Every innovator, regardless of industry or size, experiences “growing pains” from time to time. Thankfully the innovation doctors are in! On Thursday night August 10th, I had the pleasure of attending a Chicago Innovation Awards event where PhDs of business and innovation “diagnosed” the underlying “ailments” of Chicago Innovation Award winners and “prescribed business cures.” Each startup presented a current challenge and the panel of distinguished professors provided insights regarding solutions for the entrepreneurs.
The event was held at mHUB Chicago which exists to ensure that Chicago and our Heartland’s manufacturing industry continues to accelerate, grow and thrive. It is Chicago’s first innovation center focused on physical product development and manufacturing. The manufacturing industry has always been at the heart of Chicago’s innovation efforts. It is an industry where smart, hard-working people come together to use machines, tools and human labor to transform raw materials into brilliant and useful new products. It also is an industry of people who know what it means to have the grit, discipline and work ethic to roll up their sleeves and do the heavy lifting.
mHUB began after World Business Chicago convened an advisory council of manufacturing leaders to further Mayor Emanuel’s Regional Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs. The council was tasked with charting a course toward the next great era of Chicagoland manufacturing. The group determined that a manufacturing incubator would be a critical component to maintaining Chicago’s leadership in product innovation and manufacturing. The council selected Catalyze Chicago to serve as a partner for mHUB in its mission to create a vibrant, inventive community that would create breakthrough products and boost the local economy. Catalyze was chosen based on its track record as a successful product development incubator.
mHUB fosters connections between local manufacturers, university researchers and the city’s entrepreneurial community of makers and technologists, not to mention investors who are eager to support new businesses. By galvanizing these connections, mHUB ensures that the Midwest region’s manufacturing industry continues to grow, lead, and reduce the cost and barriers to entry for physical product innovation.
“Innovation Doctor” Bios
Mohan Sawhney is a globally recognized scholar, teacher, consultant and speaker in business innovation, technology marketing and new media. He has written six books as well as dozens of influential articles in leading academic journals, and has won several awards for his research and teaching. Named among the 50 most influential thinkers of Indian origin in 2012, Prof. Sawhney is a Fellow of the World Economic Forum, a Fellow of the Institute for Study of Business Markets (ISBM) at Penn State University and a member of the advisory board of the Chicago Innovation Awards.
Dr. Terri Lonier is Dean of the Career and Professional Experience (CAPX) office at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). Prior to joining SAIC in July 2015, Lonier served as Executive Director of DePaul University’s Coleman Entrepreneurship Center, a hub for students and alumni seeking advice and inspiration on how to start and grow their own entrepreneurial ventures. She brought entrepreneurship to many parts of the DePaul campus, and built vibrant partnerships with members of the Chicago entrepreneurial community. A pioneer in the solopreneur movement and a nationally recognized authority on microbusiness, Lonier is the author of five books, numerous articles, and three audio programs.
James Conley serves on the faculty of both the Kellogg School of Management and the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern University. He is a faculty contributor in the Kellogg Center for Research in Technology & Innovation and serves as a Faculty Fellow at the Segal Design Institute. His research investigates the strategic use of intangible assets and intellectual properties to build and sustain competitive advantage.
Krishna Erramilli is the Director of Graduate Business Programs, Associate Dean, and Professor of Marketing at IIT Stuart School of Business. Before that, he was a faculty member and Associate Dean in the Nanyang Business School, Singapore—one of the largest business schools in Asia—where he helped develop and launch the Berkeley-Nanyang Advanced Management Program and the Nanyang Executive M.B.A. Dr. Erramilli’s doctoral work represented a pioneering analysis of the globalization of service firms and was cited extensively in some of the world’s leading journals. He is an active consultant and has served as the Chairman for the Academy of International Business-United States Southwest.
“Innovation Patients” Bios
Edovo is a mission-driven provider of education, rehabilitation and communication technology to incarcerated individuals. We offer a secure, online program to expand access to meaningful, cost-free learning options for more than 2.2 million people behind bars. Our platform is built for correctional use and is loaded with content specifically designed for people involved in the justice system. Edovo exists to fill the gap in programs behind bars and build pathways for people affected by incarceration to lead safe, enriching lives.
Proxfinity is a first-of-its-kind technology platform that eliminates inefficiencies in the corporate engagement and meeting industry by dynamically changing how professionals connect in-person. Proxfinity started with a mission of enhancing social interactions and fundamentally changing the way people use technology to connect. We created a technology that emphasizes in-person connections, enhances face-to-face communications, and gets people talking again. Our platform of wearables advance our mission by visually connecting people based on proximity and affinity, and also captures, tracks and analyzes data that improve business operations and provide actionable business intelligence.
The Modobag is a revolutionary piece of motorized carry-on luggage. With over 1600 cubic inches of packing space, the Modobag can accommodate riders up to 260 lbs. The bag can travel up to 8 miles on a single charge with an indoor speed of 5mph and an outdoor speed of 8mph. Modobag has 2 USB ports for charging electronic devices and optional GPRS/GSM tracking to eliminate lost luggage. Our Nano-Safe batteries charge to 80% in 15 minutes and have passed the TSA, FAA, UN and IATA test requirements for safe air travel.
The Mom Project is a pioneering digital platform that is changing the way women work and redefining career structures by providing women with real work opportunities that are in balance with their personal goals. This evolution will keep more talented, professionally accomplished women and mothers in the workforce. Using a unique matching approach, The Mom Project platform supports work ranging from clearly scoped projects to permanent roles. The positions are developed directly with companies and are a precise match for individual experience, skill sets, flexibility, and professional goals. Becoming a member of the talent community is free of charge and there are zero fees for companies until a successful match is made. Headquartered in Chicago, IL, The Mom Project has a community of 10,000+ highly skilled women and men and is actively serving 150+ companies focused on recruiting and retaining diverse talent.