May 2, 2011
Stevens Institute of Technology hosted its annual Research and Entrepreneurship Day April 29 with a two-part conference that explored business model innovation in a rapidly-shifting world. The day kicked off with the Business Model Innovation Conference, a series of talks by business leaders that addressed the imperatives of business model innovation. Events continued with the Stevens Start-up Venture Forum, which featured the best and brightest of Stevens start-up companies and student business concepts.
"Stevens is very fortunate to have brought all of these people together in one room," said Dr. Peter Koen, founder of the Stevens start-up company ID8 Systems. "These are the top leaders of innovation in business today."
Presentations opened with a keynote address by one of the world's leading experts on strategy and innovation, Dr. Vijay Govindarajan. In his talk, Dr. Govindarajan discussed ideas for reinventing business models and executing breakthrough strategies to address new clients. Businesses, he argued, need to prepare not only for disruptive technologies, but also disruptive markets and business models brought on by a volatile mix of globalization, increased technology production, and the power of the Internet.
Mark W. Johnson, chairman of the strategic innovation consulting and investing company Innosight, followed with a keynote title, "Business Model Innovation for Transformation Growth." Based on his book, Seizing the White Space, the talk identified the four fundamental building blocks that make business models work, and addressed how companies are using innovative business models to grow companies and fulfill unmet customer needs.
A panel discussion followed, comprised of George Glackin, leader of Innovation Ventures at Procter and Gamble; Bruce D. Kirk, who is responsible for advancing Innovative Effectiveness at Corning Incorporated; and Stephen J. Socolof, Managing Partner of New Venture Partners. Dr. Peter Koen, whose company ID8 Systems provides a software solution for ideation in large companies and universities, moderated. After describing the ways in which innovation is possible even in large companies, the panel fielded questions from the audience related to innovating in businesses today.
The Stevens Start-Up Venture Forum comprised the afternoon session, with presentations by Stevens start-up companies that specialize in a wide array of technologies, ranging from a device that generates power from ocean waves, to a mobile mapping system, to an suite of algorithms and applications that detect deception on the Internet. These companies were created through the Stevens Entrepreneur and Enterprise Development program, in which students from the Schaefer School of Engineering and Science and Howe School of Technology Management work under the direction of a professional CEO and faculty advisor to take University-created technology through the startup phase into commercialization.
"Stevens is fundamentally changing the University business model towards research and entrepreneurship," said Malcolm Kahn, Stevens Vice President of Enterprise Development and Licensing. "We create value not just by spinning off technology businesses, but by creating the next generation of innovators."
Companies presenting included Attila Technologies, CADeyes, ID8 Systems, InStream Media, Spider Radio, Seahorse Power, SPADES, and Plasmionix.
The Student Elevator Pitch Competition capped off the event with two-minute presentations from Senior Design team representatives. A panel of four venture capitalists expertly judged the pitches and gave the students scores and feedback based on quality of presentation and fundability of the proposed enterprise. Heated competition resulted in a first-place tie between teams Slingshot and ID8. Honesty Labs took third, just one point behind the winning teams.
Team Slingshot developed a novel device to aid surgeons in cutting through bone and bone substitutes in order to remove knee implants. The ID8 team proved the efficacy of ID8 Systems ideation software in a University environment. The Honesty Labs team developed a business plan and conducted market research for a suite of deception detection technologies.
Stevens incoming president Dr. Nariman Farvardin spoke about the substantial contributions that the science and technology workforce has made to the American economy and standard of living since World War II, and the necessity of educating scientists and engineers in an increasingly technology-centered climate. "In order to continue to out-perform the world, we must continue to out-innovate the world. That starts with a science and engineering education."