Writing and videos on sports, design, fashion and technology, which all merge together in my world, working on the cutting edge. These are the change makers!
I couldn't ask for a more exciting profession! In this section I share out news of my peers and published pieces I find inspiring.
***Many articles in this category are from outside sources and will always be credited as such, with links to the websites so you can go learn more!

“Most Entrepreneurs Don’t Think About Their Culture Until It’s on Top of Them”

Robert Stringer, director of the Babson SVP, will discuss 'soft business issues' with student startups
By Lucia Maffei - February 14, 2019

By his own admission, Robert “Bob” Stringer is not “a high-tech guru.” His experience is in what he calls “good-for-you, health and wellness, food and beverage” startups.

Bob Stringer (Photo provided by Babson)

Still, the new director of the Babson Summer Venture program – a 10-week long program that aims at accelerating the development of student ventures from Babson, Olin College of Engineering and Wellesley – knows he’s likely to encounter many tech startups as the new edition of the program prepares to select the final 15.

Stringer took over the position from David Chang, who was the first non-faculty member to hold the role. He’s been long associated with Babson as a lecturer; he was also the founding general partner of Sherbrooke Capital, a $100 million VC firm based in Boston.

We reached out to Stringer to discuss his appointment—plus many other things, such as how early-stage entrepreneurs tend to underestimate the importance of culture building, and the Babson companies in his portfolio.

When did you first hear about the Babson Summer Venture Program?

I have a long relationship with Babson, having taught there in the MBA program. Then, I ran a program during the summer called the “Global Entrepreneurship Program.” So, I was somewhat familiar with the Blank Center, and I know David Chang [former director of the Summer Venture Program, currently CEO of Gradifi since November 2018], and I know Debi Kleiman, who runs the SVP … She reached out to me and I expressed my interest.

Can you describe for me the moment when you thought, “Ok, I want to take over this role”?

I’ve done a lot of different things in my career: venture, investing, angel investing; I’ve started a few businesses; I teach; I’ve consulted; I’ve written some books. But there’s nothing more fun, for me, than hanging out with a bunch of people who are passionate about what they do.

What is your experience about working with companies that are really, really early-stage?

I have a portfolio of, originally, 38 companies, now it’s down to about 30. Included in my investments, there are four companies founded by people who were my actual students at Babson. They started from absolute scratch. So I’m very used to – and enjoy, quite frankly – working with enterprises that haven’t yet been born.

For the full article…

Fashion & Mash; MOMA exhibition highlights biofabrications and new technologies as the future of fashion

Rachel Authur of fashion and technology site, Fashion & Mash, piece for Forbes on the Moma's groundbreaking show, is a must read about a must see show.

"MOMA Exhibition Highlights Biofabrications And New Technologies As The Future Of Fashion"
Rachel Arthur - October 3, 2017

The Museum of Modern Art's first exhibition dedicated to fashion design since 1944 presents garments and accessories that have had a profound impact on global culture over the last century.

In Items: Is Fashion Modern?, a total of 111 pieces span everything from the Little Black Dress and Levi's 501 jeans, to the hoodie, the bikini, the stiletto and the Sari. About 30 of the items are also complemented by a new prototype, however - a commissioned or loaned piece inspired by advancements that signify where the industry is moving next.

These have been created by designers, artists, scientists, engineers, and manufacturers - those able to respond to the idea of these “indispensable items” with pioneering materials, approaches, and design revisions. Included is a t-shirt featuring the first lab-grown leather from bioengineering firm Modern Meadow; a dress woven from artificial spider silk by Bolt Threads marking a new partnership with designer Stella McCartney; and a new take on a customizable Breton shirt by 3D knitting company Unmade.

Click here for full article on Forbes.com


Reflections on a Career in Sports and Technology Innovation

J Gauron

Before I started my first job as a design intern at Burberry, I wondered how all of the brands knew that The color that year would be burnt orange, leopard stripe or sherbet pink. How could they foresee this I wondered naively? As a consumer you may marvel at this too, seeing brands all have similar colors, trends, or print themes that align, even as they compete for your dollars.

Later when I attended Rhode Island School of Design, one of my professors called upon a quote of unclear origins which demystified innovation; “the best way to predict the future is to create it.”

And essentially this was true for a while.  Trend forecasting companies, like Stylus and WGSN, brought together color and trend specialist from around the world and wrote up elaborate reports for each season and category, forecasting the future. These reports and memberships were expensive, but this only helped to align the future, and brands unwillingness to step outside of these trends, which then manifested the forecasts as truths. The reality is a slightly more complex version than the brutal summary given by the Anna Wintour like character, played by Meryl Streep, in The Devil Wears Prada.

After design school I moved into innovation design, also known as white space or blue sky, every company has a different spin on the same goal. We are leapfrogging the current designs and aiming for 3-8 years out. Trend forecasting and street fashion are not relevant, it is challenging and risky with a high failure rate, which is a big part of why designers thrive in this space. It is hard meaningful work, which allows us to predict, and in some ways therefore shape futures.

Why do we bother to develop and design so far out, especially if it fails so often?

Many material developments, technologies, or partnerships in this area take years of research and development to fine tune so innovation teams require a long runway. And because of the long timelines constant course correction, much like space navigation, is required. Best bets are made based on qualitative and quantitative knowledge about the brand, user and the market, as well as partnering technology and lead times, but as the project progresses and more is known about these aspects, as well as the future market, the projects evolve.

Current examples of products from innovation type teams which reached the market include Synthetic Spider Silk “Moon Parka” by North Face, Adidas FutureCraft Biofabric shoe, Tierra’s 100% biobased jacket fossil fuel free Deterra Jacket, Pauline van Dongen designs solar-powered windbreaker for nature reserve guides or Patagonia’s Yulex Natural rubber wetsuit, Nike Flyknit to name just a handful.

These are generally costly long term projects, and sometimes they result only in concept cars; expensive high level products which don’t necessarily create huge revenue, or may not go to market at all. Having worked on more than a few projects in this space this can be painful to designers, who strive to create impact through innovation. But concept cars can create enormous media hype for a brand, and in turn sell pull downs; simpler more affordable versions which have a broader reach than an expensive innovation product's pricepoint.  Pull downs are often where revenue is gained from the innovation investment, ironically, and hopefully where the brand deploys some of the advancements in a more widespread, impactful manner beyond the initial splash of media hype.

Although large corporations are chasing innovation as hard as they can, as that edge which will keep them front of mind and center of hearts with consumers, the increasing reality is that start ups and satellite groups are more nimble and can disrupt with less capital. It is the heart of startups today, all one has to do is look to silicon valley, although as I was painfully reminded in a business fellowship largely with tech classmates, scaling up physical goods is quite different than digital. Still increasingly, game changing design innovations, materials, and even manufacturing moves, even those adopted by the big companies, are created by start ups. 

Looking back to my early days at Burberry where color forecasts were the driving future forecast seems like 100 years ago not 15. Today the rules are entirely up to those bold enough to write them.

No Man's Film 3rd Annual Festival is coming up!

No Man's Film 3rd Annual Festival Sept 14-17th is coming up and if you can walk, hike, bike or fly, to Carbondale CO, I highly recommend it as this promises to be an amazing and inspiring gathering of women in a moment when change is badly needed, and I think we will look back at this time as another pivotal moment in women's history, and sports history.  Plus its just going to be freaking fun!

And if you can't get yourself there, sign up for the mailing list to see when the Festival comes to your city. 

And to be very clear this festival is inclusive of all people, but the goal of these bad ass founders is to fill the badly needed void for a all-female adventure film festival, the content has been there, now the platform is too! Pull on your Patagonia, grab a beer and get ready to be inspired!


How Exosuits Could Help People Walk Again, Create Super Soldiers

Dani Ryan, a Functional Apparel Designer with Harvard's Wyss Institute, stopped by PCMag to talk about her team's work with DARPA designing textile-based exoskeletons.

       [Super proud of the coverage of Wyss Institute work, and video of my old colleague Dani,
       speaking about the Exoskeleton Wearables of the future which they are working on. 
       Awesome job by Conor, Diana Dani and the whole team! Such an exciting direction.]

By Evan Dashevsky
July 6, 2017 8:00AM EST

When it comes to wearable technology, the first thing most people probably think of is modern wrist-adorned doodads like Fitbits or the Apple Watch. But there's much more to the wearable story than that. Researchers are hard at work engineering advanced wearable systems that will augment our movements.

These technologies hold the promise to one day return the ability to walk to those suffering from injury and disease, but they might also be used to improve the physicality of the able bodied. Those are some of the goals being sought by a research team at Harvard's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, which has partnered with the US military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to create textile-based soft robotic exosuits. This technology is still very much in development, but the suits could one day supercharge soldiers' movement in the field.

That's right, super soldiers—of a sort. Click here for the whole PC Mag article and the video.


Kenzen wins Judge's Favorite at Google Demo Days

Super proud to see the Kenzen team win in London (we are a Zurich and SF based co) at Google Demo days while I was facilitating a panel at Struktur on the future of Wearables in the Outdoor Industry.

Always a lot of hustle and challenges in changing the face of an industry but so worthwhile!

Highlighting Europe's Best Startups

Over the past five years, Google for Entrepreneurs has brought together a group of top startups from around the world to Silicon Valley to showcase their technology and meet top investors and mentors.

This event will be our first Demo Day outside the U.S., aimed at bringing the best startups from across Europe to London to pitch to investors.

The application period for Demo Day has closed. We'll reach out to all applicants by 29 March with an update about the selected startups.

How This Wearable Smart Patch Analyzes Your Sweat To Monitor Your Body

Jennifer Kite-Powell , Contributor
Image courtesy of Kenzen.

    Professor Wei Gao, a post doctoral fellow at the University of California and recipient of 2016 MIT Technology Review 35 Innovators Under 35, spoke in February 2017 at Rice University about bioelectronic devices for personalize and precision medicine. His belief is that wearable biosensors and medical nanorobots combine health monitoring and therapy delivery to take us closer to personalized and precision medicine.

    Research firm Tractica says healthcare is expected to be one of the biggest drivers for body sensors citing connected wearable patches as a key driver. Applications of wearable patches are not just for consumers but will fall into sports, enterprise and industrial markets as well. Tractica forecasts that body sensor shipments are expected to increase to 68 million in 2021 from 2.7 million units in 2015.

    Where to start? Sweat. Monitoring sweat as a key biometric is not new. Sweat contains biomarkers like sodium, glucose and proteins that can be collected and measured non-invasively using sensors. Sweat has been used to monitor other conditions like cystic fibrosis, but now sweat can be used to monitor nutritional deficiencies, ion imbalances, elevated glucose levels and inflammation that industrial workers experience. Sweat can even tell a doctor if your medicines are not working properly....

    Forbes Full Article

    Struktur; the creative conference for active, outdoor and urban design!

    I am so excited to be heading to Portland to participate in Struktur again in two weeks, and cannot recommend this conference enough to any designers in the outdoor, active or urban design space.

    And with the topic of Inflection point this year being spot on, the size of the vibrant super connective event doubling all the more reason to come join the fun festive mind bending event. I am moderating a panel "Reframing Wearables" while there are panels on Female Leadership, Biomimicry, Futurecasting and so much more.  I cannot wait!
    (wow and just found my tall last year, I was a bit under the weather but hey, there it is! ;)

    Here is the topic description for 2017!

    Inflection Point

    Futurists describe an inflection point as a moment when the range of possible futures suddenly shifts. As designers, we must prepare ourselves for success within the context of these new possibilities.

    Against the backdrop of disruptions in climate, trade, and manufacturing, new practices of generative design, bio-materials, and automation are moving into focus. Sustainability and ‘Made in America’ stories are shifting from novelty to necessity. As technical and performance gear continue to merge into the mainstream, the active and outdoor industries are well positioned to be a major influencer in what we wear.

    Struktur Event was founded on the idea that a strong design community is vital for innovation and growth. We are committed to fostering a community where design and industry professionals can share ideas, build relationships, and tackle these important topics with integrity and respect.

    Come to Struktur Event 2017 and position yourself for success."

    The U.S. Military selects winners of THE national challenge to redesign chembio Warfighter suits

    The winners of the US government’s “Chembio Suit Proof Challenge” were announced January 12, 2017.  This was an open design challenge and the first of its kind to source ideas for government innovation from all levels of the public and private sector regardless of funding.

    It was an honor to be a judge in this process to source concepts from the public and help select the 12 concepts which will move on to be developed with funding and collaboration from the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical Biological Defense in order to update the chembio suit for the first time in decades. 

    WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 13, 2017) – The Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense has awarded 12 prizes to winners of the s Proof Challenge – a chembio suit design challenge that called on the public to submit designs and ideas for a new suit.  Finalists came from a variety of fields that ranged from students to engineers. A total of $250,000 was awarded to 12 participants/teams.

    “We were excited to use the Proof Challenge to reach out to the general public, beyond our military resources and experts, to source ideas and solutions for innovation,” says LeRoy Garey, the Proof Challenge Product Manager.  “The thinking, attention to detail and fresh ideas were astounding, exceeding what we expected.  This type of public collaboration is something we look forward to tapping into in the future – joining forces with the Americans we serve to help protect this country and our Warfighters.”

    Proof Challenge winners include:

    Challenge Finalists

    Idea Name: Increase Dexterity & Tactility ChemBio Suit
    Team Members: Shana Kaplan, Madeline Haas, Itohan Asemota, Nicole Raab, Angela Villanueva, and Jess Roberts

    Idea Name: JSLIST Rapid Cooling System (RCS) & Integrated Cooling Ensemble
    Team Members: Steven Link, Barret Schlegelmilch, Jonathan Lovett, Eric Hinterman, and Phillip Ebben

    Idea Name:  SPIDER© Suit Grey Matter
    Team Members: Thomas Luginbill, Brandy Johnson, Aaron Brauner, Steve Winters, and Steve Luginbill

    Challenge Semifinalists/Runners-Up

    Idea Name: ChemBio Duck Combat Duck Boot
    Team Members: Michele Putko, Robert Putko, Catherine Putko, and Marie Putko

    Idea Name: A More Fitted Hood
    Team Members: William Gabler, Cassandra Kwon, Minyoung Suh, Marc Mathews, Hilary Smith, Caitlin McCall, and Raquel Weis

    Idea Name: Hybrid Glove Concept
    Team Members: Steve Santaniello

    Semifinalists/Second Runners-Up

    Idea Name: Improved Glove Fit
    Team Member: Roland Bruyns

    Idea Name: Custom Articulated Garments for Optimal Dexterity
    Team Members: Leanne Luce, Ryan Brady, Kevin Galloway, Neil Tagner, and Matthew Borgatti

    Idea Name: AgileWear
    Team Members: Brian Kane, Gen Leonard, Karma Malhas, and Catherine Andreozzi

    Idea Name: Closure Control
    Team Members: Devon Willard, Chelsey Pyne, and Keren Espina

    Challenge Side Prize Winners

    Game Changer: Pulse Electric Textile for ChemBio Protection
    Team Members: Francisco J. Martinez, Howard Eglewstein, and Bettina Pasquantonio

    Influencer: Grey Matter
    Team Members: Thomas Luginbill

    Winners will be showcased on the Proof Challenge Facebook page and will work with JPEO-CBD on the next steps of bringing their suit ideas to reality.

    About the Proof Challenge: The Proof Challenge sourced innovative ideas for solutions to increase mobility, dexterity and tactility, allowing the Warfighter to complete all relevant tasks (including running, climbing, etc.) in a fast and comfortable manner.  Also sourced were ideas for heat management that reduce heat burden and actively cool the Warfighter as various physical tasks are conducted.  For more information on the Proof Challenge, please visit www.proofchallenge.com.

    Felischa Marye
    213.341.0171, ext. 750

    Photography Resources to up Your Game

    As I have allowed myself to dive back into one of my oldest loves, photography, and revisit as an art, and not just a design research tool, I have found a lot of great resources to support me in this freedom and journey.  And as I have been sharing them right left and sideways with folks, it became evident, this was worth a quick post.  All approach the goal of improving from different perspectives so pick your poison, or if you are like me go all in!

    If you do nothing else, go to the website of professional photographer Ken Rockwell which is a wealth of knowledge on so many levels.  He has apps in the itunes store which are absolutely worth buying for your camera, you only need to pay the 4.99 for your camera specifically and I am constantly learning new things about my equipment as he cuts through the BS.  If you want to go deeper, he appears to be based in California and does workshops there which I highly recommend (human time is irreplaceable, even with youtube videos) but it is his break down of each type of camera and lense for that camera, cutting through the jargon, and explaining what they actually mean, which is invaluable.  The website is helpful, but the app is the way to go.

    Subscribing to Tobias van Schneider's newsletter and website is a must for any creative.  And although I have a love hate relationship with instagram, it is a reality of our creative world, and his post on "how-i-edit-my-pictures-for-instagram" like all of his writing is very accessible, meticulous and intense, but inspiring.  It will up your game even if you only decide you might start taking your iphone shots in the Cortex Cam app instead of the iphone standard camera app. 

    Improvement is incremental and a practice.

    And last, if this isn't already clear, go find humans.  I highly suggest going to a workshop first.  I like the Boston Photography Workshop for the approachable teaching style, realistic scope of content in each class -- I have real skills to add it to my tool kit, and they will stick, and affordable rates.  I have taken night and editing, to learn the former and spiff up the latter, and am looking forwards to the soon to be added classes in portraiture, landscape and travel.

    From a more theoretical approach to the creative journey, in general, and specifically, written by a deeply thoughtful, humble but talented photographer, I really enjoy David Duchemin's book, Beautiful Anarchy, which you can buy and download here. His website is full of other awesome tools and inspiring resources to up your game from a guy who has been at it for a while and has journeyed through the highs and lows of being a professional creative.

    I think once you have a few workshops under your belt for skill building, then meet ups are a great way to challenge yourself with new styles and situations.  Instagram and google searches bring up loads.


    "As Long as There Are No Capes, Wearables Can Only Improve Human Health"

    Really enjoying this posting from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Blog of President Travis Mcreedy.  We had an amazing meeting last week, and he runs an awesome organization Massachusetts Life Sciences which is well worth checking out as tech, life sciences, the body and designer all increasingly intersect and drive innovation.  But I will let his writing tell you!

    From the Massachusetts Life Sciences Blog
    By Travis Mcreedy.

    "This past week, I met Edna.  Well, in fact, I met four Ednas, and one of them is a man.

    For those of you not familiar with the 2004 Disney animated film The Incredibles, Edna was one of the most memorable characters, responsible for providing all the superheroes with their high-tech kit.  Imagine if Versace and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) could somehow have a child, it would be Edna – designer of high-tech, smart fabrics that functionally enhance human performance that are, equally, human-centered and haute couture.  As someone with children who are equal parts athlete, geek, and fashionista, I am not ashamed to say that meeting four real life Ednas was exceptionally cool.

    Yuly Fuentes-Medel, Julianne Gauron, Yolita Nugent, and Adam Whiton are among the avant-garde of “convergence” innovators – capable scientists on the cutting edge, who mash together computer/data science, biology, engineering, and the arts – targeting wearables as a vector for enhancing human performance.  Between the four, they have worked with organizations such as North Face, New Balance, and TJX.  A latest project for the US Department of Defense was to redesign infantry’s “ballistic combat shirt” with properties that are flame retardant,  withstand small arms fire…and are more comfortable and lighter to wear than a soldier’s current kit.

    Mses. Fuentes-Medel, Gauron, Nugent and Messr. Whiton envision wearables as an extension of the human nervous system – a complex, human-centric technology that senses, takes in data, analyzes that data, then reacts.  This approach requires fundamentally rethinking not only science, but also fashion, textiles and manufacturing.  The possibilities in the health care context are endless…and Massachusetts, with its ‘digital health’, life sciences, and manufacturing expertise, is poised to lead the way.  Local companies like MC10 out of Lexington are recognized leaders in developing flexible electronic fabrics for health care uses, including everything from hydration monitoring and head impact measuring to biodegradable implants.  And the community will only get stronger with this summer’s addition of multibillion dollar wearables giant Flextronics International to the Boston Innovation District.

    “Life sciences” is more than just biotech, pharma and drugs.  At the MLSC, our mandate covers the medical device, diagnostics and bioinformatics sectors as well, and having such subsector diversity contributes to our unique, strong and resilient life sciences ecosystem. It would appear that in this diversity, we have all the ingredients to innovate and lead in medical, human-centric wearables. According to health thinktank Rock Health, Massachusetts has the fourth most vibrant digital health sector in the US. Phillips, and its Internet of Things (IoT)/Wearables division have a large presence in Massachusetts, along with medical device leaders Johnson & Johnson, Boston Scientific, Hologic, and Medtronic and health IT juggernaut IBM Watson Health.  Researchers at our medical institutions like Mass. Eye and Ear, Boston Children’s, and Harvard Medical School are also exploring wearables and how to deliver hard to administer drugs to better ensure patient adherence.  And let’s not forget that this spring, Massachusetts was named as the headquarters for the $317MM public-private Revolutionary Fiber and Textile Manufacturing Innovation Institute.

    As Edna from The Incredibles said, “I never look back, darling.  It distracts from the now.”  And right now, Massachusetts is experiencing a wearable tech moment."

    WT VOX "Top 5 Technologies Transforming The Fashion Industry By 2020"

    Top 5 Technologies Transforming The Fashion Industry By 2020

    By Martin Smith
    Posted on 30th August 2016

    Top 5 Technologies Transforming The Fashion Industry By 2020

    If you look back and carefully, analyse how you have spent your last 6 hours of the day you notice that you have had countless moments of interaction with the internet.

    Quietly, in the background, your life is becoming increasingly connected and dependent on your devices; smartphones, connected objects, IoT architectures and digital platforms that are silently taking over the cities.

    But how are these technological advancements affecting the fashion world? Can technology reach the fashion industry and alter its core and if so, to what extent?

    Already signalling profound shifts in the fashion industry, here is my top 5 technologies transforming the fashion industry, finishing line 2020.

    Read article in full on WT TOX site here

    WT TOX Innovation in Fashion.
    The most trustworthy, authoritative resource in Wearable Tech and Fashion Tech.

    Business of Fashion Op-Ed | A New Toolkit for Designers

    Really enjoyed this op-ed by friend and collaborator Todd Harple in a recent BoF on the intersection of technology and fashion, from his perspective as Director of pathfinding and innovation strategy at Intel. 

    A dress by Chromat, featuring Intel curie devices | Source: Courtesy

    A dress by Chromat, featuring Intel curie devices | Source: Courtesy

    NEW YORK, United States — It’s New York Fashion Week, and there is a frenzy backstage as models are worked into their dresses and mob the assembled engineers for instructions of how to operate the technology that magically transforms a subtle gesture into a glowing garment suggestive of the bioluminescence of jellyfish. I know there’s not enough time for them to do their work. Almost instinctively, I find the designer and bargain for 20 more minutes.

    While I wonder to myself how I got here, backstage at a runway show, I also know I am witnessing what may be the harbinger of how a fourth industrial revolution is set to change fashion, resulting in a new materiality of computation that will transform a certain slice of fashion designers into the “developers” of a whole new category of clothing. By driving new partnerships in tools, materials and technologies, this revolution has the potential to dramatically reshape how we produce fashion at a scale not seen since the invention of the jacquard loom.

    The jacquard loom, as it happens, inspired the earliest computers. Ever since, textile development and technology have been on an interwoven path — sometimes more loosely knit, but becoming increasingly tighter in the last five years. Around that time, my colleagues and I embarked on a project in our labs to look at “fashion tech,” which at the time was a fringe term. These were pioneers daring to — sometimes literally — weave together technology and clothing to drive new ways of thinking about the “shape” of computation. But as we looked around the fashion industry, it became clear that designers lacked the tools to harness the potential of new technologies...

    here for the full article