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Global innovation magazine_issue10

Title: "NYU Stern Innovators". Author: Clifford Thornton. Publication: Global Innovation Magazine. Issue 10. January 2017. Pg. 20. More details: Cliff Thornton takes us back to his old University and discovers some of the exciting and innovating companies that some of the alumni are spearheading.

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ISSUE 10
JAN 2017
	 Innovating with
Team Sky
a new product that
has got the world of
swimming talking
-
The
Powerbreather
How to Put a Value on an
Athlete’s Brand?
-
Tactical
Sports
Software
Published by SoMoGo Publishing/ admin@somogopublishing.co.uk/ www.somogopublishing.co.uk
Global Innovation Magazine is published every quarter /Copyright SoMoGo Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be stored or transmitted
or reproduced in any form or by any means, including photocopying, scanning, or otherwise without the written permission of SoMoGo Publishing Ltd. Views expressed in
this magazine are not necessarily those of the publishers. Acceptance of advertisements does not imply official endorsement of the products or services described. While care
has been taken to ensure accuracy of content no responsibility can be taken for errors and/or emissions. Readers should take advice and caution before acting upon any issue
raised in the magazine. The publisher reserves the right to accept or to reject advertising and editorial material supplied. The publisher assumes no responsibility for the safe
return of unsolicited photography, art or writing.
FOUNDER James O’Flynn CREATIVE DIRECTOR Aidan Creed
FOLLOW US ON TWITTER FACEBOOK
CONTENTS APRIL 2016
002 | FOUNDERS VOICE
	THE SPORTS ISSUE
004 | 	AMSilk & Adidas
	 Jens Klein CEO of AMSilk talks to us about 	
	 the trainer collaboration with Adidas 		
	 that produced a pair of biodegradable 	
	 trainers using AmSilk’s innovative 		
	 material Biosteel© (a nature based high 		
	 performance fibre).
006 | 	Brandix
	 Brandix gives football players and 		
	 clubs real time value based information 	
	 coming out of playing performance 		
	and off-field digital activity. Interview 		
	 with CEO Jon Rosenblatt - Jon talks 		
	about his journey from post room at 		
	 Virgin to CEO of one of the most 		
	 exciting start-ups in the UK.
008 | 	Globall Coach
	The Globall Coach software has evolved 	
	 from a tool devised by football coach 	
	Rafael Benitez, to become one of the most 	
	 talked about companies operating within 	
	 the world of football. Special Projects 	
	Manager, Ciaran Skinner, gives us the 		
	 inside take on working within one of
	 the most glamourous sports in the 		
	 world, and how things are not always as 	
	 they seem.
010 | 	Team Sky
	 Are a British professional cycling 		
	 team that compete in the UCI World 		
	Tour, and arguably are one of the 		
	 most successful teams in modern 		
	 sport. We talked to Simon Jones the Head 	
	 of Innovation and Performance to hear 	
	about his career, and how ‘being in the 		
	 right place, at the right time’ was crucial.
014 | 	Kitman Labs
	Kitman Labs was founded by Stephen 		
	Smith, a former Irish rugby head trainer. 	
	Starting in 2012 Stephen and the team 		
	aim to turn abstract data into real-time 	
	actionable insights, ultimately reducing 	
	 player injuries and optimizing athlete 		
	performance.
016 | 	News
	 A few things that caught our gaze.
018 | 	The Powerbreather
	Interview with Jan von Hofacker who 		
	 talks to us about this innovative new 		
	 product that has got the world of 		
	 swimming talking.
020 | 	NYU Stern Innovators
	Cliff Thornton takes us back to his old 		
	University and discovers some of the 		
	 exciting and innovating companies that 	
	 some of the alumni are spearheading.
GLOBAL INNOVATION | JAN 2017
FOUNDER’S VOICE THE SPORTS ISSUE
As a fan of the football team, Leicester City, 2016, for me is not going to
be a year that is ever going to be repeated. What I mean by this is that
my little team, a team not over washed with success during its history,
won arguably the greatest prize in world club football, the Premier
League during 2016.
2016 brought so much happiness to this small part of the world. I
watched every game with anticipation and a perplexing sense of wonder,
because never, ever, had I seen my team play this way before. As a father
of 3 young boys however I did have to explain to them that this doesn’t
really happen to Leicester City Football Club, and that they should suck
it up, because it will never happen again.
2016 also brought us Leicester City fans back down to earth because
a new season started. Within this new season we have shown our old
qualities again, our very old ones which means we are now losing more
than we win. It’s not easy, and to quote the band ‘James’ in their seminal
hit ‘Sit Down’, “If I hadn’t see such riches I could live with being poor”.
Anyway, chin up. This is our sports issue of 2017, and the 2015/16
football season was my sporting moment of a lifetime. I hope you enjoy
the issue as well as finding it interesting enough to dig out some of the
companies and products featured.
Best
James O’Flynn
Founder
JAMES@GLOBALINNOVATIONMAGAZINE.COM
©VisitBritain
founders voice |002
GLOBAL INNOVATION | JAN 2017

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Global innovation magazine_issue10

  • 1. ISSUE 10 JAN 2017 Innovating with Team Sky a new product that has got the world of swimming talking - The Powerbreather How to Put a Value on an Athlete’s Brand? - Tactical Sports Software
  • 2. Published by SoMoGo Publishing/ admin@somogopublishing.co.uk/ www.somogopublishing.co.uk Global Innovation Magazine is published every quarter /Copyright SoMoGo Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be stored or transmitted or reproduced in any form or by any means, including photocopying, scanning, or otherwise without the written permission of SoMoGo Publishing Ltd. Views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the publishers. Acceptance of advertisements does not imply official endorsement of the products or services described. While care has been taken to ensure accuracy of content no responsibility can be taken for errors and/or emissions. Readers should take advice and caution before acting upon any issue raised in the magazine. The publisher reserves the right to accept or to reject advertising and editorial material supplied. The publisher assumes no responsibility for the safe return of unsolicited photography, art or writing. FOUNDER James O’Flynn CREATIVE DIRECTOR Aidan Creed FOLLOW US ON TWITTER FACEBOOK
  • 3. CONTENTS APRIL 2016 002 | FOUNDERS VOICE THE SPORTS ISSUE 004 | AMSilk & Adidas Jens Klein CEO of AMSilk talks to us about the trainer collaboration with Adidas that produced a pair of biodegradable trainers using AmSilk’s innovative material Biosteel© (a nature based high performance fibre). 006 | Brandix Brandix gives football players and clubs real time value based information coming out of playing performance and off-field digital activity. Interview with CEO Jon Rosenblatt - Jon talks about his journey from post room at Virgin to CEO of one of the most exciting start-ups in the UK. 008 | Globall Coach The Globall Coach software has evolved from a tool devised by football coach Rafael Benitez, to become one of the most talked about companies operating within the world of football. Special Projects Manager, Ciaran Skinner, gives us the inside take on working within one of the most glamourous sports in the world, and how things are not always as they seem. 010 | Team Sky Are a British professional cycling team that compete in the UCI World Tour, and arguably are one of the most successful teams in modern sport. We talked to Simon Jones the Head of Innovation and Performance to hear about his career, and how ‘being in the right place, at the right time’ was crucial. 014 | Kitman Labs Kitman Labs was founded by Stephen Smith, a former Irish rugby head trainer. Starting in 2012 Stephen and the team aim to turn abstract data into real-time actionable insights, ultimately reducing player injuries and optimizing athlete performance. 016 | News A few things that caught our gaze. 018 | The Powerbreather Interview with Jan von Hofacker who talks to us about this innovative new product that has got the world of swimming talking. 020 | NYU Stern Innovators Cliff Thornton takes us back to his old University and discovers some of the exciting and innovating companies that some of the alumni are spearheading.
  • 4. GLOBAL INNOVATION | JAN 2017 FOUNDER’S VOICE THE SPORTS ISSUE As a fan of the football team, Leicester City, 2016, for me is not going to be a year that is ever going to be repeated. What I mean by this is that my little team, a team not over washed with success during its history, won arguably the greatest prize in world club football, the Premier League during 2016. 2016 brought so much happiness to this small part of the world. I watched every game with anticipation and a perplexing sense of wonder, because never, ever, had I seen my team play this way before. As a father of 3 young boys however I did have to explain to them that this doesn’t really happen to Leicester City Football Club, and that they should suck it up, because it will never happen again. 2016 also brought us Leicester City fans back down to earth because a new season started. Within this new season we have shown our old qualities again, our very old ones which means we are now losing more than we win. It’s not easy, and to quote the band ‘James’ in their seminal hit ‘Sit Down’, “If I hadn’t see such riches I could live with being poor”. Anyway, chin up. This is our sports issue of 2017, and the 2015/16 football season was my sporting moment of a lifetime. I hope you enjoy the issue as well as finding it interesting enough to dig out some of the companies and products featured. Best James O’Flynn Founder JAMES@GLOBALINNOVATIONMAGAZINE.COM
  • 7. AMSILK & ADIDAS |004 AMSILK & ADIDAS Collaboration and Creation adidas has partnered with AMSilk to develop the first premium innovation footwear made using silk biopolymers. What this means in real terms is that they have together developed the world’s first performance shoe using Biosteel® fiber, which is a replication of natural silk. Take this one step further and it means that the trainer is 100% biodegradable in a fully natural process. This continues the adidas’ journey towards sustainable innovation – from a starting point of virgin plastics, to recycled plastics, to its partnership with Parley for the Oceans and now a totally new frontier of investing in solutions that leverage science and nature as an integral part of innovation. Collaborating with adidas provides a unique set of exciting opportunities for AMSilk, as did the initial development phase so Jens Klein, CEO of AMSilk, told GIM’s James O’Flynn. Tell us about yourself Jens. I grew up in the south of Germany with 2 sisters and studied business administration at University. I worked as a management consultant for some time, and earned an MBA whilst in New York. I grew up in Stuttgart. Working in America was great, New York is one of my favourite cities. Tell us about your work at AMSilk I am CEO of AMSilk, where we are providing silk biopolymers with unique functional properties. We are producing them sustainably using a patented and optimised biotechnological process, which is very mindful regarding the use of energy and carbon. This makes us a leader in the field of industrial biotechnology. We hope that our products will have a huge effect on the protection of the environment, one example being, the shoe we have just made with adidas, which is fully biodegradable. How did this collaboration with adidas occur? We came up with the bionic fiber, which has all of this environmental integrity, and we spoke to and got into conversation with adidas. There was a good connection and the relationship developed. The product that came out of this work with adidas looks cool and it has all the properties of a high-performance shoe, and at the same time you have a fiber which is biodegradable and unique. The future of this material is really exciting. What is your companies approach towards innovation? In general innovation is an effort which takes years so you need good leadership and resource management. Innovation should be part of your business strategy. We have great ideas of course, but it boils down to making it happen, to bringing it to market and that takes time and effort. We encourage our staff to come forward with ideas which is also really important for innovation. We want to be a major player with our products so we have to be quite diligent and focused upon the innovation process. What advice would you have for your younger self on your first day at work? Be interested and excited but keep some excitement back for the months to come. Take a deep, long breath! Any books you would recommend to our readers? I like this book a lot, ‘Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk’ by Peter Bernstein. Risk is so important in business and we often forget that, this book places risk front and centre and I found it to be really useful. What words of advice have a family member given you? My parents always told me to walk the talk and to be reliable. Especially when you work in a small organisation like AMSilk, ‘walking the talk’ means a lot, it is really important. What are you currently working on? The most important thing is to take our product to the world and to make it available to people everywhere. We are really proud of it and we think that it can have a definite impact in so many different future products and innovations.
  • 8. GLOBAL INNOVATION | JAN 2017 Brandtix IN A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN. Brandtix are the sports industry’s first ever global index platform, for real time athlete brand value analytics. What does this mean? In short Brandtix take several streams of data in relation to athlete’s, from their performance and sporting prowess to their social media value and combine them to enable understanding in relation to each athlete’s brand. If that still doesn’t make sense, it all becomes much clearer from talking to their CEO Jon Rosenblatt, which is what Global Innovation Magazine did. Tell us about yourself I grew up in Liverpool, until I was about 13 then I moved down south. I was educated in Hertfordshire from 13 to 18 at Aldenham school. Did my A-Levels there, and ended up doing a theology degree at Oxford Brookes. When I was 21 I knew that theology wasn’t going to be for me, and I always wanted to get into entertainment, I wasn’t sure how or when it would happen but I knew that it was for me, music, TV, Video games that whole world was so exciting. I landed a temp job in the post room at Virgin Interactive which was Richard Branson’s original gaming company. I was basically in the post room but part of my job, i.e. delivering mail meant that I got to meet lots of interesting people, lots of the executives, and I got to know some of them quite well. That then got the head of PR to realise that I could be good for them, as I was good at talking to people. That is what PR is isn’t it? Literally from that day on I was in the video games business for about 20 years. I worked for big corporations like EA Sports and Ubisoft. At EA Sports I become Marketing Director for Europe and Asia. Amazing time and amazing years. So why start Brandtix? I did feel like there was an opportunity being missed, I have always been analytic and insight driven. In marketing I think you can be either creative or analytic and I am very analytically driven. For any Chief Marketing Officer today I think you need that perfect blend between art and science and if you have got that you’re onto a winner. Brandtix was created a year ago, to solve the challenge I had at EA Sports which was working with sport talent to endorse a product, but never really truly understanding the value of the brand on 2 legs. So, if I look at Ronaldo, Lebron James or Rory Mcllroy they are brands, they just happen to also be humans. We would end up spending a fortune with consultants in the past trying to work this out and often all we got were very old reports, based upon old thinking that didn’t really produce value. It dawned on me that to understand an athlete’s value on any given day you had to take lots of data streams and put them together in real time. So, with someone like Ronaldo for example we are taking performance data i.e. how he performs on the pitch, and blending the on-pitch stats over the course of a period of time, together with his social media statistics, where the fans are coming from, when and how they are engaged, and wrapping sentiment analysis around this to understand the fans discussion. We have built a 24/7 index currently of 1500 footballers across the Premier League and Champions League. We are now looking at branching this out across multiple sports, both team based and individual. Things are going really well. What were the challenging parts of the journey? The tough bits are trying to convince investors that you are going to disrupt a very established consultancy and way of business. Sports as an industry is the most exciting sector in the world. However as forward thinking as they are , only last year was a billion dollars spent in sports technology which is not a lot of money if you compare the market and compare it next to other markets like fintech. Sports sponsorship on its own is worth 60 billion dollars and yet only a billion was invested in the tech side of things. It is changing though. This is where the opportunity is for us. What is your current business model? Clubs may take our product for one player, or a brand may take if for all their boot wearers, there are lots of different kinds of customers and opportunities. We sell a subscription to our product which provides incredibly rich data and the opportunity to get insight via reports. Subscription
  • 9. to our dashboard, reporting and customisation of our tools are all areas that customers can buy. We want to be across all sports and this is our ambition but presently we are football and Formula One focused. We are looking at moving quite quickly into other areas though. No one does quite what we do, by wrapping up sentiment data and performance data to come up with one overall score. There are some great data sports companies around sponsorship and social indexing, but our advantage is that we are unique. Do you find it a challenge to get the right staff? I think that we have been really lucky, in the sense that we have been able to attract talent that want to work on really cool products. Developers that we have met in the past perhaps, whilst they may have had the experience and expertise, have perhaps found that it can be culturally quite different to go from working in a bank or insurance company to working for a start-up. We are seeing more and more interest in people wanting to work for us. Any books that you would recommend? Leading by Alex Ferguson was brilliant. I think he was one the most incredible leaders the world has ever known. Do you have any words of advice for people looking to follow their business dreams? I think ‘focus’ is something which needs to be at the forefront of what you are doing. 30 people will give you 30 different bits of advice so if you try and follow everyone you will get nowhere. How is the business going? It has been a huge challenge we are a young start up in a very competitive space, but we are getting traction now. Since the start of the season things have been going great. We have been voted one of the best tech start up’s in the world, we are getting there but to do anything properly, it does take time. BRANDTIX |006
  • 10. GLOBAL INNOVATION | JAN 2017 Globall Coach Coaching on a Global Scale Soccer or football as us Brits prefer to call it, has no shortage of money floating around it, and you would think that would equate to an eco-structure that was at the forefront of innovation, and development. Well, that’s not quite as you would probably think, but things are accelerating at a massive pace currently. There are a number of start-ups and more established companies that are focusing on technology, software and analytics to support the beautiful game. Globall Coach are one such company, who are taking the coaches thoughts on tactics and approaches towards the game and making them adaptable and visualised for all staff and players to see. In the old days, a manager would move magnets around a board, or use a marker to illustrate tactics. Globall Coach enables this all to be done digitally, via software. Global Innovation Magazine spoke to Ciaran Skinner, special projects manager at Globall Coach to get his take on how football has evolved to embrace this new type of technology. Can you tell us a bit about yourself Ciaran? I’m the special projects manager, the man in the middle between the users of software, clubs, coaches etc. and my colleagues at Globall Coach. Our new ideas all come from the users, so it’s my job to ensure that the customers are happy with it and to feedback any improvements that are suggested. Feedback tells us that our product is the closest thing to football that is out there. I’m 25 and a massive fan of football, grew up in Sheffield and went to university in Liverpool and studied human biology. I came across Globall Coach via a previous job, and I told them that I loved the product, started working for them, worked really hard and naturally fell into the role that I do now. Can you give us an overview of the product. There is nothing else out there like us, and we don’t really have many rivals, paper and pen perhaps, because if you need to get ideas out of your head as a coach then that’s what you probably use. We are designed for the professional sports arena to help coaches with the delivery of tactics. We make life a lot easier and give great presentation options. It’s a central hub for all the ideas and tactics towards the development of the team. When we start to show people the product people start to get enthused and it starts to click and people get excited. The software looks the same on all platforms and people are really responsive to it. The tactics come from the coach, they may have analysed the opposition, they may have an idea as to how they will approach the game, but it’s when they tell the players this, when we come in. They can use Globall Coach and create animations really quickly. Every coach can have a log in and share with other staff and players.
  • 11. GLOBALL COACH |008 Where did the idea come from? Our CEO worked for the football coach Rafael Benitez, as part of his staff. Rafael needed to get some of his tactics across as part of an event and the idea came from there. It came from inside football. The insight that we get from all parts of the game is so valuable, we can come up with ideas but if I talk to a professional coach we get to hear direct what is needed. As we are unique we can’t necessarily borrow or innovate from others who are doing the same thing, because no one really is doing what we do. It must be a dream job for a football fan? It is, yes. Although for other fans looking in the reality is probably not quite what people would imagine. Its hard work but rewarding, particularly working with customers, coaches, players and getting feedback and then using that to improve the product. What is the business model? It’s an annual license, so we have one product for professional football, but this market is not as big as you would think. We have another product called Globall Coach Junior which is for the grass roots teams. It is popular in America where they have an incredible amount of youth players and the market is really big for that particular product. Do you have a particular approach towards innovation? We have an in-house development team, they are really talented so it’s great to be working with them. We are honest, so if we can’t do something we are quite upfront, which I think is refreshing. We work with Agile in short sprints and iterate constantly so there is value being delivered all the time for customers. We can get fast feedback from customers this way and rather than doing all the planning up front with slow delivery, we are fast because we are delivering after every sprint. Is there any advice you wish you would have had at the start of this journey? I have worked really hard and the software is becoming successful and getting better. You just need to make sure that you focus on what is needed ‘now’ for the customer. Sometimes people miss the focus on the product, and developing it via speaking to the customer. That’s really important. I was always think that football gets a bad reputation and that it gets hit with a big stick, but other sports can learn a lot from football. There are some really clever things going on at the moment. Learn more about Globall Coach at their website www.globallcoach.com
  • 13. TEAM SKY |010 Innovating at Team Sky ‘Innovation is very seldom this eureka moment, it comes from a lot of hard graft’. Team sky are the cycling team that need very little introduction. Suffice to say that they are the cycling team that the man on the Clapham omnibus could name. What is also quite well known about this cycling team is that they have a culture of success, of perfection and endeavour to reach the very top, and you don’t get to that place without innovation being part of your dna. To that end it made perfect sense for Global Innovation Magazine to talk to Team Sky’s, Head of Performance Support and Innovation, Simon Jones, to get the lowdown on innovation at Team Sky. Tell me a bit about yourself Simon? I come from Bristol. I was a really keen cyclist from a young age, from about 11 that was my passion and I always used to watch the cycling on television, particularly the Tour de France. Academically, I wasn’t great at school, I always just wanted to be a bike rider, I grew up on the edge of quite a rough part of Bristol and my memories of school are not great to be honest. I followed my passion for cycling and raced in France for a year as an amateur, I wanted to be a pro but didn’t make it. My friend then told me about a degree course called ‘sport science’. I managed to get enough A-Levels for me to think about pursuing that course. Back then though there wasn’t really the career path in sport that there is today, unless you were a pro. I went to Cardiff University in 1992, I managed to get on that course without having a massive science background. I learnt quite quickly and realised that physics was a massive part of cycling, and found that really interesting. My interest wasn’t in the academics per se, but really in the application, so taking the science and applying it to particular situations. Do you live in the Bristol area? I do. I moved back recently after spending years in Manchester UK, and before that some time in Australia.
  • 14. GLOBAL INNOVATION | JAN 2017 What did you do after University? I got a job with British Cycling, as a sports scientist on a part time basis, after seeing the ad in the Guardian newspaper. I remember flicking through and seeing the advert and being surprised to even see such a job. There really wasn’t many jobs in this area of sport back then. So, that was that, I did that for a few years and that was just before the lottery money came into the system. I then became an endurance coach, without too much experience of doing it beforehand actually. My career really has been about being in right place at the right time. Tell us about your role at Team Sky. I support the team, and I horizon scan in regards to knowledge. Looking for things that will improve the performance of the team is perhaps the easiest way to describe what I do. That sounds quite wide. It is, but we have a performance framework so I’m always looking at things that we know will have an impact. Our framework keeps us focused and in line with our culture. What is the culture at Team Sky? I guess it is one where people are never satisfied. We are always thinking about how we could do better, never standing still. The reason why? is perhaps that we just don’t like to lose, and if you don’t like losing that’s a great impetus for change and review. That’s the unsexy bit of innovation, there is a lot of intensity and soul searching. No one is settling for second best. Any examples that you can share with us as to how you have improved aspects of performance? If you’re looking at innovation from a continuous performance, improvement perspective, then there have been lots of examples as to how we have improved. Aerodynamics for one, we worked quite closely with other organisations on improving things in that area, Jaguar the car manufacturer for one. This area will always be key for us here, it is so important. Modelling and prediction are also another key area that we do lots of work around, looking at strategies around team and individual performance, then looking at how we can implement those key findings into the field of competition. Once we start thinking about problems we often find those small gains, those marginal gains are really important as we win and lose on that basis. The things that failed, are always the good ones to look back on as well. We tried to implement some ideas around having data displayed to the riders through various visual technology, heads up display that kind of thing, but it wasn’t quite there at the time. It’s not a new idea, but embedding it at that particular time, was just not working 100%. We got some great feedback though from the riders and that’s all part of the process of development. Innovation is very seldom this eureka moment, it comes from a lot of hard graft, but we are intensely focused and we are always searching for new opportunities for improvement. Are there any books or films that you would recommend to our readers? A really like space and space exploration, so the film ‘Interstellar’ was great. I am quite aware of the science behind it, at a lay level at least, so I got it. In terms of books I am more of a scanner and a flicker rather than a book reader. However I was listening to a podcast by Dr Michael Gervais the other day which was good, all around the psychology of high performance, I can recommend your readers looking into that and checking out his work. You can find out more about Team Sky at www.teamsky.com
  • 15. TEAM SKY |012 “we just don’t like to lose, and if you don’t like losing that’s a great impetus for change and review”
  • 16. GLOBAL INNOVATION | JAN 2017 Kitman Labs ALL THE RIGHT MOVES Kitman Labs are on a mission. To enable elite sports teams to win through injury reduction. In capturing relevant athlete data and applying algorithms grounded in scientific research, their products and services provide actionable insights on injury risk that allow coaches and staff to take preventative training and treatment actions before injuries occur. In doing so, teams can improve player availability and deliver stronger team results. James O’Flynn spoke to Founder and CEO Stephen Smith while he was traveling in Sydney Australia. Do you want to tell us a bit about your background? My background is that I worked in professional rugby for my entire career. I have always been fascinated by sports medicine. I started working for Leinster rugby where I was responsible for injury prevention and rehabilitation for the club. We put a lot of emphasis on getting athletes back to work as soon as we could. The bottom line though, was how could we prevent injury in the first place? The sports science evolution was just kicking off, we were the first northern hemisphere team, I think, to start using GPS, so we were very forward looking. However, at the start we had all this data and we didn’t know how to interpret it to fully utilise and understand what it meant. I decided to start a Masters looking into research around athletic injury and based on this we realised that we needed a solution to mitigate risk that was very individualised. To this end, I founded the company and looked to involve scientists and engineers, to provide the unique approach, that is Kitman Labs. It would be good to get an overview of Kitman Labs. We are a sports and data science company, we produce software and tools to manage sports science needs, and we are a data science company. We are unique in the sense that we place injuries at the centre of what we are doing, we relate all the data we collect back to injury events. What this allows us to do is to customise the data and how teams use it, to make important decisions around their athlete’s performance. Teams don’t just get software from us, we are the team behind their team. We have over 30 people with a unique blend of skills working on this day in and day out. This is something that our clients find valuable. It sounds like you cover a lot of data points, how do you make it easy for a team when dealing with this much data? We learn their workflow, the environment that they work in, and the demands that are placed on them so we can help teams focus on the biggest areas of impact. It is all about speed as you may only see your athletes for a short window each day, so collecting the data easily is crucial. Our solution means coaches don’t have to double handle data, or spend hours extrapolating data. We came from that background, we lived it and we are on a mission to make things better by reducing injuries in the teams and athletes that we work with. Having the idea for the business is one thing but making it a reality another matter. Yes, there were lots of challenges in those early days to be honest. Everyday. I think at the start we were trying to paint a vision for what we were doing, and trying to get people on board with that and getting people to understand where we wanted to go. Trying to get people to believe in the opportunity and that we could capitalise on it. That took lots of effort. Very definitely for us, we didn’t have a business background so it was a big jump to running a company, but I think that people understood that we were excited and passionate and that the approach that we took had some knock-on implications for not only elite sport, but for consumer driven spaces as well. So yes, it was hard in the early days but we are not unique, most companies have those challenges to overcome. Do you have a particular approach towards innovation in the company? Innovation is at the heart and soul of what we do, and I think that if we don’t innovate as a company we are dead. There are plenty of tools out there to collect and store information but what we are doing is trying to be smart about it, and build upon this to deliver back a layer of knowledge and insight that powers decision making. Innovation is key and drives everything we do. I don’t drive this on my own, all the team know it themselves and they drive and push innovation everyday.
  • 17. KITMAN LABS |014 We very definitely operate as one team. We are proud of this, we are all passionate about this, and we look for people to challenge. We certainly don’t want ‘yes’ men or women working here. We want staff with strong personalities and ideas. We are lucky as that’s the kind of people that are at the core of our company. They are quite hard things to judge in an interview when you’re looking for staff, things like talking truth to power? It is difficult and you don’t always get it right. We involve numerous people in the interview process. What we are looking for is key traits and a cultural fit. Once someone has showcased that they have the right skill set we look at things like personality. If they don’t fit with us we won’t be able to nurture them. It hugely important that they can get along with us and if they can that’s a great foundation on which to build. So how is the business progressing? Great. We have been going for 4 years now. Our first 2 years were very much bootstrapped, there were only 2 or 3 people working here. Now we have more than 30 people which introduces different challenges, but no, it’s really superb. We work across 21 different leagues and we are touching all corners of the world, India, New Zealand, Europe etc. We are disrupting, it’s different and really rewarding. We work across every kind of sport really, track, field, soccer, cricket and rugby to name a few. Are there any books or films that have really influenced you in some way recently? Yes, there are 2 books that I am passionate about. One is called ‘Legacy’ which is about the All Blacks. I absolutely love it, it is fascinating. Success doesn’t need to mean arrogance which is something that for me the New Zealand Rugby team never had. They were hugely successful but very grounded and I think that’s a book by James Kerr. The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle is also great and it is about how you can find talent in sport, looking at coaching, genetics etc. Fascinating read if you are interested in coaching. Are there any words of advice you wish you had heard at the start of this journey? Nobody can prepare you for how hard things will be or the problems you will have to overcome. If you want to have a go, and if you have a strong sense of belief and passion then go all in, 100%. Other people can’t tell you about the sense of pride that you will feel either, when you take those first few steps towards success. We are working with really inspiring teams and athletes across the globe. To look back and see how far we have come is incredible. Just go for it and give it your all, that’s my advice for other people who are considering making the leap into business.
  • 19. NEWS |016 NEWS A few things that caught our gaze Let it Grow, Let it Grow Let it Grow is an innovative initiative developed by Royal FloraHolland. It offers ‘innovators’ a platform by developing new applications for flowers and plants. Promising innovations are given that helping hand needed to realise a concept or idea. Ideas like ‘Sprinklr’ which delivers seasonal boxes with a special selection of plants taken directly from sustainable growers to the consumer’s home. The Sprinklr app helps them keep the plants green, making it easy and fun to create a green oasis at home. Find out more at www.royalfloraholland.com Project ANT-ARCTIC-LAB The ANT-ARCTIC-LAB is a highly ambitious yacht building and sailing challenge that highlights several industrial developments which bring more sustainability to the marine industry. The goal is to sail a 60ft. yacht, single-handed, nonstop and without assistance from Les Sables d’Olonne (FRA) to the Arctic, through the Northwest Passage, down the Pacific Ocean and passing Cape Hoorn to circumnavigate the Antarctic continent. After rounding Cape Hoorn a second time, the journey will continue north through the Atlantic Ocean to the final destination of Les Sables d’Olonne (FRA). ANT-ARCTIC-LAB challenge will take place from July 2018 until February 2019. To succeed, the yacht will be built using 100% sustainable and/or recyclable materials. This undertaking will be another extreme sailing adventure for skipper Norbert Sedlacek Koch, which will take him more than 34.000 nautical miles and around seven months on his 60ft. racing yacht Open60. He will navigate through the most dangerous waters on our planet, through ice, stormy waters, the doldrums and many more. Good Luck Norbert from all at Global Innovation Magazine. GT2 - Introducing the GT Spreader We love stories about real people at GIM. Those stories when someone has burnt the midnight oil, designing a product and pushing a business are the ones that connect most strongly to us and here is one such story. Tim Hudson, Owner/Inventor starting by dumping salt on his counter and using cardboard to spread it out. Then creating a small bench top prototype in his home shop, the concept of spreading aggregate at reduced speeds began. When it came to slow speed deployment of gravel on driveways, farm yards, and small towns, TJM Trucking needed a solution. TJM’s solution was to create a product that gives an operator the option to spread aggregate at reduced speeds yet still allowing the trailer to haul other material, killing 2 birds with one stone. For more information go to www.mygtspreader.com
  • 20. GLOBAL INNOVATION | JAN 2017 The Powerbreather Experience Swimming and Snorkelling in a new dimension The Powerbreather is an innovative sports tool for swimming, triathlon and diving. No matter how long and intensively you swim, it supplies you with optimum oxygen without water infiltrating - in contrast to conventional snorkels. The upshot being that you can improve your technique and concentrate on swimming rather than getting a mouthful of water, or a less than optimal lung full of air. Global Innovation Magazine spoke to Jan Von Hofacker, the Managing Director behind the AMEO Powerbreather. A little about your background Jan please. Sure, I was born in Munich Germany, I’m 53 years old. I did an apprenticeship in a bank initially, as a first step then I studied economics. I started a business in the financial sector, it was a financing company for family owned businesses, we were quite successful. We started with 3 people, me and my partners and ended up having around 50 people employed by us. The crash in 2008 was dramatic for all businesses in financing, this was an important experience though, for being an entrepreneur. That’s what I am. I love being an entrepreneur, building up companies and that is in part why I decided to do this once again with the Powerbreather. So how did you get involved with the Powerbreather? Many years ago, I visited a friend who showed me a prototype, just 2 pipes, left and right and a mouthpiece. My friend said try it. We were in the Balearic Islands so I went for a swim, but I wasn’t a great swimmer. Although I do a lot of sports, my best marathon was a 2:43 hours. 200 metres crawling was ok but after that I used to get exhausted if I swam much more. What I found when I tried the prototype was that I improved immediately, it was a ‘wow’ moment, I was able to crawl half an hour without taking a rest. That was my first experience with the product. The owners of the patent, my friends, were looking originally to just sell the patent, but I thought it needed to be developed to a sellable level and often big companies don’t wish to do this, so that’s why some years passed and the Powerbreather still wasn’t on the market. In 2003 things changed and my friends approached me to look at being a shareholder, and a driver behind launching the product. I thought about it, put together a business plan to try and understand the product and market better. That brought us to where we are now, we really think that we have a product that is the snorkel Mark 2.0, a second-generation snorkel, which can generally change the understanding of how to swim in the future. What problem does this solve, what does it give us that we didn’t have before? Most people have the problem that when they front crawl, as an exercise, they are not able to breathe properly, the technique is very hard. Turn left, turn right and breathe. This is a great challenge for most people. You could use a snorkel but you are not breathing in 100% fresh air, particularly as your intensity increases. Our product gives you the chance to front crawl for longer distances with a good quality of air, and a freedom that allows you to get into rhythm and flow. Longer distance swimming, free and calm, while watching the beauty of the underwater world. We at AMEO call this new experience ‘swim trekking’. As part of the testing, did you get good feedback from people? Oh yes, people that used the product gave us awesome feedback. People are really happy with what we have done. Yesterday I got feedback from one of our customers who lives in America and they told me: “the Powerbreather revolutionizes swimming, thanks for the invention”. That kind of feedback is invaluable and brilliant to hear. The challenge is also about education though, as yes, it is more expensive than a normal snorkel but it has many new benefits which a conventional snorkel does not have. It is about changing people’s perception and once they try it people love it. Did you face any particular challenges in starting up the company? It is an innovative product and the swim sector has big players in it, who have their own products for swimming. If people have bought a product for 35 years at a certain price and all of a sudden, a new product is out which costs more, then this is a challenge, although it has new, highly valuable benefits for the
  • 21. POWERBREATHER |018 user. Also, coaches and trainers, getting them to use the product is something to address. Change can be tough for people to adapt to, but this is normal and something we continue to work on. Does the product allow you to improve your cardiovascular performance? There are several benefits. You can combine technique and interval training as you always get 100% fresh air. There is a membrane to give you lung muscle training which is available on some of the Powerbreathers. In other words, you can adjust the membrane to allow more or less oxygen through, which is a lung muscle training technique. This respiratory training is very good for all kind of sports – swimming, triathlon, boxing, football, skiing, running, cross-country, as well as for asthmatics. So how is the business going? Yes we are happy with how things are progressing, volume goes up every month and we are seeing more and more connectivity in our core markets which are Europe, UK, USA and Australia. What advice would you have for young entrepreneurs? The most important thing, alongside creating a realistic business plan is to be focused from the beginning. We have so many ideas, so many challenges and opportunities but you need to remain focused. You need a great team with lots of skills, but always remain focused on your core goals. Are there any books or films that you would recommend? An old movie that connects with our product is ‘The Big Blue’. When I swim with the product I really connect with this film. We are not just about making money here at the company, we are more than that, we have a vision, which is about connecting with the elements, connecting with the planet and the sea. Our feedback from customers has said to us that since using the Powerbreather people’s lives have been enriched. Perhaps after a period of illness people have reconnected to swimming and found peace this way, and this means a lot. Find out more at www.powerbreather.com
  • 22. GLOBAL INNOVATION | JAN 2017 NYU STERN Innovators Alumni Paving the Way to the Future in Energy Monitoring & Management and Digital Media Software By Clifford M. Thornton, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, BS Business Administration, Marketing, 1997 I believe that people are at the heart of innovation. For example, when we think of electric lightbulbs, we automatically think about Thomas Edison and when we think about flight, we think of the Wright Brothers. For it is individuals who conceive of a new product and service and then work tirelessly to develop it, structure a team and organization around it, and eventually bring it to market. These innovators are driven by identifying an unmet market need, a better way to do something, or a way to make their business more competitive. My Alma Mater, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business (i.e. known to most as “Stern”) has been traditionally known as a “finance school”. This perception is driven by many of its graduates flocking to positions with investment banks and corporate finance management positions. However, in recent decades, Stern MBA programs have greatly expanded related curriculums and now 20 distinct specializations are offered, including Entrepreneurship & Innovation. Stern, a New York City based business school, is ranked within the top-20 business schools for MBAs and within the top-5 for undergrads by U.S. News & World Report. Additionally, it is ranked third in business research contribution by the School of Management at the University of Texas at Dallas. Stern has been a leading business school in the United States and throughout the world for over a century as it was established in 1900 and it is a founding member of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Stern’s current Dean, Peter Blair Henry, an economist, is dedicated to maintaining Stern’s stature as a business education leader as well as a positive force for social change (i.e. corporate responsibility). Stern has a strong influence on business throughout the world since many of its Alumni originate from all corners of the globe. Through its evolution and expansion, it now has multiple partner programs throughout Europe, Asia, and Australia. Besides working to provide its programs throughout the world, Stern is also dedicated to fostering an innovative and entrepreneurial environment. One of the key components of Stern’s innovation engine is its W.R. Berkley Innovation Lab, launched in 1982. The lab’s website describes its objective, “Through an array of co-curricular activities, the Berkley Lab equips students, alumni, and researchers from across NYU’s campus with the skills, know-how and ability to launch and grow sustainable ventures.” Luke Williams, an internationally recognized authority on innovation leadership and author of “Disrupt: Think the Unthinkable to Spark Transformation in Your Business” (FT Press, 2011), is the Executive Director of the W.R. Berkley Innovation Lab. He is also a Clinical Professor of Innovation & Marketing. In order to provide some real-world examples of NYU Stern Alumni who are carrying the torch of innovation for the school I would like to present you with two related interviews. I asked these Alumni both about their perceptions of innovation as a profession and endeavor as well as how they are pushing the boundaries of innovation to strengthen the companies which they are affiliated with as well as bring to market advanced and previously unavailable products and services. Our discussions generated a great deal of insights on innovation as well as the market and technological forces which are supporting and driving the need for their commercial products and services.
  • 23. NYU STERN |020 Interview with Felix Lipov, Lead Software Developer, Enertiv, Inc. What does innovation mean to you from both historical and modern perspectives? Innovation is a function of time and place of where you are. For example, the iPhone or Android. It’s about seeing something new; a new perspective which is not familiar. What aspects in the field of innovation fascinate and motivate you? Creative endeavor and new technology. It’s what you do with it. Connecting the dots. Taking these things and putting it together. Things that motivate me regarding Enertiv are developing a system for managing data that represents energy use and building understanding from there. New technologies, whether they be sensors, connectivity, data and servers are reaching price points, where they can now be effectively leveraged together in new and novel ways. At the same time, data in itself is no longer interesting, but rather how can we take disparate data sources and derive insights from their interaction. Please tell me about both your company’s existing and soon-to- be-released products/services. According to the EPA, 40% of energy in buildings is wasted. We believe one of the key reasons for this is that there is not adequate transparency for building managers in terms of how much energy their buildings are using. We want to bring the percentage of energy that is wasted down to zero and to give building managers a way for them to stop throwing money away. Enertiv provides software and solutions for monitoring energy consumption of commercial real estate. These properties have not had at their disposal the type of analytics that we offer. Data without analytics doesn’t equate to insights. Typical buildings with a handful of data points cannot provide insights into its operations. Enertiv’s solutions provide direct, real-time understanding of what’s going on, maximizing operational efficiency, while keeping tenants comfortable. We are working to build better sensors, software, and analytics, leveraging existing data streams and adding more as necessary to get the pulse of a building. We call this “Enertiv AI”, as in asset intelligence. Right now, a lot of buildings are “working in the dark.” We work mostly with commercial building managers and owners as well as Energy Service Companies (ESCOs). Our thinking with all of this is, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” What is your company’s vision or roadmap for these products/services?
  • 24. GLOBAL INNOVATION | JAN 2017 Collecting much more granular information. Collecting anomalies on building equipment failures. An example is an internal ventilation fan. There’s a lot that can go wrong in commercial buildings. Motor failures. Our software allows building managers to see what’s going on so that they can isolate the problem. We’re also doing more benchmarking - here’s how it could or should work. Tying the various data stream to provide real-time notifications. We also want to create solutions that work across the board. Please discuss some of the trends in your field or forces which are driving the technology which your products/services rely upon? Building more power plants, which depend on fossil fuels are not sustainable. The electrical grid as we know it will be driven on the basis of data. We feel that more effective management of energy consumption is a key part of this equation. We also want to make our customer’s property more valuable. We are asking ourselves, how do we leverage this information and gain 8-15% energy savings. Do you see any disruptive technologies in your field on the horizon? Enertiv is disruptive. What we have done has been too hard and too expensive for other entities in the past. We feel that the Enertiv team and technology can now accomplish these things. Enertiv was launched in 2011, so we have been doing this a fairly long time. We have familiarized ourselves with granular data across a large cross section of equipment over many years such that we can quickly identify problems, solely by looking at data. That knowledge continues to grow as our algorithms learn over time. Is there anything else that you would like to add? Yes, Enertiv is the first New York company to get into the NYSERDA Real Time Energy Management (RTEM) program. This program offers commercial properties, which purchase our solution with up to a 30% subsidy from the state of New York. The realization is coming that to optimally run a building, more data is necessary, as well as the insights that Enertiv that can provide to guide operations to the max. See more at: www.enertiv.com Interview with Richard Napoli, CEO – ObjectFrontier Software (OFS), Inc. Company Website: www.objectfrontier.com What does innovation mean to you from both historical and modern perspectives?
  • 25. NYU STERN |022 Innovation is the offspring of both necessity and dreams. We are driven to innovate either when we are pressed against a wall with a problem or when we dream of what life could be like. People tend to stick with what they know unless they are compelled to change. The Wright Brothers, for example, dreamt of the wonders of flight and worked hard to build a device to enable that. In the digital world which I’m involved with, we’re seeing a type of renaissance in our industry. In the next 100 years, our world will change at a pace not seen since the original Renaissance period in the 15th century. Looking back before that time, most knowledge was passed on through apprenticeship and it took years to learn and master. But once the printing press was invented in 1440 and people learned to read, they were able to more quickly learn what was already out there in their field and then build on top of that knowledge. That led to an explosion of ideas and inventions that spurred on the Industrial Revolution. The software world was in the pre-Renaissance period until recently because there was no repeatable framework available until around 2010. Up until then, the hardware, software, and networks kept changing dramatically every 10 years and we had to start over and rebuild everything. But, since around 2010 (which corresponds to the introduction of the iPad and the emergence of real cloud computing), software developers finally have a robust framework of mobile devices, cloud computing, and APIs that are truly leverageable for the first time. So we don’t have to reinvent everything each time we build new software. This saves a great deal of time and as a result, dramatically speeds the development time and shortens the release cycle. So we have entered a digital Renaissance period now where we can use robust technology to do basic (development) chores and focus on the important new stuff instead. In the past, we had maybe one software release per year and it was a big effort. Now, we can do a release within a week or even a few days. These days, for example, Amazon releases new software every thirty seconds! What aspects in the field of innovation fascinate and motivate you? I like to think in terms of business needs. For example, when contemplating a new product, a key question to ask is “What one thing in the industry is impossible to do today, that if you made it possible, would change how an industry works”. On example is 3D Printing. With this amazing technology, for example, you no longer have to worry about running out of spare parts. You can just get the specs and print out the part locally.
  • 26. GLOBAL INNOVATION | JAN 2017 As far as ObjectFrontier, we’re a software engineering company supporting multiple industries. One question that I like to ask is, “What assumptions are baked into the industry that we can break with new technology? For example, prior to ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft, there was a high barrier to entry in the taxi industry. There were a lot of associated costs to get into that business; obviously that has all changed now. The thing about innovation and business is that everyone wants to be the next Apple, but the reality is that very few will. I like the Edison approach to innovation, “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety nine percent perspiration.” Please tell me about both your company’s existing and soon- to-be-released products/services. We don’t actually sell products, we sell software engineering services to build digital products for our customers to help them drive their revenue. Once we complete a project, our customers own the software we built. One key and successful project that we worked on was for a major sports network that covered the PGA Championships. In order to improve their viewership (i.e. which is correlated with advertising dollars), we developed a special TV app for them. Viewers could download this app to their SmartTVs. Then, while watching Tiger Woods tee off, they could pull-up his scorecard and standings, using their TV’s remote-control. This made the game an interactive experience for them. The client won an “Appy Award”, sponsored by MediaPost, for this effort, and we were happy to have built it for them. What is your company’s vision or roadmap for these products/services? As I mentioned earlier, we provide software engineering services to our clients but the intellectual property (IP) is theirs. So consequently, I can’t share any plans we have to enhance our customers’ products. I will say in general, however, that we are heavily invested in mobile, cloud, data analytics, and augmented reality (AR) technologies that we utilize in our customers’ products to help them execute their digital transformation strategies. Every company is now faced with transforming and reinventing their business model with modern technology that engages their customers in new ways - think Uber, NetFlix, Betterment, StichFix, etc. and we are in the business of helping companies like those to envision and execute that transformation. Please discuss some of the trends in your field or forces which are driving the technology which your products/ services rely upon? Because of the tremendous amounts of data that is being generated in certain fields, we are doing a lot of work in data science. The new technologies in this space allow us to digest many trillions of bytes of data in near-real time. For example, a single flight across the Atlantic can generate petabytes of data (i.e. due to all of the monitoring equipment that is now standard on commercial aircrafts). So, with all of this data available, the question then is, “How do you aggregate it up and find patterns quickly so that decisions can be made at the right time?” We’re developing software to harness the latest in Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning Tools such as Spark to give us the speed and insight we need for all this data. And given that this data crunching involves a lot of regression analysis and mathematical modeling, we have a number of math and statistical wizards on our team. Do you see any disruptive technologies in your field on the horizon? That’s the exciting thing about the technology industry and the time period we’re in now-there are MANY disruptive technologies emerging right now. The two that we’re investing the most in right now are Augmented Reality (think Pokémon Go) and IoT (Internet of Things). Both of them are already exerting pressure on existing businesses to think in new ways and are enabling new business models to emerge. Is there anything else that you would like to add? We need more creative thinkers to enter the technology arena and bring their unique perspective. In my day, people stayed away from technology as something too geeky. But now, technology is everywhere and can be used in so many amazing ways. So, for those of you out there deciding where to make your career, I encourage you to become part of the digital Renaissance age that is just beginning!