Innovation Summit

May 8, 2012
Washington, DC, District of Columbia


A first for The Atlantic, the magazine hosted an Innovation Summit at Reagan National Airport's Historic Lobby Terminal A on Tuesday, May 8. The full-day event featured a curated program of keynotes from industry and government leaders, “disruptor sessions” with cutting-edge innovators, and panel discussions focused on U.S. competitiveness, advanced manufacturing, and energy innovation.  Boeing, the event underwriter, welcomed guests to tour the new 787 Dreamliner, which runs on biofuels and is 20% more fuel efficient than its predecessor. The innovation theme was woven throughout the day as speakers highlighted the importance of invention and ingenuity to advancing the American economy and improving the standard of living worldwide.

iRobot Chief Strategy Officer Joseph Dyer engaged guests on and off the stage with an interactive robot session. According to Dyer, robots are positioned to contribute greatly to society over the coming decades, facilitating independent living for baby boomers while helping to advise retail customers from all demographic groups on purchases and implementation.

Google’s Chief Technology Advocate Michael T. Jones had audience members riveted as he explained how Google is furthering access to information and truth through its various products, including Google Earth and Google glasses. His comments became catch-phrases on Twitter: “Innovation is about failure,”  “Successful companies are those that reinvent themselves,” and “You can’t manage success,” were amongst the most quoted during the Summit and beyond.

In a keynote address, ARPA-E Director Arun Majumdar said America’s greatest resource is its ingenuity. Fostering this ingenuity, however, is a bit more nuanced. In the final session of the day, Nobel Laureate Peter Agre explained that ingenuity requires incidental discovery as much as goal-focused innovation. The day’s program served as a springboard to further discussion and debate about innovation at a special report hub on The Atlantic’s website and on Twitter, where participants used #InnovateSummit to join the conversation. We invite you to join it, too.

For more on-the-ground coverage, photos, and insights from the Innovation Summit, visit

Watch archive video footage of the program below.












Presented by

Atlantic Live


  • Rathindra DasGupta
    Rathindra DasGupta Program Director, Innovation Corps National Science Foundation Directorate for Engineering
  • Joseph Dyer
    Joseph Dyer Chief Strategy Officer iRobot
  • Patrick Gallagher
    Patrick Gallagher Director, National Institute of Standards and Technology U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Phil Giudice
    Phil Giudice Chief Executive Officer Liquid Metal Battery
  • Michael Jones
    Michael Jones Chief Technology Advocate Google
  • Katrina Landis
    Katrina Landis Chief Executive Officer, Alternative Energy BP
  • John Loehr
    John Loehr Partner, Engineered Products and Services Practice and Co-author of the "Global Innovation 1,000 Index" Booz & Co.
  • Arun Majumdar
    Arun Majumdar Director, ARPA-E U.S. Department of Energy
  • Jim McNerney
    Jim McNerney Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer The Boeing Company
  • Samuel Palmisano
    Samuel Palmisano Chairman of the Board IBM Corporation
  • Mason Peck
    Mason Peck Chief Technologist NASA
  • Sophie Vandebroek
    Sophie Vandebroek Chief Technology Officer and President of the Xerox Innovation Group Xerox
  • Ben Wang
    Ben Wang Executive Director, Manufacturing Research Center Georgia Institute of Technology


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