Leaders League has selected 25 Innovation leaders in diverse sectors such as Hardware, Software, Telecom, Internet, Media, Life Sciences and intellectual property institutions, and realized a portrait for each of them. Check out Part I.
Energy & Greentech
CEO, Tesla Motors
When asked about his projects, he explains “There were three important sectors capable of changing the future of humanity: the internet, renewable energies, and space.” And so did the South African-born entrepreneur move forth into these frontiers.
Founded in 2002, Space X is an aerospace development company which Musk describes as, “aiming to advance rocket technology”. In January 2015 Space X joined forces with the NASA to resupply the International Space Station, and raised $1 billion from new investors including Fidelity and Google.
Also behind Tesla Motors, founded in 2003, Musk is the product architect of all-electric Tesla Roadster, Model S and Model X. Like their namesake, Tesla is often cited as one of the most disruptive and ambitious energy companies. Musk, 43, advocates, “we need to have sustainable energy,” and he believes electric vehicles will play a pivotal role.
Founder & CEO, Nest Labs
The Lebanese American inventor and entrepreneur says it best: “The reason why we got in the thermostat market was that there was no innovation happening!” Founded in 2010 with Matt Rogers, his former intern at Apple, Nest produces Internet-connected thermostats & smoke detectors. His aim - a green and connected home. How? In his words through understanding of both energy prices and “personal behavioral patterns inside the home.”
Internet-connected thermostats are programmed to save energy. They can detect whether someone is at home and automatically decrease the temperature when no one is indoors. In September 2013 this technology already offered energy savings of1 billion kWh.
In 2014 Nest Labs was taken over by Google for $US 3.2 billion.
Co-founder and CEO, Global Thermostat
“Her leadership in the global community has been revolutionary,” says Jay Inslee, former member of the U.S. House of Representatives. The Argentine-American mathematical economist and entrepreneur is seen as an authority on climate change. She designed the carbon market of the UN Kyoto Protocol and reputedly invented the term of “sustainable development”.
During his long career at the BBC, Tony Hall accomplished different missions: launch of Radio 5, BBC News 24, BBC Parliament, and BBC News Online. His vision for the future of the broadcasting house can be summarized in three points: boost the corporation as a technology giant, offer personalized service, and recognize the end of linear TV. But how will the BBC of tomorrow look? The group will start a real transformation through the myBBC Revolution, which will consist in reinventing public service broadcasting through data. In an interview, this art enthusiast recently said: “We’ll always do it our way – not telling customers what they should buy, but delivering to citizens what they love to watch and need to know.”
Chief Content Officer, Netflix
Ted Sarandos is the man who, not only dramatically changed how we watch, but what we watch. With more than 20 years’ experience in home entertainment, Sarandos is recognized in the industry as an innovator in film acquisition and distribution. Together with Netflix founder Reed Hastings, he figured out that we live in the age of immediacy, and people shouldn’t have to wait years to see a movie on a different platform. As the television business is based on managed dissatisfaction, his job consists in avoiding bit-champing and capitalizing on instant gratification. Recently interviewed he said: “I have a deep respect for the fundamentals of television, the traditions of it even, but I don’t have any reverence for it.” The revolution has already started.
Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer, Contently
His mission is to build a better media world. Based on the principle of storytelling, Contently is an innovative start-up, aiming to create marketing-solution content for enterprising brands that want to use stories to drive real business results.
Founder and CEO, Breyer Capital
Breyer led Accel’s investment in Facebook in 2005 and served on the Board of Directors from 2005 until 2013. He has been an investor in over 30 consumer internet, media, and technology companies, and is considered one of the smartest investors in the media and technology industries.
Founder, VICE Media
Starting in 1994 with a punk magazine called The Voice of Montreal, Shane Smith has built a $ 2.5 billion empire. Vice today is a global media with a unique style and a strong brand based on its content’s originality. With Vice Smith has found a way to make money without sacrificing countercultural identity.
Founder & CEO, Theranos
In 2003, using her own tuition money, this ambitious 19 year old American woman founded Theranos, a company which has revolutionized lab testing. One drop of blood or other bodily fluid is now sufficient to realize multiple tests. Holmes’ motivation to launch this project speaks for itself, as the young entrepreneur declared her continued endeavor, “I want to spend my life changing our healthcare system”.
Because of its transparency and simplicity the lab test process allows thousands of people to access affordable and accessible preventive care, and Elizabeth Holmes believes this is, “right to protect the health and well-being of every person – of those we love – is a basic human right”.
Theranos board is composed of three former cabinet secretaries (George Schultz, Bill Perry and Henry Kissinger).
Co-founder and CEO, Oscar
The 30 year old entrepreneur is already a well-accomplished businessman. From Goldman Sachs to an investment firm, in 2013 he then invested in the healthcare insurance industry by launching OSCAR.
Noticing the complexity of his health insurance bill, Kushner seized the opportunity to disrupt health insurance by combining technology data with design. His team created a simple and user-friendly health insurance website following their ambition, “to create the consumer experience we would want for ourselves”. Fresh from his success, Oscar raised $80 million in 2014 and has approached a $1billion valuation. Kushner rationalizes his success by stating that “financing is not innovation” and much more work needs to be done.
Why was a 24 year old Cameroonian named by Forbes as “an example of African innovation at its finest?” Because this ingenious engineer developed Cardiopad, a medical touchpad that permits heart examinations chiefly for people in remote areas, the results of which are sent via mobile phones to specialists. Zang explains as an engineer he wants to “use those skills for the benefit of others”.
Joining as an investor in 2006, the Israeli businessman later became ElMindA’s CEO. ElMindA has developed a non-invasive tool that enables the evaluation and visualization of the neuro-physiological interconnections to “monitor the health of our brain” as Gadot recalls. He adds that this brain-scanning process shows the brain’s activity “as though it is a traffic report”.
Co-founder and CEO, Cohealo
While working as surgical device seller, in a hospital meeting Slaughter is quoted as having said “don’t buy them.” He simply realized the health industry’s excesses and decided to find a solution that would optimize hospitals’ medical equipment: Cohealo, a platform that allows hospitals to share medical devices. Slaughter saw two major values for hospitals and patients: economic benefits and higher accessibility.
Photo: © Haldane Martin
Subscribe to our fortnightly newsletter “Leaders Wisdom Journal”.
Other articles of the same issue:
J.- J. Dordain (European Space Agency) : “Let’s not forget to dream!”
Leonardo da Vinci: An Undaunted Dreamer
Why Should We Chase Dreams?
Wisdom on Risk Taking
Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action (TED Video)