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 TheAtlantic.com/Innovation.
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