Wednesday, April 08, 2009

BrainBuzz Overview

The second part of the YII Conference was the BrainBuzz™ on Saturday, where we brainstormed solutions to five technology challenges. The technology challenge case studies were:

1. A passive solar tracking system, submitted for the BrainBuzz™ by Eden Full of Dynamic Photovoltaics. Eden's submission came to us from Ashoka's Changemakers program. Eden is a high school student from Calgary.

2. The Keepon robot from BeatBots, presented by Marek Michalowski, the company's co-founder and doctoral student in the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.

3. XoutTB, a device that encourages compliance to the course of treatment for tuberculosis. The technology is in development by the Innovations in International Health (IIH) Group at MIT and was presented by Jose Gomez-Marquez.

4. A solar autoclave for sterilizing medical instruments in the field developed by a group of students from Dayton University in Ohio who run Salud del Sol.

5. GlucoVend, a self-service patient kiosk for checking glucose levels, also from the IIH at MIT.

Take a glimpse at the sessions:

Here is what one of our facilitators and had to say about the event:
"I had a terrific experience at the 5th Inventing the Future Conference. The variety of activities and opportunities to collaborate with other participants far exceeded my expectations. I especially enjoyed the high-energy BrainBuzz event and have already made plans to employ this activity in my organization." - Evan Anderson, Director of Prototyping Services, WidgetWorks

And some words from the participants:
"I love the, interactive, get to meet other people, etc."
"Stimulating, challenging, fun, fast-paced"
"Fun, cool, new, interesting"
"I loved the ideas people had!"
"Reflective, moving, fun"
"Teamwork, exciting, new ideas"

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

YII Conference Summary

YII's 5th Inventing the Future Conference took place on Friday and Saturday, and we had a sold out conference with more than 120 participants over the two days.

Here are what some of the participants had to say about the event:
"It was great to see how easily people interacted and offered help to one another"
"Thought provoking"
"Informative, inspiring, fun"
"Great chance to meet people!"
"Eye-opening, inspirational"
"I would use the knowledge from the conference on my path toward entrepreneurship"

Regis McKenna, visiting us from Silicon Valley, opened the Conference, speaking about the importance of learning by doing and getting your technology to the market rapidly, not underestimating your competition, and the role of upstarts in disrupting existing technologies. He also offered some thoughts on Apple 1 and Apple 2, where the second time around, Steve Jobs applied what he had learned from his many years as an entrepreneur. Below, Regis McKenna offers his thoughts about young innovators and entrepreneurs.

After the opening keynote, we broke out into smaller groups for the Commercialization Marathon, where we had 25 experts speak about topics of intellectual property, market research and development, raising financing, business planning, and industrial design and prototyping. You can see very brief excerpts of two sessions below - Randy Eager of Innovation Works talking about building a business and Bob Oltmanns of Skutski & Oltmanns talking about market research and strategy.

After pizza, we had a number of students pitch their ventures and talk about the resources they needed to build their ventures. We finished the evening with an inspiring and informative young entrepreneur panel, moderated by Aaron Tainter of Meakem Becker Venture Capital and featuring Lynsie Camuso of Showclix, Luke Skurman of College Prowler, and Nick Pinkston of GearHeadz. Below, is a video of me closing the Conference with Aaron, Lynsie, Luke, and Nick behind me.