 3. Sophie and Andy represent a fight against the menstrual taboo and also the important message that girls and women can and should code.
- Nicole Ticea: If there are two things Nicole could credit for helping her develop the most cost-effective device for early HIV detection, she would say ‘passion’ and ‘youthful naïveté’. A teenage researcher from Vancouver, Canada, Nicole has spent the past two years building a team of co-collaborators and business partners at Simon Fraser University, a local institute, and at Stanford. She has taken her work to the national and international stage as the winner of the Canadian BioGENEius Challenge for biotechnology and was also awarded Second Place in Medicine and Health at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. Nicole has adopted a business-minded attitude towards her research by founding her own company, OneWorld Diagnostics Inc., to attract investors for further product development. Nicole and her team have also applied to several grants and hope to raise enough money to see this product deployed in low-resource settings such as Sub-Saharan Africa, where the test will significantly increase infant survival rates and minimize undiagnosed HIV infection amongst adults. Outside of her research, Nicole is an avid author who hopes to cast a new light on long-repressed local issues.
- Darren Walker: Darren Walker is president of the Ford Foundation, where he oversees more than $12 billion in assets, $500 million annually in global social justice grants and 10 international offices. He has been a leader in the social sector for more than two decades, including serving as vice president at the Rockefeller Foundation, and his expertise ranges from human rights to urban development to free expression. He spent almost a decade on the frontlines of community development at Harlem’s Abyssinian Development Corporation, after a career working in international finance and law at UBS and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton. Walker voices a unique perspective on the ways that market forces, democratic institutions and an independent nonprofit sector must work together to achieve lasting social change.
To learn more about the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards, visit the official website.