The “INSPIRING MINDS” podcast 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.

Like these episodes? Subscribe today on iTunes or SoundCloud.


It is no mystery where new products come from… it’s hard work! | Episode 17

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Dan Harden, CEO and Founder, Whipsaw

The first two time guest of the Inspiring Minds podcast, CEO of Whipsaw Design, Dan Harden joins Justin Starbird again to talk more about device and product design. When Dan was on last time, he and Justin talked in depth and detail about product design, how design companies go about working with clients, and how they create expectations about projects. On this episode, Dan dives deeper into how projects move through the process from concepts, to design, and then into commercialized products.

It is an important topic at the Edison Awards, because we have been fortunate to recognize some really amazing projects that followed this exact process.

As Dan points out, “it’s a mystery, or maybe customers don’t even think about where products come from. You go to the store and you see these things and you’re like, Oh, it just exists. There are countless hours, weeks, and even years that go into the development of a lot of products out there, especially the more innovative ones that requires a lot of R&D, a lot of development, a lot of brainpower to pull it off. Process is everything. Process is key to innovation. You’ve got to have a sound process to get you there. Every project is different.”

Dan has no secrets to success. Whipsaw has worked hard to bring many every day products to life in a way that help create an impact, improve our lives, and make the public more healthy.

Listen to Dan and Justin on today’s episode of Inspiring Minds!

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Your Science Matters with David Rideout of Olympus | Episode 16

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Olympus, the large, global med-tech company, is celebrating being over 100 years old and still being recognized for innovation. With excellent objectives, planning, and strategy, Olympus has really broke barriers down in what many consider a ‘stayed technology’ in optics. With their Edison Award Win for X Line Objectives with ultra-thin convex and concave lenses they’ve taken it to a whole new level and are excited to be recognized for the hard work.

Olympus has developed a proprietary lens polishing technology to manufacture X Line Objectives with ultra-thin convex and concave lenses. The X Line Objectives break optical barriers and improve optical performance such as numerical aperture, image flatness, and chromatic correction.

David Rideout, Executive Director of Marketing for Life Science for Olympus Corporation of the Americas, joined Host Justin Starbird and explained that, “our focus is on clinicians, researchers, and pharmaceutical companies. That means that we’re bringing solutions that we pull for clinicians, we’re going to speed up diagnosis and accuracy of diagnosis, which we have researchers with new tools to deepen our understanding of the human body, and diseases that impact it, and help pharmaceutical companies bring new therapies to market faster. Obviously, all three of these have never been more important as we all weather this new storm in our lives.”

As the world has changed around us, Olympus has been set for long-term success because of a shift in mindset that occurred a few years ago with the mantra “Your Science Matters.” As David explains, “Everything we do is with that Your Science Matters mindset. “Working with people who are trying to cure Alzheimer’s, cure cancer and now, find a cure for COVID-19, for Olympus, it’s just natural to do everything we could to make sure the worker, our customers, and our users are doing continues as best as it can in this kind of time.”

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25 Million Asthma Sufferers In The United States Need To Listen To This Interview | Episode 14

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There are over 25 million asthma sufferers and over 80 million allergy sufferers in the United States alone. This creates a large group of people that are all hyper-aware of the air they breathe. Although they may not refer to the air they breath in the technical terms that the air purification industry speaks about, these people do talk about mold and bacteria. It is a very important topic. Today, air quality and airborne illness, Covid-19, are at the forefront of people’s mind.

Jaya Rao, CEO and Co-Founder of Molekule, joins host Justin Starbird for the latest episode of Inspiring Minds to talk about what led to the founding of such a game changing company.

Jaya’s brother is a life long allergy and asthma sufferer and “He lived it and so we knew he was feeling it (the poor air quality) and a whole bunch of other people were feeling the pain of breathing dirty air, and that we could meet them there and talk about how we’re different.” Jaya’s father had developed a technology that could purify the air right in your home instead of through an HVAC system in the ducts of your home.

The next challenge was, “Okay, you’ve had filtration for years. Here’s something new. Would you want to try it?”

“A lot of times aesthetically, people end up using it (the product) and then throwing it on the side of the road because they’re done with it and throwing it into the trash. We wanted this (the Molekule Air) to be an object that really felt compelling to you, that you felt like it belongs in your home, it belongs as a centerpiece in your home because it’s doing something important. It’s cleaning your air.”

I think the biggest step was trying to come up with something fundamentally different in the way it looked, and then getting that manufactured and finding partners. We took it one step at a time but now as I look back at it, I just think, “I don’t know how we did it with, at that time, a really small team.” I think it was just we were naive maybe to the challenges ahead and we just kept going. Ultimately got the product out, which at the time, a lot of Silicon Valley hardware companies were not able to do. That was really just a big moment to finally arrive at.

Today, Molekule is a multi-Edison Award Winning Company and forever part of the Edison Awards amazing community. Listen to the full interview with Justin and Jaya now!

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Fall in love with the innovation, the simplicity of what it is, and will be | Episode 13

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On this episode of Inspiring Minds, host Justin Starbird welcomes good friend of the Edison Awards, serial entrepreneur, part owner, developer, and all-around awesome guy, Ryan Fogelman. Ryan, the CEO of Conversion Development is leading Gold Edison Award Winner Fire Rover, CO-hatch and former Edison Award Winner Re-Grip.

Listen to Ryan talk about how he has over come obstacle after obstacle to find success.

He says it best in this expert, “I’ve typically not had deep pockets in anything that I’ve worked on. I’ve never been one where a company like Accenture would say, “Okay, why don’t you become part of my research and development team and help us figure out what the next product market would be.” What I do is I’d like to work from the ground up. I’d like to work with inventors. I’d like to understand. I’m curious. I think that’s where the Re-Grip.

I fell in love with the innovation, in the simplicity of what the invention was. With Fire Rover, the same thing. It’s a very complex product and I work with the inventors and it was one of my really good friends who actually had the idea for the company and he did the first year of building prototypes and then I got involved.

Again, when I get involved, I think it’s the next level. You have the inventor who creates that product. Then I look for products. Number one that I think are going to make it because nobody wants to waste their time. I don’t want to say I refuse to fail. I’d like to think that I refuse to fail. Of course, I fail, but at the same time, it’s always going to be a calculated risk on the projects that I want to work on.

Then there are the surprises. You work on a passion project, like CO-hatch that actually now has a mind of its own and a life of itself. I think I’m always looking for innovation. I’m looking for things that excite me. Then, from my perspective, when I get involved, it’s, “Okay, what’s the best way and channels to start to drive awareness.” Then from that perspective, it’s, “Okay, now, we get awareness, let’s prove the product works, and then let’s try to go out and actually get real sales.”

You get real sales, it turns into a real business. There are some great ideas out there and there’s a lot of very naive inventors and I say that with the most respect. Inventors should be naive. They should stay naive. They should believe that the world is simple and that they can create a product because what’s made the US and what’s made the American way it’s our innovation.

It’s looking at a problem and trying to find something new, which is why I love the Edison Awards. Because when you go there, there are all of these different products of people who’ve created something or a different mousetrap or something. That’s huge. Now, bringing it to market is different.

Sometimes I feel like I crush the inventor’s dreams when I’m like, “Create your product. Get your patent, be done.” Then bring someone in like myself or a group that licensed it to a company that has the money and the deep pockets that can really bring it to market. Again, as we all know what the internal combustion engine, it’s not the most efficient product that’s out there.

My great grandfather used to say, “It was the biggest forest that was sold to all of us as Americans.” At the end of the day, that product made it because of the deep pocket. We would have had electric cars 50 years ago if it was for what the best and most innovative products are. There’s always the reality of business. I think that’s the hard part for people to understand.”

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We’re living in a (HP) 3D Printed World | Episode 12

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3D printing, or digital manufacturing as it is also known, is a very complicated subject. To get to an end product, it involves lots of different types of scientific backgrounds. Companies that are successful commercializing 3D printing have been able to build a team that is capable of speaking all kinds of different scientific languages that are pushing for the same goal. That end goal being to deliver great technology that people can use, can design with, can build and iterate with, and that helps create products or projects on time.

HP has been investing in 3D printing and because of their history, have the supply chain set-up for and can deliver game changing technology that is resetting the market. Lihua Zhao, the Global Head of 3D Printing Lab at HP Labs and an HP Distinguished Technologist, joined Justin Starbird for the latest episode of Inspiring Minds to talk about the future of 3D printing.

Lihua shared that, “We have been developing our technology for quite a few years. One of the big things you may know is HP has a strong position in delivering fluids. We have a lot of engineering know-hows to build a printing-like technology. (We have worked hard to) leverage a lot of the existing assets and to assess the world’s needs. This combination of developing and delivering our technology for plastic additive manufacturing, as well as for metal, has led to producing goods in a different fashion.”

HP created the technology, called Multi Jet Fusion, to meet the demands of printing for plastic. This type of powder-based system has been integral to being able run around the clock so that there are no time limits for manufacturing and new parts, materials and objects are delivered on time.

“We’re living in a 3D printing world. How do you start with zeros and ones and end up with a physical thing? At HP we fuse this physical with the digital together to bring that experience and that performance to create new technology.”

Of course, at the end of day, 3D Printing is a physical tool. Performance of the materials, performance engineering – at a pixel level, precision performance, the ability to preform multifunction, multi-properties, and multi-materials in print is what is driving innovation. HP is standing firmly at the head of the class.

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