Humanity’s biggest challenges are also some of the most familiar. How we deal with population growth, climate change, and future energy demands depends on how we frame these questions, and too often our ability to find new, innovative solutions is limited by political and ideological biases.
What if we were to look at the world anew?
Watch Steve’s talk here »
As a businessman and philanthropist, Steve Case invests in diverse for-profit and nonprofit enterprises. In April 2005, Steve launched Revolution, a company that seeks to drive transformative change by shifting power to consumers. Prior to starting Revolution, Steve was the co-founder, chairman, and CEO of America Online. He and his wife, Jean Case, created the Case Foundation in 1997.
Few people can match the impact on business and culture than that of Steve Case. A lifelong entrepreneur and innovator, Steve created Revolution to create far-reaching change, further empower consumers, and build enduring business success.
As co-founder of AOL, Steve led the charge to make the Internet an essential part of everyday life. Although many first learned of AOL in the late 1990s and assumed it was an overnight success, it was the result of a 20 year journey. It took nine years for AOL to enroll its first 1 million subscribers—and then over the next nine years its subscriber base increased 20 fold. Through its success, the company merged with Time Warner, creating one of the world’s largest media, entertainment and communications companies.
When Steve became Chairman of AOL Time Warner, he saw first-hand how hard it is for large companies to innovate, sometimes longing for the early days of AOL when a small, passionate team laid the building blocks for AOL’s later success. So when he stepped down as Chairman in 2003, it was natural that Steve found himself drawn to entrepreneurial companies. Within weeks, he met the founders of Exclusive Resorts and bought half the company on the spot. Several months later, he became passionate about the possibilities in the burgeoning wellness and healthy living sector and bought control of Miraval – Life In Balance.
But these initial forays were just an overture; in 2004, it became clear to Steve that the approach he had adopted could be applied to other companies in other industries in need of change. That led to the development of Revolution and the refinement of a more systematic yet passionate approach to building game-changing consumer businesses, such as Revolution Health.
In addition to running Revolution, Steve is Chairman of The Case Foundation and an active investor and philanthropist in Hawaii.
Watch Esther’s talk here »
Esther Dyson is a journalist and commentator on emerging digital technology, an entrepreneur, and a philanthropist. Dyson specializes in analyzing the impact of emerging technologies and markets on economies and societies. Dyson is a board member and active investor in a variety of start-ups. Her investments have included Flickr and del.icio.us, both sold to Yahoo! and Medstory, sold to Microsoft.
Esther Dyson is an active investor in a variety of start-ups, focusing on technology. Her portfolio of private space and air travel investments includes XCOR Aerospace, Space Adventures/Zero G (recently merged), Constellation Services, Icon Aircraft, Coastal Aviation Software and Airship Ventures. She has flown weightless on Zero-G four times, but hopes to go up again soon.
She is also the organizer of Flight School, an executive workshop for start-ups in air and space. It’s in hiatus for 2008, but will resume in 2009.
On the IT side, her investments have included Flickr and del.icio.us, both sold to Yahoo! and Medstory, sold to Microsoft. Currently, she sits on the boards of 23andMe, Meetup, WPP Group, Eventful.com, Evernote, Boxbe and Yandex, the leading Russian search company.
Dyson sold her business EDventure Holdings, along with its Release1.0 newsletter and PC Forum conference, to CNET Networks in 2004; PC Forum and Release 1.0 played key roles in the early development of the PC software marketplace and the commercial Internet. Dyson left CNET at the end of 2006 and (with permission) has resumed doing business under the name of EDventure Holdings.
Watch Ted’s talk here »
Ted Leonsis is the founder and chairman of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which comprises three professional sports teams – the Washington Capitals (NHL), the Washington Wizards (NBA) and the Washington Mystics (WNBA). Leonsis retired from active management of AOL in 2006, where during the previous 13 years he held a number of senior positions, including vice chairman and president.
Ted Leonsis is the founder, chairman and majority owner of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which comprises three professional sports teams – the Washington Capitals (NHL), the Washington Wizards (NBA) and the Washington Mystics (WNBA) – as well as Verizon Center and the Baltimore-Washington Ticketmaster franchise. The company also operates Kettler Capitals Iceplex (the Capitals training facility and front office) and George Mason University’s Patriot Center.
Leonsis retired from active management of AOL in 2006, where during the previous 13 years he held a number of senior positions, including vice chairman and president. Since his retirement from active management at AOL, Leonsis retains the position of vice chairman emeritus. At a May 2010 ceremony celebrating AOL’s 25th anniversary, one of the buildings on AOL’s Virginia campus was renamed the Leonsis Creative Center in his honor.
Recently Leonsis was chairman of Revolution Money, which provides secure payments through an Internet-based platform and in 2009 was sold to American Express; Leonsis is now on the board of directors at American Express. He is currently chairman of Clearspring Technologies, the largest online content sharing network, which connects publishers, services and advertisers to audiences on the social web. Over the past 20 years he has been a board member or early investor in a number of successful technology companies, from Google to Groupon.
In 2008 Leonsis founded SnagFilms, which enables online audiences to find, watch, share and support thousands of documentary films. SnagFilms grew out of Leonsis’ experience as a producer of such award-winning documentary films as Nanking and Kicking It. Nanking premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, where it was awarded the Documentary Editing Award and has won a Peabody Award and an Emmy Award. Kicking It premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival and aired on ESPN. A third documentary produced by Leonsis, A Fighting Chance, will air on ESPN in fall 2010. In addition to being the Internet’s leading site for watching and sharing nonfiction films, SnagFilms owns indieWIRE, the leading news, information and networking site for independent-minded filmmakers, the industry and moviegoers alike.
While working on documentaries and establishing SnagFilms, Leonsis coined and championed the term “filmanthropy.” It is his unique way of combining film and philanthropy, raising the awareness of important issues with the goal of promoting change by increasing volunteerism and activating charitable giving.
Leonsis’ book The Business of Happiness: 6 Secrets To Extraordinary Success In Work And Life was published in February 2010 and quickly became a bestseller. Previous books by Leonsis include Blue Magic: The People, Power, and Politics Behind The IBM Personal Computer (1988.)
In addition to serving on the board of directors of American Express, where he is chairman of the Technology and Innovation Committee, Leonsis sits on the board of publicly held companies such as Nutrisystem and Rosetta Stone. He also serves on the Technology Committee of the board of directors for Alcatel-Lucent. He also serves on the board of directors of his alma mater, Georgetown University. Leonsis has numerous business interests and investments, including the following companies: Algentis, GridPoint, Triporati, Mahalo.com, MediaBank, MobilePosse, ObjectVideo, SB Nation, TidalTV and Zedge.
Leonsis is a committed philanthropist and is actively involved with numerous charities, including Best Buddies, D.C. Central Kitchen, See Forever Foundation, Street Soccer USA, Venture Philanthropy Partners, YouthAIDS and others through the work of the Leonsis Foundation.
Watch Paula’s talk here »
Paula A. Kerger is president and chief executive officer of PBS, the nation’s largest non-commercial media organization with more than 350 member stations throughout the country. Since her arrival, Ms. Kerger has made particularly strong commitments to the arts, news and public affairs, high-quality content for education, diversity, and the use of new technology to bring public media into the lives of all Americans.
Paula A. Kerger is president and chief executive officer of PBS, the nation’s largest non-commercial media organization with more than 350 member stations throughout the country.
Ms. Kerger joined PBS as its sixth president and chief executive in March 2006. Since her arrival, Ms. Kerger has made particularly strong commitments to the arts, news and public affairs, high-quality content for education, diversity, and the use of new technology to bring public media into the lives of all Americans.
Among her accomplishments are Ken Burns’ and Dayton Duncan’s fall 2009 12-hour documentary, “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea”; the debut of such acclaimed children’s programs as “The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That,” Dinosaur Train,” “Curious George” (the number one show for children ages 2-5 since 2006), “Word World,” “Super Why!,” “Martha Speaks,” and “Sid the Science Kid”; new primetime science and arts series; the new PBS ARTS website; and comprehensive online sites for parents and caregivers — PBS Parents — and for educators — PBS Teachers.
For the 2009-2010 season, PBS programs were honored with 31 Emmys — 15 Daytime Emmys, seven Primetime Emmys, six News and Documentary Emmys, two Emmys for Business and Financial Reporting and a Technology & Engineering Emmy; six George Foster Peabody awards; three IDA Documentary awards; three Writers Guild of America awards; two Academy Award nominations (for documentary features); and 21 Parents’ Choice awards — nine for television, six for websites, five for mobile apps and one for DVDs.
Watch Sandra’s talk here »
Global Water Policy Project
Sandra Postel directs the independent Global Water Policy Project, based in New Mexico, and lectures, writes and consults on global water issues. She is the National Geographic Society’s first Freshwater Fellow, and serves as lead water expert for the Society’s Freshwater Initiative. Postel is also a fellow of the Post Carbon Institute. She also appears in the BBC’s Planet Earth and Leonardo DiCaprio’s The 11th Hour.
Sandra Postel directs the independent Global Water Policy Project, based in New Mexico, and lectures, writes and consults on global water issues. She is the National Geographic Society’s first Freshwater Fellow, and serves as lead water expert for the Society’s Freshwater Initiative. Postel is also a fellow of the Post Carbon Institute. During 2000-2008, Postel was visiting senior lecturer in Environmental Studies at Mount Holyoke College, and late in that term directed the college’s Center for the Environment. From 1988 until 1994, she was vice president for research at the Worldwatch Institute, a non-profit research organization. Postel has been named a Pew Scholar in Conservation and the Environment, and in 2002 was named one of the “Scientific American 50,” an award recognizing contributions to science and technology.
A leading authority and prolific author on international water issues, Postel has been hailed for her “inspiring, innovative and practical approach” to promoting the preservation and sustainable use of freshwater. She is author of Pillar of Sand: Can the Irrigation Miracle Last? and of Last Oasis: Facing Water Scarcity, which was chosen by Choice magazine as a 1993 Outstanding Academic Book. Last Oasis appears in eight languages and was the basis for a PBS documentary that aired in 1997. Postel’s article “Troubled Waters,” was selected for inclusion in the 2001 edition of Best American Science and Nature Writing. She is also co-author (with Brian Richter) of Rivers for Life: Managing Water for People and Nature (Island Press 2003), which calls for new approaches to harmonizing human and ecosystem needs for fresh water. In 2005, the Worldwatch Institute released her publication Liquid Assets: The Critical Need to Safeguard Freshwater Ecosystems.
Postel has authored more than 100 articles for popular and scholarly publications, including Science, Natural History, Scientific American, Foreign Policy, BioScience, Ecological Applications, Technology Review, Environmental Science and Technology, International Wildlife, and Water International. She has written some 20 op-ed features that have appeared in more than 30 newspapers in the United States and abroad, including The New York Times and The Washington Post. A frequent conference speaker and lecturer, she also has served as commentator on CNN’s Futurewatch, addressed the European Parliament on environmental issues, and appeared on CBS Sunday Morning, ABC’s Nightline, and NPR’s Science Friday. She also appears in the BBC’s Planet Earth and Leonardo DiCaprio’s The 11th Hour.
Postel has served as advisor to the Division on Earth and Life Studies of the U.S. National Research Council as well as to American Rivers. She has served on the Board of Directors of the International Water Resources Association, and on the editorial boards of Ecosystems, Water Policy, and Green Futures. She received a B.A. (summa cum laude) in geology and political science at Wittenberg University and an M.E.M. with emphasis on resource economics and policy at Duke University. Postel has been awarded two honorary Doctor of Science degrees, the Duke University School of Environment’s Distinguished Alumni Award, and a Pew Scholar’s Award in Conservation and the Environment.
Watch Matt’s talk here »
Space Telescope Science Inst.
Matt Mountain has been the Director of the Space Telescope Science Institute, since September 1, 2005, leading the 400-person institute that is responsible for the research done with the Hubble Space Telescope, and its planned successor the James Webb Space Telescope. Matt was previously the Director of the Gemini Observatory, which has telescopes on Mauna Kea, in Hawaii and on Cerro Pachon, in Chile.
Matt was previously the Director of the Gemini Observatory, which is based in Hilo, Hawaii which has telescopes on Mauna Kea and on Cerro Pachon, in Chile. He is also the Telescope Scientist for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, a member of the Webb Science Working Group, a Professor at Johns Hopkins Department of Physics and Astronomy and a Visiting Professor at the University of Oxford (UK).
Matt’s principle research interests have included star formation in galaxies (including our own), advanced infrared instrumentation, and the capabilities of advanced telescopes. He has published more than 100 research papers, articles, and reports. He is a fellow of the American Astronomical Society, the Royal Astronomical Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science; and a member of the International Society for Optical Engineering. In 2003 Matt was awarded the Gabriela Mistral Medal for excellence in education by the Chilean Ministry of Education (the first time this award has been made outside of Chile) for the Gemini StarTeachers education program.
Watch Saras’ talk here »
Associate Professor Saras D. Sarasvathy is a member of the Strategy, Entrepreneurship and Ethics area and teaches courses in entrepreneurship and ethics in Darden’s MBA program. A leading scholar on the cognitive basis for high-performance entrepreneurship, her book Effectuation: Elements of Entrepreneurial Expertise was nominated for the 2009 Terry Book Award.
A leading scholar on the cognitive basis for high-performance entrepreneurship, Sarasvathy serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Business Venturing and Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal and is advisor to entrepreneurship education programs in Europe and Asia. Her scholarly work has won several awards, including the 2001 William H. Newman Award from the Academy of Management and the 2009 Gerald E. Hills Best Paper Award from the American Marketing Association. Her book Effectuation: Elements of Entrepreneurial Expertise was nominated for the 2009 Terry Book Award by the Academy of Management.
Effectuation is widely acclaimed as a rigorous framework for understanding the creation and growth of new organizations and markets. The research program based on effectuation involves over a dozen scholars from around the world whose published and working papers can be found at www.effectuation.org. Sarasvathy has also developed several cases and other instructional materials to teach effectuation. A new textbook, along with an open source instructor website, is currently in the works.
In addition to a master’s degree in industrial administration, Saras received her PhD in information systems from Carnegie Mellon University. Her thesis on entrepreneurial expertise was supervised by Herbert Simon, 1978 Nobel Laureate in Economics. Before joining Darden, she was on the faculty of University of Washington and University of Maryland. And before that, she was part of the founding team in five entrepreneurial ventures.
Watch Yash’s talk here »
Yash P. Gupta became the first permanent dean of the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, taking charge of the university’s initiative to re-invent business education by arming students with both business skills and critical knowledge from other disciplines. The Carey School was launched as a freestanding business school in 2007, built on a tradition of business education at the university that dates to 1916.
The Carey School was launched as a freestanding business school in 2007, built on a tradition of business education at the university that dates to 1916.
“This is a great opportunity to create a world-class business school in a world-class university,” Gupta said at the time of his appointment.
Before coming to Johns Hopkins, Gupta served as dean for a total of 14 years at the University of Colorado at Denver, the University of Washington and, from 2004 to 2006, the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business.
During his tenure at USC, the Marshall School raised more than $55 million; expanded its faculty; increased emphasis on faculty research; created research centers focused on such areas as global business, bio-business, sports business and brand management; and developed a new innovation-focused MBA curriculum.
Part 1 » Part 2 »
Poet, Musician, TED Fellow
Iyeoka Ivie Okoawo is a Poet/Recording Artist, a 2009 Individual World Poetry Slam Champion and a 2010 TED Fellow. A first-generation Nigerian-American, Iyeoka was a pharmacist before launching her career as a poet, presenter, activist and educator. Iyeoka is at the forefront of creating a new artistic genre that gracefully interweaves spoken word poetry with jazz, blues, gospel and electronic soul.
Iyeoka is at the forefront of creating a new artistic genre that gracefully interweaves spoken word poetry with jazz, blues, gospel and electronic soul. Iyeoka & the Rock by Funk Tribe is one of the most sought after supporting acts for touring artists showcasing in New England. As a dynamic sensation in the Boston music scene, Iyeoka and the Rock by Funk Tribe have been invited to locally support touring artists including FEMI KUTI, ZAP MAMA and Slick Rick. In April 2010, Iyeoka performed at Jazzmouth, The Seacoast Poetry & Jazz festival in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, alongside former US poet laureate Robert Pinsky, Ray Manzarek of the Doors, and original beat poet Michael McClure.
Iyeoka’s latest hit single, “the Yellow Brick Road song” received national placement in an episode of the new hit HBO series “How To Make It In America”, gaining many positive reviews for both lyrical content and musical composition.
Watch Francis’s talk here »
Francis is Vice President of Prize Development at The X PRIZE Foundation, where he is working to fund and launch ten new prizes over the next five years. Trained in oceanography, Francis started his career building large-scale aquarium attractions around the globe, including the the Biodôme, the Biosphere, the Vancouver Aquarium and the Shark Reef Aquarium.
Francis comes to The X PRIZE Foundation with more than 17 years of experience in large-scale project design, development and funding. This experience will allow him, as VP, Prize Development, to help the Foundation achieve its aggressive goal to fund and launch ten new prizes over the next five years. Prior to joining The X PRIZE Foundation, Francis served as vice president and partner at Montreal-based Sid Lee, an industry leader in commercial creativity. During his time as VP and partner, Francis helped global brands like Cirque Du Soleil, Red Bull and Adidas recognize the commercial potential of creativity by creating brand experiences through products, services and spaces. He also helped market these experiences through advertising, branded content and interactive communications.
Trained in oceanography, Francis started his career building large-scale aquarium attractions around the globe, including the the Biodôme, the Biosphere, the Vancouver Aquarium and the Shark Reef Aquarium. Francis made his mark in the Las Vegas skyline in 1999 with the design and creation of the Shark Reef Aquarium. A $50M project that broke all the rules in traditional collection-based attraction: a fully-themed immersive experience in the underwater world of earth deadliest predators. The Shark Reef aquarium went on to win Las Vegas’ best family attraction for years running. In a creative leadership role, Francis went on the break new grounds in the design of a new immersive and multi-disciplinary public attractions, the Springs Preserve. The Springs Preserve is today one of America’s greenest community-led tourism attractions having the first two Platinum LEED public venues in North America. A $500M project, the Springs Preserve has become a strong public education asset for the community of Las Vegas and with an impressive public outreach and marketing initiatives, the tourism market now has a place where they can learn and appreciate this city they call ‘The Meadows.
Watch David’s talk here »
Dave Gallo works to push the bounds of oceanic discovery. Active in undersea exploration, he was one of the first oceanographers to use a combination of manned submersibles and robots to map the ocean world with unprecedented clarity and detail. Gallo is now working with director James Cameron and other undersea experts on ideas to stop the oil spill.
Watch Susan’s talk here »
Dr. Susan Shaw is a marine toxicologist, author, explorer, and founder/director of the Marine Environmental Research Institute (MERI). An outspoken and influential voice on ocean pollution, Shaw joined the SSWG in September 2010 and has been tasked with assessing the oil spill’s impact on the Gulf of Mexico and recommend actions toward recovery.
Shaw is known for three decades of pioneering research documenting the impacts of hundreds of man-made chemicals on marine ecosystems and human health. She is credited as the first scientist to show that flame retardant chemicals used in consumer products have contaminated marine mammals and commercially important fish stocks in the northwest Atlantic Ocean. Her research has influenced policy decisions in the US and abroad, including the Maine legislature’s decision to ban the neurotoxic flame retardant decabromodiphenyl ether (Deca), and the subsequent US phase-out of the chemical. Shaw now serves on the International Panel on Chemical Pollution, a select group of scientists advising policymakers on the management of toxic chemicals in developed and developing countries.
An outspoken and influential voice on ocean pollution, Shaw dove in the Gulf of Mexico oil slick in May 2010 and subsequently launched an independent investigation on the effects of oil and chemical dispersants in the water column. In September, Shaw joined the Strategic Sciences Working Group (SSWG), the U.S. Department of Interior’s interdisciplinary team of 14 scientists charged with developing a science-based assessment and recommendations for action to accelerate a sustainable recovery for the ecosystems, economy, and people of the Gulf of Mexico. Her extensive background in marine toxicology and public health was utilized during the SSWG’s second session in New Orleans. The team completed in-depth scenarios of consequences including long term health impacts on the Gulf ecosystem and people, and recommended more than 40 “interventions” to reduce stress and accelerate recovery.
A Fulbright Scholar and recipient of numerous awards, Shaw was named Gulf of Maine “Visionary” by the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment representing the New England states and Atlantic Canada. In 2010, she was awarded a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellowship. In December, she will receive MORE magazine’s “Noisemaker” Award for her work in the Gulf of Mexico.
Watch Jackie’s talk here »
Jacqueline Savitz is a Senior Scientist and Senior Campaign Director for Oceana. Savitz leads Oceana’s Pollution Campaigns, focusing on climate change, oil and gas, and clean energy, specifically offshore wind. Jackie is an expert in marine pollution issues including oil, mercury, beach water quality, cruise ships and toxics among others, and has two decades of environmental policy experience.
Prior to working with Oceana, Savitz served as Executive Director of Coast Alliance, a network of over 600 organizations around the country working to protect our priceless coasts from pollution and development. In the mid-nineties, Jacqueline worked as an environmental policy analyst with the Environmental Working Group in Washington, D.C. There her focus was on the public health effects of water and air pollution. In that capacity she authored a series of reports on water pollution, point source discharges, air quality standards, fish contamination and medical waste disposal. Jacqueline first worked as an environmental scientist with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation where she spent nearly five years on Chesapeake Bay pollution issues including toxics and point source pollution.
Jacqueline earned her master’s degree in environmental science with emphasis in toxicology from the University of Maryland, Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, where her work focused on the effects of contaminants on aquatic life. She earned her bachelor’s degree in marine science and biology from the University of Miami, in Florida.
Watch Charles’s talk here »
Charles Limb loved music as a child—Mahler, the Beatles, Miles Davis, whatever. And he heard things most of us don’t. “I was fascinated by this question of how sound can make you feel something,” says the Johns Hopkins otolaryngologist. “If you think about it from a kind of abstract philosophical level, it’s unusual that acoustic vibrations in the air can make you feel deep emotion, something that can affect your life.”
As his mouthful of a medical specialization might hint, Limb didn’t end up becoming a professional musician, although he is a proficient amateur player (saxophone, piano, and bass) and composer with a joint appointment at the Peabody Institute, the music school affiliated with Hopkins. Instead, he approached music from another angle, becoming a hearing specialist and surgeon who performs cochlear implantations on patients who have lost their hearing. In search of a better understanding of how the mind perceives complex auditory stimuli such as music, Limb got a research fellowship at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study the brain using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), a technique that can measure the changes in blood flow within the brain that indicate neural activity. It was there that Limb and a co-author conceived and undertook a curious study, published in 2008, that shed a glimmer of light on a very fundamental mystery: What is creativity, and how does the mind generate new ideas?
Watch Adam’s talk here »
As a Research Fellow at MIT’s Senseable City Lab, Adam is the current team leader for Seaswarm, a swarm of autonomous sea robots, which coordinate in unison to sense and clean oil from the water’s surface using nano-fabric. At Senseable, we are utilizing and exploring new technologies to try and solve major environmental issues. Before joining MIT, Adam graduated from Ball State University in Indiana.
Before joining MIT, Adam graduated from Ball State University in Indiana with a B.A. in Architecture and an acute interest in comprehending the real meaning of an architect in today’s global society. To gain a greater understanding of a connected world and build upon a cross-disciplinary design foundation, Adam moved to New York City to receive his Masters in Communications Design at Pratt Institute.
While diving deeper into new design areas, such as print, typographics, motion, interactive and 3d visualization, architectural principles continued to direct his work, including his graduate thesis “Detached Messages,” which explored extreme forms of floating visual media embedded with responsive and sensing technology.
Watch TF3’s talk here »
Time for Three
The groundbreaking, category-shattering trio Time for Three transcends traditional classification, with elements of classical, country western, gypsy and jazz idioms forming a blend all its own. The members — Zachary (Zach) De Pue, violin; Nicolas (Nick) Kendall, violin; and Ranaan Meyer, double bass — carry a passion for improvisation, composing and arranging, all prime elements of the ensemble’s playing.
What started as a trio of musicians who played together for fun while students at Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute for Music evolved into Time for Three, or Tf3 for short — a charismatic ensemble with a reputation for limitless enthusiasm and no musical boundaries. Violinists Zachary De Pue and Nicolas Kendall first discovered their mutual love of fiddling in the country western and bluegrass styles. Then bassist Ranaan Meyer introduced them to his deep roots in jazz and improvisation. After considerable experimentation, the three officially formed Tf3. The ensemble gained instant attention in July 2003, during a lightning-induced power failure at Philadelphia’s Mann Center for the Performing Arts. While technicians attempted to restore onstage lighting, Ranaan and Zach, who were both performing as members of The Philadelphia Orchestra, obliged with an impromptu jam session that included works as far afield from the originally scheduled symphony as “Jerusalem’s Ridge,” “Ragtime Annie,” and “The Orange Blossom Special.” The crowd went wild.
To date, the group has performed more than two hundred engagements as diverse as its music: from featured guest soloists with The Philadelphia Orchestra to opening for K.D. Lang at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center.
Watch Dickson’s talk here »
Dickson D. Despommier is a microbiologist, ecologist and Professor of Public Health in Environmental Health Sciences at Columbia University. Despommier developed the concept of vertical farming in 1999. Vertical farming is a proposed agricultural technique involving large-scale agriculture in urban high-rises or “farmscrapers,” which would produce fruit, vegetables, edible mushrooms and algae year-round.
Vertical farming is a proposed agricultural technique involving large-scale agriculture in urban high-rises or “farmscrapers”. Using recycled resources and greenhouse methods such as hydroponics, these buildings would produce fruit, vegetables, edible mushrooms and algae year-round.
Watch Nina’s talk here »
Nina Fefferman is a mathematical modeler interested in the application of mathematical models to investigating the interface among ecology, animal behavior and epidemiology. Her research activities span a broad range of research programs in infectious disease epidemiology, biodefense and societal organization, animal behavior, conservation ecology, social network theory, and evolutionary sociobiology.
Watch Albert’s talk here »
Albert Yu-Min Lin
Valley of the Khans
Dr. Albert Yu-Min Lin is a Research Scientist at the University of California, San Diego and an Emerging Explorer of the National Geographic Society in the field of technology enabled exploration. He founded and co-Directs the UC San Diego, National Geographic Engineers for Exploration Program and currently leads a major international effort known as the Valley of the Khans Project.
He founded and co-Directs the UC San Diego, National Geographic Engineers for Exploration Program and currently leads a major international effort known as the Valley of the Khans Project. He is a research scientist at the Center for Interdisciplinary Science in Art, Architecture and Archaeology (CISA3) within the California Institute of Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) at UC San DIego.
As Principal Investigator of the Valley of the Khans Project, a non-invasive technology based search for the tomb of Genghis Khan, Dr. Lin has lead multiple high-tech expeditions deep into the most remote parts of the world, developed innovative platforms for remote sensing and co-innovated massive data analysis through crowdsourcing and web based public participation. The goal of this effort, to enable international protection of a sacred region of Mongolia through non-destructive investigation, has earned him recognition as National Geographic Adventure Magazine’s “2010 Readers Choice Adventurer of the Year” and a Fellow National of the prestigious Explorers Club.
Dr. Lin is an avid rock climber, surfer, mountaineer, photographer, sailor, and traveler. His Chinese name (Yu-Min) roughly translates to “Citizen of the Universe”.
Watch Diana’s talk here »
Science Leadership Academy
A farm kid from Wisconsin, Diana Laufenberg set out for Kansas 11 years ago and then onto Arizona 8 years ago. She has taught all grade levels from 7-12 in Social Studies. Laufenberg’s latest adventure finds her at the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia. SLA is an inquiry-driven, project-based high school focused on 21st century learning.
SLA is an inquiry-driven, project-based high school focused on 21st century learning that opened its doors on September 7, 2006. SLA provides a rigorous, college-preparatory curriculum with a focus on science, technology, mathematics and entrepreneurship. Students at SLA learn in a project-based environment where the core values of inquiry, research, collaboration, presentation and reflection are emphasized in all classes.
Watch Tim’s talk here »
Tim McDonald is the founder of Onion Flats, a Philadelphia developer whose mission it has been since 1997 to: extend the imagination of the architect beyond the drawing board and into the building process; educate the public about the collaborative role of the architect in not only the making of buildings but of culture and meaning in contemporary society; and to empower a younger generation.
As a ‘critique’ of contemporary architectural and building theory and practice, Onion Flats’ mission has, since 1997, been fourfold:
1. To extend the imagination of the architect beyond the drawing board and into the building process.
2. To educate the public about the collaborative role of the architect in not only the making of buildings but of culture and meaning in contemporary society.
3. To reestablish a space of dialogue and respect between members of the architectural and building communities.
4. to empower a younger generation of architects, builders and craftsmen to continue to dream.
In addition to Onion Flats (the developer), Tim also has a hand in two additional organizations: Plumbob (the architect) and JIG (the builder). While the three companies are distinct, the intention of the development/design/build collective is to seamlessly integrate the process by which ideas about architecture, the city, and sustainable development go from construing to constructing to co-habitating.
Watch Storm’s talk here »
Storm might be the only revitalization facilitator who addresses all aspects of renewal; natural and cultural resources, urban and rural communities, industrialized and lesser-developed countries, etc. Storm Cunningham is the author of 2002’s The Restoration Economy, which has been hailed by government and business leaders around the world. His second book, reWealth (McGraw-Hill) was published in 2008.
His second book, reWealth, was published by McGraw-Hill in 2008. The Foreword was written by legendary 4-term Indianapolis mayor Bill Hudnut, now a Senior Resident Fellow at the Urban Land Institute. Bill Leary, former Director of Natural Resources, White House Council on Environmental Quality, says of reWealth: “This is the book world leaders should be talking about! In reWealth they will find the path to revitalizing our economy, restoring our environment, and renewing the quality of our lives.”
Storm also writes chapters for the books of other authors, most recently Project Management Circa 2025 on the future of the project management profession, and Restorative Redevelopment of Devastated Ecocultural Landscapes.
Storm might be the only revitalization facilitator who addresses all aspects of renewal; natural and cultural resources, urban and rural communities, industrialized and lesser-developed countries, etc. On any given day, he might be working with educators, fishery biologists, city planners, agronomists, watershed managers, transportation engineers, environmentalists, economic development organizations, real estate developers, GIS software firms, project managers, mayors, ecosystem restorers, brownfields experts, historic preservationists, or catastrophe recovery agencies.
Storm Cunningham was—from 1996 to 2002—Director, Strategic Initiatives at the Construction Specifications Institute, a 50+ year-old association of 18,000 architects, engineers, contractors, and manufacturers. They provide training and certification for construction specifiers and document specialists, and their formats are the standard for quality commercial construction in the U.S., Canada, and several other countries. During this time, he was CSI’s staff liaison to the U.S. Green Building Council.
Watch Christoph’s talk here »
Christoph Gielen was born in Bonn, Germany, but has lived in New York most of his life. He specializes in conducting photographic aerial studies of infrastructure in its relation to land use, exploring the intersection of art and environmental politics. With his work, Gielen hopes to trigger a reevaluation of our built environment, to ask: What kind of development can be considered sustainable?
Gielen’s photographs have been exhibited in Europe and in the United States, and his pictures are part of international collections. Excerpts of Gielen’s work have appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Metropolis Magazine, Cabinet, Lapham’s Quarterly and Adbusters.
Building on his previous inquiry into sprawl, Christoph Gielen’s forthcoming 2010 work includes a high-definition video project made in collaboration with aerial cinematographer Michael Kelem (Planet Earth, BBC, 2006), which will be exhibited as an experimental audio and video installation about motion and water.
Watch Roshini’s talk here »
Women at the Forefront
Roshini Thinakaran is the founder of Women at the Forefront, a multimedia project that documents the challenges faced by women living in conflict zones. Thinakaran is a TED Global Fellow (2010) and National Geographic Society Emerging Explorer. She is recognized as an innovator for her groundbreaking work, including the short film Liberia: Women and War and most recently What Was Promised, a feature length documentary about the US-led initiative to integrate women into the Iraqi security forces. Her research and digital images will be featured in a National Geographic School Publishing book to be distributed to all public schools across the United States.
Thinakaran has spoken about her experiences documenting the lives of women in conflict zones at TED Global 2010, TEDx Potomac (2010), National Geospatial Agency, World Affairs Council, Women in International Security, National Geographic Society Explorers Symposium and the Empowerment of African Women Conference.
In 2010, Women at the Forefront will partner with Dickinson University and Sri Lankan-based Point Pedro to launch the first phase of a scholarship program to support education opportunities for women living in crisis zones.
Thinakaran has worked in Iraq, Afghanistan, Liberia, Lebanon, Dubai, and Sri Lanka providing media consulting services to government agencies including the US Department of Defense, the Sri Lankan Ministry of Tourism and global non-profit organizations.
Watch Cesar’s talk here »
Cesar Harada is the coordinator of Open_Sailing, the open-source group developing the International Ocean Station. Currently developing “Protei”, an Open Hardware Oil Spill cleaning device in the Gulf of Mexico, former researcher and project leader at MIT SENSEable City Lab in Boston USA, he graduated from Design Interactions, Royal College of Art, London. In 2006 he completed the animation course at ENSAD Paris, studied graphic design at Central Saint Martins London, industrial design at the ENSCI, building a trimaran on which he travelled.
Watch Otis’ talk here »
Otis Rolley is a Senior Manager at Urban Policy Development (UPD), a minority owned national public sector management consultant firm based in Baltimore. Before joining UPD, Rolley was the founding President and CEO of the Central Maryland Transportation Alliance (CMTA), a coalition of area business and nonprofit leaders advocating for improved public transportation funding and services.
Though only 36, Rolley has extensive public sector experience. Prior to CMTA, Rolley was the Chief of Staff for the 48th Mayor of Baltimore. He also served as Director of the Baltimore City Department of Planning, the First Deputy Housing Commissioner and the Assistant Commissioner of Operations for the Department of Housing and Community Development under the 47th Mayor of Baltimore.
Rolley graduated with honors from Rutgers College with a B.A. in Political Science and Africana Studies. He is the recipient of the prestigious Woodrow Wilson Fellowship. He utilized his fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he earned his Masters in City Planning, with a concentration in housing, community economic development. Rolley serves on several boards including ULI Baltimore, KIPP Baltimore, and Open Society Institute – Baltimore.
Rolley lives in northwest Baltimore City and is married with three children.
Watch Bill’s talk here »
Bill James is the founder of JPods, with a mission to supply safe, congestion-free, comfortable, convenient, energy efficient, on-demand personal mobility and cargo transport in highly repetitive travel of less than 50 miles. A JPod is a small, efficient, safe, computer driven vehicle for transporting people and cargo. A JPod runs suspended from an overhead rail.
Watch Sam’s talk here »
Design Ignites Change
Sam Shelton is a designer, educator, and business strategist. He is a founding partner of KINETIK, a design firm in Washington, DC. Since 1988, Sam’s strong belief in the power of design as a strategic force for good has steered KINETIK’s path in a changing world. His passion shows in the projects he directs as well as his commitment to design education and AIGA, the professional association for design.
Sam is an adjunct faculty member at the Corcoran Museum College of Art and Design, a former adjunct faculty member at The American University, and a former member of the design curriculum advisory committee for Communication Design at the Alexandria campus of the Northern Virginia Community College. He has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communication Arts and Design from Virginia Commonwealth University. In 2006, Sam was presented with the AIGA Fellow award, recognizing his significant contributions to the design community.
In a career spanning more than twenty years at PBS NewsHour, Jeffrey Brown has served in a variety of roles, both on and off camera. As senior correspondent, he’s conducted studio discussions and reported from the field on a wide array of domestic and international stories. His work as correspondent and producer has garnered an Emmy, five Cine Golden Eagle Awards, and other honors.
As arts correspondent, he’s profiled and interviewed many of the world’s leading writers, musicians and other artists. As senior producer for national affairs for more than a decade, he helped shape the program’s coverage of a range of areas, including the economy, healthcare, social policy, culture and the arts. In addition, he is the creator and host of “Art Beat”, the NewsHour’s online arts and culture blog. His work as correspondent and producer has garnered an Emmy, five Cine Golden Eagle Awards, and other honors.
Prior to joining The NewsHour, Brown helped produce numerous public television series for Media & Society Seminars, an independent production company headed by Fred W. Friendly. He attended UC Berkeley (B.A., Classics), the UC Berkeley School of Law, and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism (M.S.).
Brown is married to Paula Crawford, an artist and professor at George Mason University. They have two children.