The “INSPIRING MINDS” podcast, hosted by Justin Starbird and presented by The Edison Awards delves in to experiences of innovators & pioneers that are changing the world around us.

Take notes as they share with Justin how they navigated through research, development, and in true Thomas Edison fashion, marketed and sold their new found innovations.

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Powering Motion and leading by example during challenging times with Steve Ingel | Episode 9

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EVP of Healthcare Solutions at DJO Global, Steve Ingel, joins Justin Starbird to talk about working to continue to innovate and meet customer demands in an ever changing world.

DJO, the 7th Largest Orthopedic company in the world, is a leading global provider of medical technologies designed to get and keep people moving. The Company’s products and software solutions address patient care from injury prevention to rehabilitation after surgery, injury or from degenerative disease, enabling people to regain or maintain their natural motion.

The DJO software platform, MotionMD, recently won a Gold Edison Award for its web based, integrated solution, with Internal development teams. Steve shares how “we test new features and modules on our own business (insource/outsource), and then also pilot with direct Customers for Voice of Customer and work closely with industry leaders and Industry groups and associations. Recently we reached 3 Million Patient Agreements, have well over 2,500 locations across the US and now Canada using our software, 25k providers, and integrated with 47 EMR vendors. We did a very rapid pivot to tele-health to support Customers with unique software features, and we continue to add more features to our platform to meet evolving Customer and Industry needs.”

Listen as Steve explains how… “nobody else in the industry is as uniquely positioned as DJO to deliver on the continuum of care promise. Nevertheless, we continue to focus on the innovation gap, on solving real Customer and market needs, provide even greater value, while also leveraging our strengths. My goal is to constantly challenge my teams to widen our competitive advantage.”

Steve and DJO are a great example of how to lead and continue to innovate as the world changes all around us.

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Leading during a pandemic with Dan Harden of Whipsaw | Episode 8

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Dan Harden, CEO and Founder, Whipsaw

Dan Harden, CEO and Founder of Whipsaw joins Justin Starbird today to discuss leading a company through adversity. Dan and his team are a group of true pioneers and innovators in the product design space.

Dan shares that, “We bring that attitude to our clients, that optimistic like good old fashioned American, “let’s roll up our sleeves and solve this problem” attitude lives in those companies so strongly that it’s benefited us during this pandemic. Our clients feel that they’re really grateful to us for sticking with them and helping them through this difficult time.”

Listen as Dan talks about how his team works explaining that it’s really just about the celebration and the joy of creative problem solving.” Everything that we do stems from this belief and this purpose, that the world can be a better place. If you think openly and creatively, we live and breathe innovation. It is our way of expressing ourselves. It feels natural.

If you are not familiar with Whipsaw, they have had a lot of big hits ranging, from Google Chromecast, Nike FuelBand many products for Brita, Dell products. The list goes on and on. They’ve helped clients produce and ship well over a thousand products since Dan founded the company back in 1999.

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Industrial Technology Research Institute takes home TWO Edison Awards | Episode 7

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Dr. Lin
Dr. Lin, Research Director of Materials Research and Development, ITRI

Industrial Technology Research Institute is located in the northern part of Taiwan, Hsinchu, won two Edison Awards for 2020 for their contributions to innovation.

In the first of their two wins, ITRI took the Edison Award Gold in the Adhesives category for their product Celluad, a product developed in part by Dr. Lin, Research Director of Materials Research and Development at the company. Dr. Lin joined Justin Starbird and explained how Celluad was created using cellulose, an organic material found in plant cell walls, this adhesive is low-cost, strong, water-resistant, and environmentally friendly.

Compatible with existing manufacturing processes, Celluad provides excellent adhesion when applied to plywood, flooring, and lumber core board. Most importantly, ITRI’s adhesive is completely free of formaldehyde, a carcinogenic chemical found in the resin used to construct most artificial wooden boards. In this way, ITRI offers an adhesive solution that is effective and affordable as well as healthier for manufacturers, consumers, and the environment.

Dr. Chen
Dr. Chen, Director, ITRI

The second award ITRI received this year was bronze in Cellular Research for iKNOBEADS, the world’s first and only biomimetic magnetic beads capable of fighting cancer by stimulating, expanding, and strengthening T cells through imitation of the immune system. Dr. Chen also joined Justin and worked directly on their development, explains that the knobby shape which gives iKNOBEADS their name and makes them so effective was the result of a happy accident that occurred while experimenting with different bead sizes when it was found that the addition of texture to the beads increased expansion rate. Because of this, iKNOBEADS not only fight cancer but do so with an incubation period reduced by three to four days, reducing opportunities for contamination and saving money.

Listen as Dr. Lin and Dr. Chen talk through innovation, commercialization and what winning an Edison Award has meant for ITRI.

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Nano Material Focus with Global Commercial Success | Episode 6

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Jenny Yiu
Jenny Yiu, Director of Operations, Nano and Advanced Materials Institute

Jenny Yiu, Director of Operations at Nano and Advanced Materials Institute ( in Hong Kong, joins Justin Starbird to talk about how NAMI achieves technological advancements and commercialization of technologies that are developed within their organization. NAMI focuses their research and development on five market sectors which have the highest potential; construction, electronics, energy, environmental, and healthcare. As of this posting, NAMI has already commercialized over 20 products that have launched to the market in 2020.

Jenny shares that “… We (at NAMI) believe in this miniature (nano) world of materials because our focus is on the materials. Materials can take on distinctive chemical, electrical, magnetic, mechanical, optical, and other properties. When working at the nano-size, our researchers are able to exploit these properties and we leverage our cutting-edge equipment, laboratory and infrastructure to create solutions that will have commercial success.”

Listen as Jenny and Justin discuss the business model, the types or relationships that are successful, and insights on what can work to help you commercialize your next project.

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Read more about Nano and Advanced Materials Institute in our blog post: Perspectives in Innovation: Nano and Advanced Materials Institute

Hardcore technology is now driving the beauty industry with Wayne Liu of Perfect Corp | Episode 5

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Wayne Liu, SVP of Perfect Corp.

Wayne Liu, SVP of Perfect Corp, joins Justin Starbird to discuss how a hardcore technology company applies their innovation to the beauty industry.

Yes, to their roots, Perfect Corp incorporates R&D, engineering and innovation to all of their projects. According to Wayne, “…More than two-thirds of our employees are really technically driven. However, it’s not only technology. The spirit of the Edison Awards is really how to apply the technology into the real world and commercialize it, and then create benefit for the majority of the people. That’s really something we are looking at. We use our technology to create a product, and then we find a place where it can be useful and can benefit all the people. Then we commercialize, and get the business successes.”

That business model is confirmed by winning the Edison Award. Wayne adds that, “we recognize that we are having an impact on the market which we are choosing, which is the beauty industry. We are really mainstream now.”

Listen as Wayne shares how Perfect Corp is getting set to celebrate their first 5 years!

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Read more about Perfect Corp in our blog post: Technology in Beauty: Marrying Innovation and Commercialization

The Sanitizing Solution That Could “Re-Open The World!” – an innovation that is making a difference | Episode 4

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Chris Vazzana
Chris Vazzana, President/CEO, Hydra-Stop

This is the Sanitizing Solution that could “Re-open the World!” Chris Vazzana talks about and the journey to a whole new product line with Host Justin Starbird.

In true Edison fashion, Chris and his team asked themselves if, “… there is a way that we could take some of our existing core technology and change it up so that it can be consumer-ready?”

On this Inspiring Minds Podcast, one exciting piece we learn from Chris is how he and his team went over to their Director of R&D’s house (because of the Covid-19 quarantine) and they sketched out and developed an entirely new product with a couple of other folks and a couple of our key engineers here. They said, “We can take the core technology that we have, change some orifices and pressures and inlets and outlets, make it simpler and make it consumer-ready and be able to put a sanitizing and disinfecting solution into the apparatus and allow for the mixing and the ratio mixing to occur.”

Incredibly, the team was able to take 25 years of experience in technology and existing products and reconfigure it all to be in a new application that could help us open up society, help us open up the world!

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Companies are Vehicles for Change in the World with Ryan Morris | Episode 3

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Ryan Morris
Ryan Morris, Executive Chairman of Software Motor Company

Ryan Morris, Executive Chairman of Software Motor Company, has always viewed business and companies as vehicles for solving important problems in the world. He shares and explains the SMC mission is to transform all motors in the world to be optimally efficient systems.

Software Motor Company, a 2020 Edison Award WINNER, is poised to disrupt an industry that relies on patents over 100 years old. As the leader of SMC, Ryan shares how his quest started at a very young age and continues to evolve as the company keeps breaking down barriers. Listen as Justin and Ryan discuss innovation, best practices, and true leadership during the most challenging of times.

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People, Culture, and Vision: Ken Gray on Innovation | Episode 2

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Ken Gray
Ken Gray, Former Global Director of Innovation, Caterpillar, Inc.

Ken Gray, Edison Awards Steering Committee member and former Global Director of Innovation at Caterpillar Inc., joins host Justin Starbird. Today they discuss Ken’s unique and insightful perspective on the elements companies should consider while focusing on innovation.

Justin & Ken go back nearly 10 years and their friendship started at the Edison Awards in Chicago in 2012 when Ken and his team at CAT disrupted an entire industry by launch the Hybrid Excavator and won GOLD that year. Ken also explores how the size of an organization redefines the appropriate approach to innovation, informed by an extensive career working with companies from large corporations to nonprofits and startups.

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History of the Edison Awards – Inspiration for Innovation with guest Frank Bonafilia | Episode 1

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Frank Bonafilia
Frank Bonafilia, Executive Director, Edison Awards

Listen today as Justin talks with Edison Awards Executive Director, Frank Bonafilia about how the Edison Awards got its start, who was first recognized and what makes him so committed to innovation.

The Edison Awards is one of the few global platforms that really recognizes, honors, and fosters innovation innovators. Frank shares how, “it’s really the teams that we’re looking to recognize and honor. We’re doing this in the name of Thomas Edison, who we see as one of the greatest innovators of all time.”

Frank continues to be amazed how someone like Thomas Edison who’s been passed away over 100 years ago is still revered, and is the icon of innovation around the world. The world has come a long way from the recognition of a calling card compared to putting someone in space or making people’s lives secure.

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