Our theme for this TEDxBocaRaton event is, "Innovation: Reinventing Yourself."
Notice that our theme logo is surrounded by an amorphous shape, which represents the idea that there isn't necessarily a formula for "reinventing yourself." We chose this theme because we're fascinated by the way people and businesses reinvent themselves through innovation, and then somehow they do it again. Apple is likely the best known example of a company that has reinvented itself. It started out as a computer company, and then disrupted other various industries (e.g. music, cell phone, tablet) through innovation and reinvention. But this theme is not just limited to people and companies, it encompasses economies, industries and even animals. To understand our theme requires putting a definition to the word "innovation."
Innovation is NOT often sexy at the idea stage. Can you imagine pitching to a VC that you want to challenge the taxi cab industry steeped in regulations (e.g. Uber)? How about creating a social media application based on two-way radio communication limited to 140-characters (e.g. Twitter)? Or, my favorite, the individual that uploaded some videos on Youtube to help his niece with her algebra homework (e.g. Khan Academy). Who could have guessed?
At the heart of all innovation is change and progress. It's a causal relationship. Change is often about altering the status quo. I have my own definition of innovation: "Furthering the current state-of-the-art." It means you take what exists today and make it better in either incremental or exponential improvements. I like this definition because it's simple and extends beyond just working in the field of technology. The funny thing is, when you combine the terms "innovation" and "reinventing yourself," the word "innovation" requires a broader meaning. So I decided to borrow a definition from the President of MIT, L. Rafael Reif, who said; "Innovation is the process of translating knowledge into progress." It's in this context that we explore how economies, industries, companies, products, people and, yes, even animals reinvent themselves through innovation.