Thursday, December 15, 2011

Smile, It's #MIN33 !

Wow, it's the last Mass Innovation Night of 2011 already! IBM Waltham did a great job of hosting again. The space is great and the people are great. Turnout was a little lighter than usual this time, what with Christmas shopping and the prediction of sleet north and west of Boston (which, by the way, still hasn't happened as of Thursday afternoon.), but it was an enthusiastic crowd with a lot of newcomers.  The inimitable BobbieC was running around corralling the innovators and experts as attendees began filtering in. 

Folks Checking In
Bobbie also did a great job of reminding people to smile and enjoy themselves. MIN is a fun time to connect with people. That's what it's all about.

My first taste of a Budi Bar was very satisfying. Budi Bars are whole food for your brain. Full of good stuff like nuts and seeds, they nourish your mind/brain as well as your body and enhance memory. I asked if I could attain enlightenment by eating one. Budi Bars can help, but I still need to meditate. :-)
The Budi Bar kept me going from arrival until after the presentations, so I think it worked.

Team Cangrade
Great companies are made by great people. The team from Cangrade enlightened me on how to hire great people. They combine their social science, psychology, and tech skills to produce a  pre-employment test that when combined with the public skill-test test marketplace cuts through the uncertainty in hiring.  They made a good case for how their pre-employment evaluation is more predictive of job fit than the interview process alone. Also, they had matching jackets, so I hereby award them best costume of #MIN33.

Greenbean -- Recycle This Can!
The innovation I was still bubbling about when I got home was Greenbean, best recycling idea ever. Greenbean is a reverse vending machine that takes cans and bottles, credits your paypal or student card with your 5 cent deposit for each bottle or can recycled, and gives you an instant real time update showing the number of containers recycled and energy savings within seconds. This is a brilliant strategy to  increase recycling rates by using gaming technology and social media. Colleges and student groups can challenge each other and compete in real time.

Greenbean's Beta machine has been on the MIT campus since the beginning of August and a machine is soon to be installed at Tufts. Tufts students will be able to compete against MIT in real time. Predictions of an epic recycling battle between MIT and Tufts were flying around the Twitter stream for #MIN33. I predict that MIT will win and they will be led by the DKE brothers. (Obligatory shout out to DKE whenever mentioning the Institute at the Center of the Universe. :-))

Team Mosaic
I was very impressed with Mosaic's  online and offline storage solution for photographers. As a photographer, I know I generate enormous amounts of data (or digital assets). Serious pro photographers generate even more. Managing all this data is tough job that requires lots of hard drives (:-)).   The Mosaic solution provides safe and accessible online storage, and helps manage data locally on multiple hard drives.  Less time at the computer shuffling hard drives means more time out in the field taking pictures. It's nicely integrated with Lightroom and Aperture too. That's my kind of innovation!

Switch Gear
Switch Gear Interchangeable Jewelry is like LEGO for women who wear jewelry. These kits give you huge numbers of combinations so you can be the innovator in creating your look for the day. You can go from casual to dressy to hipster even when you're on the road being a power woman entrepreneur.

Crowd Already Tweeting before the Presentations Start!
I was having so much fun talking with Board Prospects and ASH that the presentations were about to start and I hadn't met everybody yet! As a veteran of non-profit boards, I appreciate what Board Prospects is up to. ASH's multidimensional approach to health and sustainability impressed me as well.
Presenting Board Prospects
After the presentations I caught up with MyMentorLink and Job Hunt Express and had another Budi Bar to keep the energy flowing.


JR from Job Hunt Express
Along the way, my At-Hand Apps colleague, Robert, and I had a chance to talk with a search engine optimization expert about our New England Day Trips At Hand app.

Robert Demoing New England Day Trips At Hand to Melki

The Experts Corner featured a wide array of expertise this month, including Chef Lam who seemingly can do anything food and event related. I couldn't catch up with him for a photo, though.  The experts were all quite busy, as one would expect. I asked longtime Mass Innovation Nights supporter/expert, Nate Therrien, to pose for the traditional Expert Looking Expert closing photo. He promises to recycle that water bottle.

Expert Looking Expert: Nate Therrien