#Tribeca2017: Tribeca's Disruptive Innovation Awards

On April 25th, The 2017 Tribeca Film Festival’s Eighth Annual Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards (TDIA), presented by AT&T, and supported by Bai, will unveil the diverse field of disruptors and thought-leaders whose breakthroughs are creating radical solutions to some of the world’s most vexing problems. If you are interested in interviewing participants for this year’s TDIA, or talking to Tribeca co-founder and TDIA leader Craig Hatkoff about the thinking behind the eclectic curation of the distinctive honorees, please let us know.

This year, TDIA will celebrate an exciting roster of visionaries, rebels, and game changers who are upending their industries, altering the human experience through their novel approaches to social justice and activism, and affecting the future of intelligence, both human and artificial.

TDIA is a collaboration with Harvard Business School Professor Clayton M. Christensen and helmed by Tribeca co-founder Craig Hatkoff. Christensen’s original Disruptive Innovation Theory was immortalized in the Innovator’s Dilemma, now celebrating its 20th anniversary. Disruptive innovation explains how simpler, cheaper technologies, products, and services can decimate industry leaders almost overnight, for the betterment of society. TDIA showcases applications of disruptive innovation which has spread far beyond the original technological and industrial realms into the fields of healthcare, education, international development, politics and advocacy, media, and the arts and entertainment.

Visit https://www.disruptorawards.com/  for more information.

About the Honorees:

Evolution of Intelligence

In an era where artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomous driving and 3D printing portend unprecedented social, political and economic change, this year’s awards highlight the evolving relationship between man and machine.

Watson (accepted by David Kenny)

Watson, IBM’s cloud-based cognitive computing system, helps people apply artificial intelligence (AI) to not only creative pursuits but also to making discoveries across industries including healthcare, finance, retail, engineering, and others. Watson empowers people with the tools to augment their imagination and expand their expertise to improve decision-making. As this innovation continues to expand across industries, IBM expects Watson will reach 1 billion consumers by the end of 2017.

Accepting on behalf of Watson is David Kenny, Senior Vice President, IBM Watson and Cloud Platform, who spearheads development of the Watson technology platform, as well as optimizes IBM’s public cloud for data and cognitive workloads. David was most recently General Manager, IBM Watson, and previously served as Chairman and CEO of The Weather Company and managing partner of VivaKi.

Alex Da Kid + IBM

Producing records has always been collaborative to Grammy Award-winning music producer and two-time Billboard Top 40 under 40 Alex Da Kid. Since creating KIDinaKORNER back in 2011, Alex has signed Skylar Grey, Imagine Dragons, Jamie N Commons, and X Ambassadors, as well as produce singles for Dr. Dre, Eminem, Nikki Minaj, B.o.B, Diddy, T.I., U2, Christina Aguilera, Rihanna, Lupe Fiasco and more. 

In 2016, Alex Da Kid made musical history by collaborating with IBM Watson to create an original song. Watson’s ability to turn millions of unstructured data points into emotional insights helped Alex create a new kind of music that for the first time ever, listened to the audience.

Bryan Johnson

In 2016, Bryan started Kernel to build advanced neural interfaces to treat disease and dysfunction, and extend cognition. In 2014, he invested $100M to start OS Fund to support scientists who aim to benefit humanity by rewriting the operating systems of life. In 2007, Bryan founded Braintree, a payments provider, which was acquired in 2013 by PayPal for $800M. He is an outdoor-adventure enthusiast, pilot, and author of a children's book, Code 7.


GIPHY is GIFs. The first and largest GIF search engine, GIPHY is where thousands of artists, brands, and pop culture moments make today’s expression, entertainment, and info a little more moving. GIPHY serves more than 1BN GIFs per day, seen by more than 100M daily active users who watch more than 2M hours of GIFs every day.

Compassionate Capitalism

This year’s honorees utilize their entrepreneurial spirit to make effective and lasting change affecting global poverty, access to art, health and wellness, the betterment of American culture and saving the world’s decreasing bee population.

Tory Burch

Tory Burch is CEO and Designer of Tory Burch LLC, an American lifestyle brand. Since launching the company in 2004, she has grown the brand into a global business with more than 200 stores. In 2015, she introduced Tory Sport, a performance activewear collection.

Tory has been recognized with numerous awards and serves on several boards, including the Tory Burch Foundation, which she launched in 2009 to empower women entrepreneurs.

Mikaila Ulmer

At age four, Mikaila Ulmer, learned that bees were an important part of our ecosystem and that they were dying. Armed with her great grandmother’s special recipe of lemonade Mikaila launched her business, Me & the Bees Lemonade, from her home in Austin, Texas in 2009. As one of Shark Tank’s most popular contestants, Mikaila landed a deal with Daymond John. Her lemonade empire has grown exponentially, and she has become one of country’s youngest entrepreneurs

Mick Ebeling

Mick Ebeling is an instigator of innovation. His company, Not Impossible, which will be premiering a special new project at the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards, develops defiant solutions for the world’s overlooked and underserved communities. For example, when Mick read about Daniel, a Sudanese boy whose arms were lost during a bombing of his village, Mick was inspired to help. Mick and his team of makers and inventors figured out how to 3D print a working prosthetic arm. They travelled illegally to the Nuba Mountains to print an arm for Daniel, who was able to feed himself for the first time in two years, and taught villagers how to use 3D printers to make prosthetic arms for the large number of amputees there. Mick has been named one of WIRED Magazine's "Make Tech Human" thought leaders, one of Ad Age's Top 50 Most Creative People and a Muhammad Ali Humanitarian of the Year.

Roger McGuinn

Over the last six decades, the list of Roger McGuinn’s musical innovations, in both the analogue and digital realms, is nothing short of breath-taking. McGuinn has embraced innovation and preservation with continuity as well as change.  As the front man for the Byrds,  McGuinn is credited with combining folk music with rock and roll in such hits as “Mr. Tambourine Man,” “Eight Miles High,” and “Turn Turn Turn.” He added compression to his Rickenbacker 12 string that resulted a whole new sound—the jingle jangle— that inspired Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and Tom Petty.  McGuinn was an early adopter in the music industry’s transition from analogue to digital. He embraced the internet as a distribution channel a decade before Radiohead’s pay-what-you-want download of “In Rainbow.” He is the keeper of the flame for folk music through his 20 year project-- the Folk Den, recording one folk song per month and offering it as a free download. He continues performing in theaters as a solo artist.

Jessamyn Stanley

Jessamyn Stanley, is the author of Every Body Yoga, as well as an internationally recognized yoga teacher, award-winning Instagram star (@mynameisjessamyn), and body-positive advocate. She has been profiled by a wide range of media, including Good Morning AmericaTIME, New YorkGlamourShapePeopleEssence, Lenny Letter, and many others. When she’s not on the road teaching, she lives in Durham, North Carolina. Visit her online at:jessamynstanley.com, Twitter: @JessNotJazz, Facebook: /mynameisjessamyn.

Social Justice, Activism, and the Arts

Honorees practicing social justice and activism are finding creative ways to affect culture in America via race relations, homelessness, women’s right, prison reform, and our global world issues affecting poverty and the environment.

Jonathan Haidt

Jonathan Haidt is a social psychologist and professor at NYU-Stern School of Business. Haidt is the author of The Happiness Hypothesis (2006), and The Righteous Mind (2012). As part of his research on morality and politics, Haidt has written about the dangers of political homogeneity and the suppression of dissent. To combat such homogeneity in American universities, Haidt co-founded (with Nicholas Rosenkranz and others) Heterodox Academy, a collaboration of 600 professors who advocate for viewpoint diversity.

Daryl Davis

Over the last 30 years, celebrated black musician Daryl Davis has employed a novel and controversial approach to improving race relations:  he has established enduring relationships with members of the KKK. Having experienced prejudice while growing up Davis wanted to answer one burning question—“how can you hate me when you don’t even know me?”  Over 30 of his “friends” have decommissioned themselves from the KKK as they have come to know Davis. His tool of choice is conversation. "When two enemies are talking, they are not fighting.  They may be shouting and pounding their fists on the table, but at least they are talking.  It’s when the talking ceases, that the ground becomes fertile for violence.”

Will Boyajian

Will Boyajian is an actor and musician from Albany, NY. Will is the founder of Hopeful Cases, based on his change collecting guitar case, a New York based charity. He created the organization after graduating from Ithaca College in 2012. The charity’s main focus is giving to New York City’s homeless population. Since moving to New York City Will has been performing in a number of Off-Broadway/Regional musicals. Will’s mission is to have New Yorkers change the way they think about giving. If you annualize what Will has been collecting and donating, equals $150,000 per year. Who am I to judge? Take more if you need it. Without being a billionaire, he is doing quite a bit of great work.

Chris Fabian

Christopher Fabian is a technologist and innovator who co-leads UNICEF’s Innovation Unit. Fabian works on finding solutions to big problems that face humanity, particularly children. Since 2007 he has held the title of Senior Advisor on Innovation to the Executive Director at UNICEF and Co-founder and Co-lead of the UNICEF Innovation Unit. He is best known for his work on tools for children and communities in low-infrastructure environments.

Paula Kahumbu

Dr. Paula Kahumbu is a Kenyan expert on elephants with a PhD from Princeton University. She is the CEO of Kenyan Conservation NGO WildlifeDirect and founded Hands Off Our Elephants, a Campaign that lead major legal reforms in tackling wildlife crime resulting in a drop in poaching of 80% over three years. She also Co-authored the bestselling children’s book Owen and Mzee and produces two wildlife television series, NTV Wild and NTV Wild Talk.

Fran Lebowitz

Fran Lebowitz, called the "funniest woman in America" by the Washington Post, is a national treasure known for her wit, humor, irreverence, social commentary and her own category on "Jeopardy." From the innovative lists in her 1978 bestseller "Metropolitan Life," to her Martin Scorsese-directed documentary "Public Speaking," to her current commentary on the lecture circuit, in Vanity Fair, on TV and on the web, Fran Lebowitz's observations have always been ahead of the times.

Alexa Meade

Alexa Meade applies paint directly to models and the surrounding scene, creating the illusion that real-life people and places are inside the world of a 2D painting. Her artwork has been exhibited at The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, The Saatchi Gallery, the Grand Palais, and the United Nations building. She has collaborated with theoretical physicists, movement artist Lil Buck, and magician David Blaine. Her TED Talk “Your Body is my Canvas,” has millions of views.

Vivian D. Nixon

Vivian D. Nixon is Executive Director of College & Community Fellowship (CCF), a nonprofit committed to removing individual and structural barriers to higher education for women with criminal record histories and their families. An alumna of CCF’s program, Nixon advocates nationally for criminal justice reform. Nixon is a Columbia University Community Scholar and a recipient of the John Jay Medal for Justice, the Ascend Fellowship at the Aspen Institute, and the Soros Justice Fellowship.

Kennedy Odede and Jessica Posner Odede

Kennedy Odede and Jessica Posner Odede are New York Times best-selling authors, internationally recognized social entrepreneurs, and the founders of Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO), an organization that works to build vibrant, gender equitable services for all. Kennedy grew up in Kibera, one of the largest slums in Africa. He started SHOFCO in 2004 with a 20 cent soccer ball, and was able to turn it into one of the world’s most influential community organizers. Together, Jessica & Kennedy built SHOFCO to what it is today - a grassroots organization that has served and empowered hundreds and thousands of people in the slums of Kenya.

Jeremy Travis

Jeremy Travis is president of John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York. Prior to his appointment, he served as a Senior Fellow in the Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center, where he launched a national research program focused on prisoner reentry into society. From 1994-2000, Travis directed the National Institute of Justice, the research arm of the U.S. Department of Justice. EDIT

Jose Vargas

Jose Antonio Vargas is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, filmmaker, and media entrepreneur whose work centers on the changing American identity. After revealing himself to be an illegal immigrant, he found Define American, a non-profit media and culture organization that seeks to elevate the conversation around immigration and citizenship in America, and the founder of #EmergingUS, a media start-up that lives at the intersection of race, immigration, and identity in a multicultural America.