February 2011

Carlos Varela

Carlos Varela is Associate Professor and Director of Innovation and Development at the Engineering School in Universidad del Desarrollo (UDD), Chile. He has previously been Project Director at the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the same university, which in 2009 received a Templeton Freedom Award for its contribution to entrepreneurial education. He is also member of the Project Committee at UDD Ventures and has been Academic Director of several executive education programs in the topic of innovation. He is currently Executive Director of the i3 Project, which is a multi-school effort to develop innovation capabilities in UDD students from a inter-disciplinary perspective.

Patrick Walsh

Patrick Walsh founded Greenlight Planet while at the University of Illinois, where he studied engineering physics and economics and graduated in 2007. As a student volunteer with Engineers Without Borders, he spent a summer in a rural Indian village building an experimental electricity generator. He realized that 1.5 billion kerosene lamps were still in use around the world, and decided that villagers needed an affordable way to light their homes without the need for charitable donations. He founded Greenlight Planet, Inc., to commercialize and distribute a direct replacement technology with numerous benefits: affordable solar-powered LED lanterns that villagers now buy to light their own homes, with no outside assistance required. He has become a recognized mass-affordability product designer, garnering notable awards from Lemelson-MIT, UNESCO, and the Lighting Africa program.

Saras Sarasvathy

Saras D. Sarasvathy is Isadore Horween Research Associate Professor at University of Virginia's Darden Business School. A leading scholar on the cognitive basis for high-performance entrepreneurship, Saras serves as advisor to education and doctoral programs in Europe and Asia. Her scholarly work has won several awards, including the Newman Award from the Academy of Management, the Gerald E. Hills Award from the American Marketing Association, and her book Effectuation: Elements of Entrepreneurial Expertise was nominated for the Terry Book Award.

Effectuation is widely acclaimed as a rigorous framework for understanding the creation and growth of new ventures by scholars from around the world whose published and working papers can be found at www.effectuation.org. The site also introduces a textbook on Effectual Entrepreneurship and provides a wide variety of teaching materials.

Saras received her PhD from Carnegie Mellon University. Her thesis was supervised by Herbert Simon, 1978 Nobel Laureate in Economics.

Open Minds 2011: Video competition now open


The Open Minds 2011 video competition has begun!

Cast your vote by March 14 for your favorite Open Minds team video. The best video wins its team $1,000 to advance their venture. Second ($500) and third ($250) place prizes will also be awarded. 

Video Competition results will be announced during the Open Minds public exhibition at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, March 26, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.



This competition is made possible in part thanks to our sponsors: 



Luke Pinkerton

Luke Pinkerton is president and chief technology officer of Ann Arbor-based Polytorx, which he co-founded in 2003. His company manufactures Helix, a twisted steel concrete reinforcement that is now sold in more than thirty countries for virtually all uses of concrete. His work on Helix has received several awards through the years, including The Michigan Technology Tricorridor Award, a National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research Grant, the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Association (NCIIA) Award for Excellence in Marketing and the Carrot Capital Business Plan Competition. Helix was also featured on “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” in May 2006.

Luke graduated from Hope College in 1997 with a major in engineering and physics, completed a master’s degree in civil structural engineering at the University of Michigan and earned an MBA from Georgia Tech University.

Moses Lee

Moses Lee is an Academic Program Manager and Lecturer at the Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Michigan (UM), where he manages the Social Entrepreneurship Initiative. He teaches two courses: Social Venture Creation and Intro to Social Entrepreneurship. In addition, Moses supports the curriculum and teaching responsibilities in UM's Multidisciplinary Design Minor Global Health Design Specialization. Moses is currently working on UM's Safe Male Circumcision Project, which received a Gates Foundation Grand Challenges Explorations grant. He is developing the feasibility plan for low-cost, mass production distribution of the medical devices.

Kristina M. Johnson

Kristina M. Johnson served as Under Secretary of Energy at the Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. from May 2009 until October 2010. Prior to her appointment as Under Secretary, Dr. Johnson was Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at The Johns Hopkins University (September 2007 to April 2009), and Dean of the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University from July 1999 until September of 2007. She received her B.S. (with distinction), M.S., and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Stanford University. After a NATO post-doctoral fellowship at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, she joined the University of Colorado-Boulder’s faculty in 1985 as an Assistant Professor and was promoted to full Professor in 1994. From 1994 to 1999, Dr. Johnson directed the NSF/ERC for Optoelectronics Computing Systems Center at the University of Colorado and Colorado State University.

Named an NSF Presidential Young Investigator in 1985 and a Fulbright Faculty Scholar in 1991, Dr. Johnson’s academic awards include the Dennis Gabor Prize for creativity and innovation in modern optics (1993) and the John Fritz Medal (2008), widely considered the highest award in the engineering profession. Previous recipients of the Fritz Medal include Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison and Orville Wright. Dr. Johnson was inducted into the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame (2003), and received the Society of Women Engineers Lifetime Achievement Award (2004), the ARCS Foundation Eagle Award for science and education (2009), and the Woman of Vision Award for Leadership by the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology (2010).

She was recognized for her work in technology transfer and entrepreneurship by the States of Colorado and North Carolina (1997, 2001); she received the 2010 Milton Steward Award from the Small Business Technology Council (SBTC), and is a fellow of the Optical Society of America, International Electronics and Electrical Engineering (IEEE), and SPIE, the International Society for Optical Engineering (former Board Member). Dr. Johnson has served on the Board of Directors of Dycom Industries, Guidant, Mineral Technologies Inc., Boston Scientific Corporation, AES Corporation and Nortel Networks. She also co-founded several companies, including SouthEast Techinventures, and ColorLink, Inc., which was sold to RealD, and is responsible for 3D effects seen by millions in movies such as Avatar, Monster House, Chicken Little, Meet the Robinsons and more.

Dr. Johnson has published 142 refereed papers and proceedings and holds 45 U.S. patents (129 U.S. and international patents) and patents pending, and has received honorary degrees from University of Alabama at Huntsville, Tufts University and Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.

Portland State I2V breaks all records!

Big shout out to NCIIA student ambassador Adam Smith (pictured) who helped organize last week's Invention to Venture workshop at Portland State University. Over 200 would-be entrepreneurs attended, a record for any NCIIA-organized workshop. Said Adam:

"As co-planner of I2V Portland, I couldn't be happier with the turnout and quality of this year's event. With six phenomenal speakers and 207 registrants from eight regional colleges and universities, it turned out to be a fantastic networking opportunity for student entrepreneurs, faculty, and regional business leaders.

It's clear to me that the level of interest in entrepreneurship among students may be very underestimated, especially among my peers at Portland State! For the event itself, we wanted to inspire and empower students by hearing first-hand from successful entrepreneurs they could relate to. From here, there is so much we can do to keep the momentum going by providing resources and guidance to get more student-led ventures off the ground. I'm really inspired to think of the social and economic benefits that could result from innovative new companies and technologies that will grow from this type of exposure to the types of programs offered by NCIIA."

Ed Rubesch

Edward Rubesch has BSc & MSc degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a PhD in Marketing from Thammasat University, Thailand. He has been Director of the National Science and Technology Development Agency's Technology Licensing Office since 2008 and a Global Entrepreneurship Specialist at Thammasat University since 2003.

Karen Martell

Karen Martell joined Endeavor Global’s San Francisco office in April 2010 where she is now responsible for Entrepreneur Services and Partnerships. Karen is focused on building a network of mentors, industry experts, investors, and companies committed to supporting high-impact entrepreneurship in emerging markets in addition to linking Silicon Valley to Endeavor Entrepreneurs through events, in-person meetings, and online resources. Karen first got involved with Endeavor in the fall of 2008 while working for a tech startup in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Impressed by Endeavor’s model, she supported Argentina’s Search & Selection team by conducting due diligence and collaborating with entrepreneurs on various growth strategy and market expansion projects. Prior to Endeavor, Karen worked for a management and communications consulting firm serving high tech companies such as Google, Cisco, Microsoft, and Oracle. She also taught for a nonprofit in Sub-Saharan Africa and worked for the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development in Geneva, Switzerland. Karen is a graduate of Stanford University, where she received a B.A. in International Relations and Economics and a M.A. in Communications.