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It’s not often that a speaker at an event shares live feed of their EKG. But then, the VLAB panel discussion titled “The Future of Diagnostics: Consumer Driven Medicine” was not an ordinary look at the field of medicine. The event–which was held at the Munger Center of the Paul Brest Hall of Stanford Law School–took place on Thursday, April 16th 2013.As part of illustrating emerging technologies in mobile health, moderator Dr. Kraft pulled up an app he regularly uses which tracks key health indicators. From his iPhone to the big screen, he shared real-time data such as heart rate and EKG.

Consumer driven diagnostics: emerging and disruptive

The event was a fascinating look into the possibility and scope that emerging technologies such as mobile phone apps, bluetooth technology, and mobile scanning have altered the way we track and understand our health. The burgeoning field of consumer driven medicine has already grounded costs of once-expensive processes such as DNA sequencing. As you may note from the NIH graph, the cost of sequencing a human genome used to be upwards of $10K in the early 2000’s, today costs a fraction of that sticker price. Industry leaders, such as Dr. Kraft, cited predictions that the cost of sequencing a human genome will one day cost in the range of $100-200.

The multi-level disruption of healthcare and diagnostics was the focus of this panel. It featured the following speakers:

Moderator, Daniel Kraft, M.D., Executive Director, FutureMed, Faculty Chair of Medicine, Singularity University
Panelist, Walter De Brouwer, CEO of SCANADUPanelist, Dr. David Albert, Founder and Chief Medical Officer at AliveCorPanelist, Anne DeGheest, HealthTech Capital, Managing Director and Founder

 

Watch the video

View the entire panel discussion in the following video:

 


What social entrepreneurs should consider

One aspect of consumer driven diagnostics is the technology + medicine aspect. i.e. How do you code for diagnostic medicine? A select sector of the entrepreneurial and social entrepreneurial communities will focus on this side of the rubics cube. This means understanding the science, the web development, and compliance landscape (i.e. “HIPAA”, etc.) of developing medicine-related technology.

However, there is another incredibly vital angle that will require impact innovation attention. It is the distribution, scaling, and effective analysis of crowdsourced medical data. Consumer driven diagnostics is as much a data problem as well as a medical-technology problem. If you aren’t building the consumer-facing software, you might consider creating efficient processes by which data collection becomes scalable, increasing amounts of data are accurately analyzed, and methods are developed for keeping this potentially-impactful data secure and private.

If you step back from the niche area of medicine + technology you arrive to a broader place of making sense of, efficiently using, and securely tracking big data. That is a problem that could benefit from the nuanced, triple-bottom line mindset of a social innovator.

Photos from the event

Here are a few photos from the event include images of the brochure, the networking hour that takes place directly before the panel, a view of a slide featuring the panel members, and a shot of dynamic moderator Dr. Kraft as he presented his engaging introduction.
VLAB panel on consumer driven health (#VLAVcdmed)
networking hour before fo

VLAB panel on consumer driven health (#VLAVcdmed)

VLAB panel on consumer driven health (#VLAVcdmed)

VLAB panel on consumer driven health (#VLAVcdmed)

VLAB panel on consumer driven health (#VLAVcdmed)

It’s Day 3 of Netroots Nation (#nn13), an annual conference for progressive leaders and media professionals.  This is a liveblog from Day 3.#nn131:33pm. The conversation with Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, moderated by Zerlina Maxwell just took place in the large exhibit hall. It was an interesting talk, touching on progressive issues and causes. The moment that was particularly interesting, was the reaction Pelosi received in explaining her position on Edward Snowden. She received boos in the audience when she said he broke the law, and there were a few active audience members who stood up and yelled questions toward the stage. On the most part, Pelosi entertained and tried to address the questions.

1:38pm. The panelists for “How We Used the Internet to Help with the Presidential Election features key leader in President Obama’s re-election campaign—taking their message to the social media stage. Panelists include: Matthew McGregor, Zerlina Maxwell, Laura Olin, Jason Sackin, and moderated by Erica Sackin,
Netroots Nation #nn13
Erick provides an overview about how different the social media scene was in 2012 v. in 2008. Namely:

Internet usage shift from 2008-2012
200K to 40M tumblr
3M to 500M twitter
100M to 1B facebook

1:44pm. Jason Satler (@lolgop) shared key points. And some of his notable work : )  i.e.:

LOLGOP @LOLGOPFun Fact: Joe Biden is the only American Vice President in the eleven years who hasn’t shot a friend in a face.

1:47pm. Zerlina takes the stage. (Note: she just moderated the lunch session with Nancy Pelosi!) Shares two of her popular posts.  One was on Paul Ryan’s comment that rape is a form of conception. And one on Donald Trump. Her popular tweets covered race and the war on women.

1:52pm. Laura Olin takes the stage and speaks about her role in overseeing the official Obama twitter feed and tumblr accounts. She shared a few the popular tweets, including:

Laura’s tip: give people something they can share. She talked about the effectiveness of photo tweets.

1:59pm. Leaving this session to check out another.

2:01pm. Checking out “Big Ears Meets Big Data: How to Unleash Member Energy to Analytics”

2:03pm. Sara Haghdoosti talks about how she worked to get people working on systematic campaigns. She created an organizing model that tried to combine hundreds of years of best practice. But within the first week of using, realized that the organizing model was flawed. I.e. hypothesis: if you took a moment to sign an online petition, you were interested in being move involved. Realized it was wrong to expect a commitment that scaled up.

2:05pm. The slides says: Focus on weak ties. In a retreat to cover issues, she tried an experiment of people working on similar issues together to form a campaign v. people working on different issues to work on a campaign—she noticed that the latter was more effective because the members could provide more constructive, actionable feedback rather than getting caught up in the nuances of the issues.

2:06pm. The slide says: You need far higher conversion rates for online team actions.

2:09pm. Milan de Vries, of MoveOn.org,  explains distributed organizing. The slide says: thousands of petitions, on lots of topics, with different approaches…From his (the organizer) perspective it means managing and following thousands of petitions

2:11pm. Answers 2 questions: how do they determine the compelling campaigns and how they find people to engage in the campaigns. Look at petitions that are 1) progressive; and 2) that are strong. So can do a quick filter to determine which fit into this general bucket. First pass is by humans and also filtered by number of signatures, and look at successful shares.

2:14pm. Milan speaks on how it “tests” petitions, i.e. sending to cross-sections of its membership.

2:20pm.  In summary MoveOn is looking for petitions that are progressive and that are being shared & signed.

2:20pm. On to audience questions. “How do those of us who aren’t sitting on million-member lists” utilize the tips you just mentioned? Milan mentions that even with a smaller list (i.e. 5K) you can actually test and do a lot. Don’t be discouraged about the size of your list when assessing what you can learn from your group & how you can engage with them.

2:26pm. Sara Haghdoosti also answered and noted that for a crowdfunding campaign she was launching, she sent an email on her birthday and raised $6K. She did informal A/B testing on subject line and messaging. She noted that personalizing the message and sending to her close contacts helped achieve success.

2:34pm. A software engineer in the audience asks what statistical tools the panelists use. Amelia Showalter mentions using A/B testing with less formality than in an academic setting. For other campaigns she uses correlations and more sophisticated modeling. Milan underscores that the purpose of the stats in the case of online organizing and mobilizing is to guide decisions, rather than a more academic goal .

2:38. Question from the audience: what analysis do these websites do on people who open the email but don’t take action (i.e. sign a petition). Milan takes this one and notes that these organizations look at behavior of people over time, and so his org (MoveOn) has a vested interest in understanding why people behave in one way v. another.

2:48pm. Session ends. Will take up blogging again for the 3pm panels. There are a few that look interesting, so fair warning, there may be more panel-hopping ahead.

#nn13
“Beyond Aaron’s Law” Panel at #nn13

3:05pm. Starting out in the panel “Beyond Aaron’s Law: Reining in Prosecutorial Overreach”. Elliot Peters, Aaron Swart’z attorney at the time of his death, introduces himself.

For three decades Elliot Peters has litigated, tried and advised clients in some of the nation’s most high-profile, high-stakes complex commercial and white collar criminal cases. Mr. Peters has tried more than 50 cases on behalf of CEOs, leading law firms, and major corporations. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. He has also been named Attorney of the Year by California Lawyer and The Recorder, the Litigator of the Week by The American Lawyer, and one of the Top 100 Attorneys in California by the Daily Journal. [Source: KVN]

3:07pm. Elliot speaks about his relationship with client Aaron, and Aaron’s goal of open access. He talks about Aaron’s actions to open access to JSTOR documents at MIT.

3:10pm. Aaron was arrested for computer crime. Prosecutors tried to figure out what crimes Aaron could be prosecuted on. Note, CFAA requires $5K in damages, here it was challenging to determine damages (if any). Elliot took on the case because he thought the defense had a strong case, but he worried about Aaron. On January 11th, Elliot spent the day working on the case and had succeeded on getting access to emails between local Boston official and the Federal govt. He packed his suitcase went home from work and rec’d the news of Aaron’s suicide. Elliot calls it one of the lowest points of his legal career. “Aaron’s loss is a great loss for everybody because he was truly, truly a remarkable person.” — Elliot Peters

3:14pm Moderator Marcy Wheeler introduces Jonathan Simon.

Jonathan Simon is the Associate Dean of the Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program at Boalt Hall School of Law at University of California, Berkeleyauthor of Governing Through Crime: How the War on Crime Transformed American Democracy and Created a Culture of Fear and Poor Discipline: Parole and the Social Control of the Underclass, 1890-1990co-editorof Punishment & Society, associate editor of Law & Society Review, and a professor of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Policy, and Legal Studies. [Wikipedia]

Who are prosecutors in America? Are usually politicians. Simon notes that historically that fact was held in check through 1) local politics, i.e. pushing back using local political machines; 2) on the federal level, the body of law was much smaller. That changed dramatically during ‘the war on crime’ (the subject of much of Simon’s work).

3:18pm. Simon turns from historical overview to looking at the case of Aaron Swartz. He looks at the problematic issues of whether he was “breaking into” a “dwelling” considering the facts. He considers the idea that the prosecutors thought that Aaron may end up ‘snitching’. Simon calls for an end to the ‘war on crime’—he questions the need for an emergency government.

3:26pm. Simon calls for a need for government to look at whether prosecutorial charges are fair and examine new charges carefully.

3:27. Next up on the panel is Shane Kadidal, his works focuses on the Material Support Statute, passed in 2006. Works like economic embargoes against countries against whom the US is at war.

Shayana Kadidal is senior managing attorney of the Guantánamo Global Justice Initiative at the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York City. He is a graduate of the Yale Law School and a former law clerk to Judge Kermit Lipez of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. In his eight years at the Center, he has worked on a number of significant cases in the wake of 9/11, including the Center’s challenges to the detention of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay (among them torture victim Mohammed al Qahtani and former CIA ghost detainee Majid Khan), which have twice reached the Supreme Court, and several cases arising out of the post-9/11 domestic immigration sweeps. He is also counsel in CCR’s legal challenges to the “material support” statute (decided by the Supreme Court last term), to the low rates of black firefighter hiring in New York City, and to the NSA’s warrantless surveillance program. [Source: CCR]

Shane is talking pretty quickly—so instead of mis-paraphrasing his explanation of Material Support Statute, here is information about the bill directly from his organization’s website:

The “material support” statute, 18 U.S.C. § 2339B, makes it a crime (punishable by up to 10 years in prison) to provide “material support” to any foreign organization the Secretary of State has designated as terrorist.  “Material support” is defined in the statute to include almost any kind of support for blacklisted groups, including humanitarian aid, training, expert advice, “services” in almost any form, and political advocacy. The Patriot Act broadened these provisions in the wake of 9/11.
The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) contends that these material support provisions violate the First Amendment as they criminalize activities like distribution of literature, engaging in political advocacy, participating in peace conferences, training in human rights advocacy, and donating cash and humanitarian assistance, even when this type of support is intended only to promote lawful and non-violent activities. Nonetheless, the Supreme Court recently upheld the government’s broad reading of the statute to criminalize speech in the form of coordinated political advocacy. [Source: CCR]

3:34pm. This is an interesting panel, I especially appreciate the legal/policy review of issues at hand. Hopping over to check out another session.

3:41pm.  Ducked into a session: “Seeing is Believing: Visual Storytelling Best Practices”. The speaker Liz Banse is showing photo slides and providing comments on effectiveness in relaying a message.

Liz Banse, Resource Media communications specialist w/ a love for the visual. @RMedia. If I’m not here, find me in the mountains w/ my family. @lizbanse

3:45pm. Liz notes that a photo featuring a closeup of an individual who is looking directly at the camera is among the most compelling. She shows this National Geographic cover, the most popular of all NG covers.

3:47pm. Liz notes that what often moves audiences is awe and inspiring images rather than jarring or disturbing images. “Humans have an optimism bias”-Liz Banse
3:49pm. If you are trying to create a campaign for fundraising, support try introducing a single person and tell their story through a compelling image. People characteristically give more money when they are introduced to an individual versus through a mass/group.
3:51pm. As an exception to the above, images of protests and rallies are effective.
3:53pm. Final recommendation, after you find the right picture, make sure it is ‘packaged’ or staged well.  Liz mentions the idea of a “confirmation bias” re: websites. I.e. once our mind has made a decision, it is challenging to change your mind.
3:54pm. The laptop is on its last 2% of power with no power source within reach. Signing off for now, thanks for reading.
[This posted has been updated for minor edits and to correct the day of the liveblogging]

 

On June 18th, MIT-Stanford Venture Lab (VLAB) hosted its monthly event on virtual currencies, titled “Virtual Currencies: Gold Rush or Fools’ Gold. The Rise of Bitcoin in a Digital Economy” at the Stanford Law School campus, Munger Conference Center of Paul Brest Hall.For social entrepreneurs, virtual currencies represent new potential for the democratization and distribution of funds to further local and international work. As startups such as Coinbase, Ripple, and dozens of others, are building payment rails & making math-based currencies more accessible and usable for a broader base of users—there is a real opportunity for social enterprise to take notice and action as early adopters. This can be through accepting funding via bitcoin or other math-based currency, transacting via virtual currency, building crowdfunding sites that allow portions of raises to be made in bitcoin, and/or at the least become knowledgable about the topic and exploring its potential.To crowd of standing room only, the panel explored the topic of virtual currencies through various vantage points, with a focus on actionable discovery for entrepreneurs, technologists, and investors. The panel, pictured below, from the left included: Chris Larsen (CEO and Co-Founder, OpenCoin, the company developing the Ripple protocol), Fred Ehrsam (Co-Founder of Coinbase, a digital Bitcoin wallet), Wendy Cheung (Director of Compliance and BSA Officer, Silicon Valley Bank), Cameron Winklevoss (Principal Investor at Winklevoss Capital) and Tyler Winklevoss (Principal Investor at Winklevoss Capital)

VLAB Virtual Currencies #VLABvcurrency

VLAB Virtual Currencies #VLABvcurrencies

 

 




Event brochure

Virtual currencies (aka math-based or digital currencies or cryptocurrencies) are emerging forms and units of digital transaction, outside the realm of government regulation (so far, anyway). They usually can be transacted with virtual anonymity, and be transacted globally fairly quickly.

VLAB Virtual Currencies #VLABvcurrency

Infographic, adapted from Visual Capitalist, on Bitcoin

Bitcoin is the first such digital currency to gain traction. Created by a developer or group of developers named Satoshi Nakamoto (pseudonym) in 2009, today there are 11M bitcoins in circulation and the current market for Bitcoin already tops $1.5B. The currency itself is quite unique. Bitcoin are created (or “mined”) by computers completing complicated algorithms. The first to solve the algorithm and achieve the closest answer effectively claims an allocation of bitcoin. This goes on until the outer limit of 21M bitcoin are mined.

VLAB Virtual Currencies #VLABvcurrencies

VLAB Executive Chair, Ron Chavez, welcomes the audience 

VLAB is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit comprised of volunteers who pitch topic ideas that span innovation and disruptive technology and work in small teams to understand the space, identify controversies, and form an engaging panel.
VLAB Virtual Currencies #VLABvcurrency

Featured speaker, economist, and Stanford Business School professor Susan Athey introduces virtual currencies as an economic concept.

Professor Athey focused on four unique uses of virtual currencies as: a way to store value (especially in light of inflationary currencies); as a ledger; as a method of making anonymous transactions, and possibly as a basis for government monetary policy.

VLAB Virtual Currencies #VLABvcurrency

Moderator & Forbes Online Sr. Editor Kashmir Hill introduces her unique experience with Bitcoin, sushi, and cupcakes

Hill, whose work has lately focused on digital privacy took on a unique challenge in early May. She lived only on bitcoin for one week. She recapped challenges such as finding retail food locations beyond Cups and Cakes Bakery and Sake Zone sushi in SF. She recalled how things got interesting when her landlord didn’t accept rent in Bitcoin, causing Hill to have to find BTC-friendly housing for a few days.

 







Founder/CEO Chris Larsen (OpenCoin, Ripple) explains  math-based currencies and their potential to disrupt payment processing, exchange, and currencies

 

VLAB Virtual Currencies #VLABvcurrency

Panel discusses various topics related to virtual currencies, with questions posed by Moderator Kashmir Hill

VC’s Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss commented on the scope they see for math-based currencies as a disruptor to industries such as remittance. They own approximately 1% of bitcoin in circulation, and most recently funded a Bitcoin startup called BitInstant.

Wendy Cheung of Silicon Valley Bank spoke about state and federal compliance concerns relevant to bitcoin and math-based currency startups. SV Bank currently works with a number of startup companies in this space.

Fred Ehrsam (second from left) touched on unique challenges as a startup in the space. He co-founded Coinbase after noting efficiencies of current systems  as a foreign exchange trader on Wall Street. Coinbase  has had to navigate through the compliance and regulatory requirements and is poised to become the leading bitcoin wallet on the market.

Audience members could text in questions that were fed to the moderator’s iPad. Kashmir selected a few to ask to the panel and noted common questions. Of these a few popular questions were—directed to the Winklevoss investors—whether their firm would ever fund a startup using Bitcoin. Other questions asked about how mining for bitcoin actually works, and yet others touched on inherent limitations of a finite curency (i.e. There will be a total of 21M bitcoin available to be mined).

VLAB Virtual Currencies #VLABvcurrencies

You can view the video of the virtual currencies event when it is posted here

Events in the past year have included: the Founders’ Series, Collaborative Consumption, The Future of Diagnostics

, Commercial Drones

, Young Entrepreneurs

, Synthetic Biology

, Grid Energy Storage

, Software-Designed Networks

, and Gamification

.

VLAB Virtual Currencies #VLABvcurrency
[photo credit J. Fuqua]
A few of VLAB event team members with moderator Kashmir Hill

It was a wonderful experience co-chairing the event team for the virtual currencies panel with Frank Martinez (far right). A huge thank you and recognition to event team members including Edward, Jerry, Richard, Jenny, Tony, Lisha, Chethana, Prashant, Geeta, Luca, Jeanne, Michelle, and marketing team Siejen, Chitrak, Tom, Jae and the broader VLAB community.

 

As social innovators focus on ways to create, optimize, and measure impact, a natural question arises as to what kind of impact should be pursued. Should you set goals that are attainable and within reach? Or should you strive for impact that is far-reaching and is perhaps beyond what your startup or organization even has capacity to meet with its current resources?Darcy Winslow, a systemic change expert and visionary who introduced key sustainability measures within Nike, explained the nuances between planning for change and designing for transformation. She spoke at the inaugural Strategic Execution Conference hosted by IPS Learning and Stanford University on April 24, 2013.Her talk was impassioned, intimate, and impactful in sharing her personal narrative in sustainability as well as her commitment to creating a culture for sustainable innovation within organizational infrastructure.

 

Darcy’s experience at Nike & the Shambhala Initiative

Darcy spoke about her 20 year career at Nike, which included a number executive roles. When her team was approached to define the impact Nike shoe production was having on the environment and landfills—she was surprised to hear that the equivalent of one shoe of waste was created with the production of each pair of shoes, and that over the course of a year millions of gallons of oil were used to produce Nike’s various lines of athletic gear.

She set forth to shift the company from the inside. Forming a team to address social impact, they established the Nike Shambhala Initiative–an ambitious strategy to re-think Nike operations centered around aspirational sustainability goals.

The goals that Nike set were not intended to reward or recognize themselves for picking low-hanging fruit. They demanded 0 waste, 0 toxics, 100% closed loop systems and other key sustainability deliverables by 2020.

I found myself noting that the plan was markedly ambitious, increasing the chance of failing to reach those high-level goals. Darcy reframed the issue as she explained the power of transformational change.

What is makes change transformational?

Darcy shared her view that any change that seeks less than an all-or-nothing results is not transformational–and is just a matter of degree. For a leading company such as Nike, she knew that a change of degree of impact was not enough. If Nike was going to get into the corporate social responsibility (CSR) movement, it would have to do so in a transformational way.

How social innovators can incorporate transformational change goals

Darcy’s talk introduced the concept of a transformational change mindset.
When we seek to transform, rather than just gradually alter ourselves or our ventures there is a different approach, mindset, and energy that is employed. It is as though we must change from within to create change in results—and the process can be transformational at an individual as well as organizational level.
The goal of creating zero waste rather than reducing waste by 50% creates a different purpose, easy measuring stick, and clearly-defined goals. These can trickle down throughout the organization. If the goal was instituted in manufacturing setting, each team of engineers would be clear that their stage of production should yield 0 waste versus and intermediate amount of waste.
Of course, sustainability is often a product of evolution and iteration. So in addition to setting transformational change goals, it is essential to provide enough time to work to that change. When the Shambhala Initiative was introduced, the goal set was 2020–giving two decades to evolve innovation and internal practices to meet the aspirational milestones.

Video of Darcy Winslow, Nike Foundation

You can take a look at Darcy speak briefly at her role with Nike in this short video.

Codex #FutureLaw 2013 ConferenceOn April 26th 2013 hundreds of attorneys, law students, legal startup founders, informatics experts, and venture capitalists gathered for the first ever Codex FutureLaw Conference (i.e. #FutureLaw) hosted by Codex— the Stanford Center for Legal Informatics .Codex #FutureLaw 2013 ConferenceThe day was structured in 5 panel discussions with a kickoff keynote by Charley Moore (Founder of RocketLawyer) and capstone keynote by Daniel Martin Katz (Co-founder of ReinventLaw Laboratory and Asst. Professor at Michigan State Univ). It was a day for thinkers and doers in the legal tech space to talk shop, exchange notes, and ask tough questions about the field.The Reinvent Law movement has been making its voice heard in Silicon Valley. You may recall our recap of #ReinventLaw Silicon Valley through a compilation of tweets and photos. That event, in March 2013,  brought together 40+ speakers in a rapid-fire format to discuss major issues, inefficiencies, and challenges facing the current legal system—and solutions that tech + design + delivery can provide.

The #FutureLaw Conference at Stanford was a logical follow-up to the March event. It took place in a more intimate setting featuring fewer speakers, many of whom were leaders in this emerging space, in  interactive small panels featuring significant audience participation. The exploration into the topic was genuine—with many of the panelists posing questions from the audience in other panel sessions. The atmosphere was collegial and conversations of concepts raised in the panels continued between participants during the breaks and lunch hour.

Recaps of #FutureLaw

There are a few excellent recaps and summaries of the event that have been published. I am including Stanford Codex’s Storify recap of the event below. Here are a few additional resources and recaps:

 

8 Takeaways from #FutureLaw Conference Hosted by Stanford Codex

As the day progressed I began scribbling broad concepts in the margins of my notes. Things that left me…wait for it… #mindblown, or that provided fresh takes on enduring concepts. The field of law is ripe for innovation. The industry has been one of the hardest-hit by the Great Recession. And while select firms and attorneys have survived, if not prospered, for each success there are countless numbers of law school graduates and attorneys who struggle to find a foothold in the field, and perhaps no longer even seek one. Idle/restless legal professionals + tech innovation has given new pathways to take a look at the field through telescope, microscope, and 3D glasses. What has resulted is a movement to disrupt the status quo, and examine the success of law through the lens of its constituents rather than its practitioners. This change of viewpoint lends to re-prioritization and re-thinking of what law should be, and what data and design-driven innovation can lead law to become.

I wanted to share a few broad brushstroke takeaways from Codex FutureLaw 2013.

1. Contracts don’t need to be written documents. The second panel discussion of the day was on computational law and contracts. Panelist Kingley Martin (of KIIAC) brought up the fascinating question of “what is contract?” He reframed the traditional concept of a contract by specifying that above all, it is a “workflow design” and noting that we have chosen to express the workflow through words on a document. However, contracts could also be expressed as code or in a variety of other formats—some of which might be more suitable to replicating, customizing, and operationalizing.

2. Legal startups should choose a VC wisely. The third panel was all about financing legal startups. VCs and founders shared their experience in the funding process. One legal startup founder made it clear that legal startups are a unique animal, and that founders trying to line up funding should seek out a VC who understands nuances of the field. Another panelist summed up his thoughts on exit strategies:  “acquistion is a reasonable outcome, but a terrible plan.”

3. Design for people first.  Budding law students are instructed that one of an attorney’s duties is to zealously represent his/her client. That makes sense for the lawyer, and the client…but not for the field of law. The result is a field that contains, gaping disconnects and inefficiencies, essentially by design. Instead, new legal startups are thinking about the participants in law as they design tools, UI, and resources. They are leveraging what people want to know about the law in designing tools to provide those resources efficiently, cost-effectively, while leveraging copious amounts of relevant data available.

Codex #FutureLaw 2013 Conference4. Open source hybrids are OK. In one of the panels it was brought up that open sourcing legal information is particularly difficult because libraries of contracts, filings, documents, and research are precisely what distinguishes various attorneys and firms. Instead of a full open source mode, there might be innovative hybrid models that will enable attorneys and firms to retain their valuable information while also contributing to the overal open law movement. It doesn’t have to be an either/or thing.

5. Law can be “automated”.  As consumers are already used to “boiler plate” language for everything from online shopping to buying a new car. Instead of recreating the wheel, maybe there’s a way to standardize it to make the content more accessible and understandable. Awhile back Innov8Social covered the movement to standardize #PrivacyIcons, lead by a group called Disconnect. Movements such as that one are showing us that parts of law can be made more efficient through smart automation.

6. Law can be re-imagined. When you are sitting at a library studying the Rule Against Perpetuities in law school or slogging away memorizing key concepts and case law for the Bar exam, there is little room for thought on ways to re-imagine the field of law itself. But the truth is, of course it can be re-imagined. Entrepreneurs and attorneys complain that the patent law system and taxation mechanisms haven’t changed or adapted to emerging needs and industries. The influx and availability of digital data also changes how we interact with the field. Not only can law be reimagined, it is almost feels imperative that the movement to do so continue.

credit: Margaret Hagan

7. Law can be beautiful. One of the house favorites of the day was the panel on design. The startups and designers presented beautiful, simple, mindblowing ways to think about legal tech data. It becomes quite clear that the proof is in the pudding when you view the work of these designers, such as Margaret Hagan

8. Lawyers can re-invent law. It may be tempting to wait for changes to the field. But the conference showed that there are already a number of attorneys who are taking bold steps to reinvent the field. The final speaker of the day, Daniel Katz spoke to tangible ways that law school education can be tweaked to prepare the next generation of legal professionals—who have studied not only Torts but also computational law, informatics, and have actually worked with a team to pitch, code, validate, and launch a project leveraging law, tech, innovation, design with data and delivery.

Stanford Law’s Storify: A Look Back at Codex FutureLaw 2013

[View the story “A look back at CodeX FutureLaw 2013” on Storify]

Attending events and writing about them for Innov8Social planted a seed to organize an unstructured event on social innovation. Having been to StartUp Weekend a couple of times I noticed that a hackathon-style gathering can lead to great ideas, teamwork, and empowering ways to think bigger.

social innovation unconference hackathon at legalforce

 

the idea

After interviewing Nathan Pham from Goodjoe I noted his passion for bringing together people and creating new forums for ideas. I pitched him the idea for an unstructured gathering of social innovation thinkers and doers. He was (thankfully) enthusiastic and interested. We worked together to plan an informal “social innovation unconference” involving a relatively small group of people immersed in different disciplines, with a knack for creating impact.

social innovation unconference hackathon at legalforce

social innovation unconference hackathon at legalforceIt was a grand experiment to see what happens when you put people with different life/work experiences, who are passionate about creating a positive impact in a room together with the premise of identifying local problems and brainstorming solutions.

the first group

Our initial group included: a youth services professional, founder of social enterprise GoVoluntr, graphic designer with a passion for virtual currencies, a pediatrician with international relief experience, founder of social enterprise Goodjoe (Nathan), and founder of a blog on social innovation (myself).

the first venue

The event was held at the beautiful, hip storefront LegalForce BookFlip—which is a sizeable experiment of its own. The Founder of Trademarkia and LegalForce, Raj Abhyanker, founded the swanky concept store as a retail location for law. Nestled in the heart of bustling downtown Palo Alto, across from the new Apple Store, LegalForce is what you might imagine an Apple approach to law to look and feel like. Bold bursts of orange draw the eye and the modern, design-centered theme carries through to every corner of the shop. Attorneys are on hand to answer questions and there is an array of legal and leadership books available for browse and buy.

Raj and his team welcomed us to use their lower level conference room for our un-event. Against the creative backdrop, we sat down and begun to explain our backgrounds and what experiences have shaped our desire to use our careers to create change in addition to generating value.

a social innovation unconference/hackathon

It was a fascinating few hours. The congenial atmosphere led to an abundance of humor and joking, as well as serious dives into pressing issues.

At the end of the session we whiteboarded our options for issues to address, what we wanted from the experience, and solutions to begin exploring. One local issue that came up was the lack of youth resources in the county. While a number of organizations serve youth, there didn’t seem to be many centers or creative learning spaces for youth to seek mentorship, build skills, and just hang out.

social innovation unconference hackathon at legalforceThe idea to address the youth issue through building some kind of youth accelerator program emerged. It could be a way for professionals to mentor youth, and for youth to drive their learning and interests. We have informally continued exploring the idea, even ‘validate’ the concept by pitching it to local youth.

The day for me sparked something amazing. It was an opportunity to attend an event—and be transported from the audience to the speaker panel on stage. It was empowering to share some of the high-level concepts I have gleaned from writing and thinking about these issues for a long time with others who have also been exploring social innovation through their own lens.

We are hoping to test out this social innovation hackathon unconference concept out again in the near future.

 

#WSIC2013: Wharton Social Impact Conference 2013 in SF

On a sunny Thursday afternoon, over 150 people packed an auditorium at the scenic Wharton San Francisco campus to hear about relevant issues in the social innovation space.

The event—The Wharton Social Impact Conference—was held on April 4th 2013 and featured two lively panel discussions by impact investors and social entrepreneurs.

#WSIC2013: Wharton Social Impact Conference 2013 in SFThe conference was organized by Wharton SF business students and was attended by colleagues, thought leaders in the field, aspiring social entrepreneurs, and members of the community interested in the topic.

 

#WSIC2013: Wharton Social Impact Conference 2013 in SF

Panel 1: The Impact Investors

The first panel brought together four prominent leaders in the impact investment space.  Geoff “Chester” Woolley of Unitus, a VC firm that invests in scalable businesses serving East Asia that address poverty. When asked about what kinds of social enterprises his firm funds, Mr. Woolley said that Unitus is more focused on funding great entrepreneurs rather than financing individual ideas. He emphasized the importance of having a talented, cohesive team.




Next up was Ed Marcum of Humanity United, that funds efforts to give voice to the underrepresented and advance human freedom. He was followed by Penelope Douglas of Social Capital Markets (SOCAP)–which oversees HUB co-working spaces as well as the SOCAP conference. She emphasized that markets + business are crucial levers of change in social enterprise. The final speaker of the panel was Raj Gollamudi of Omidyar Network who spoke about various forms of capital and the increasing importance of patient capital or slow money—to fund major innovation.

#WSIC2013: Wharton Social Impact Conference 2013 in SF

Panel 2: The Social Entrepreneurs

After a brief networking break, the event resumed for an engaging second panel.Oftentimes, there’s a certain electricity that is generated when you get a group of social entrepreneurs in a room. It’s as though their energy, passion, and perseverance radiates to those around them.This panel was no different.

Each successive speaker brought more to the table and delved into a particular unique facet of their social entrepreneurial experience. Leila Janah of Samasource was poised, articulate, and eloquent in explaining her non-profit’s commitment to alleviating poverty through job creation.

She was followed by Alicia Polak of the Bread Project whose candor and openness about creating a local job training & culinary program was disarming, instructive, and entertaining.

Always a crowd favorite, Back to the Roots co-founder Nikhil Arora recapped his journey into social entrepreneurship and touched on the remarkable growth and media their gourmet mushroom kits have garnered. Next up was Jill Vialet of PlayWorks who enlightened the audience about the importance of play and her company’s innovative approach to facilitate play-inspired recess sessions.

Erin Gruwell of Freedom Writers literally brought the crowd to tears with her story of her work challenging her inner-city high school students to write a book. Her passion for her work and her students touched not only the audience in the room but many thousands who watched the Hollywood movie based on her story, Freedom Writers (She was played by Hilary Swank)

In asking one of event organizers, Raghavan Anand about what he took away from the event, he shared his 3 key takeaways, “1) There is value in attaching meaning to money and seeing what impact it can make rather than the raw purchasing power; 2) As the quote goes, ‘Success does not drive happiness but happiness drives success’,” and he pointed out the passion that was felt when the social entrepreneurs explained their work. Finally, Anand noted “3) Happiness is not the end-game. Meaning is, as Viktor Frankl said. And you derive meaning by giving to others, and leaving your impact on the world.”

Storify: Wharton Social Impact Conference (#WSIC2013) in Tweets, Photos, and Posts

To get an even better snapshot of the day, below is a storify compiled to with images, twitter comments, and articles and posts.

[View the story “Wharton Social Impact Conference (#WSIC2013)” on Storify]

A lively gathering of young South Bay progressives gathered in downtown San Jose on Thursday evening, March 28th, 2013 to connect, network, and honor Congressman Mike Honda as part of a Young Progressives Spring Mixer.

A Gathering of Emerging Progressive Leaders

Campbell Mayor Evan Low welcomed attendees—who represented groups including the Silicon Valley Young Democrats, NextGen Bay Area, SJSU Campus Alliance for Economic Justice (CAFEJ), and the Young Workers Council.

Silicon Valley Young Progressives Mixer with Congressman Mike Honda
Campbell Mayor Evan Lowe

Mayor Lowe provided a funny, poignant introduction to the evening. Lowe is a trailblazer himself, who was elected as the nation’s youngest openly gay mayor in 2010. As an Asian American, he also maintains strong ties to the community. He concluded his opening by noting that though he can officiate marriages, he cannot himself marry; and though he can host Boy Scout groups at City Hall, he is not welcome in the organization.

California Congressman Mike Honda

Congressman Mike Honda took to the stage to share his own experiences and observations about the importance of young progressives taking an active role in shaping their communities and local offices.
Silicon Valley Young Progressives Mixer with Congressman Mike HondaCongressman Honda, representing California’s 17th congressional district, was born in the Bay area (Walnut Grove) in June 1941—six months before the December 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.  He spent the majority of his first five years in a Japanese internment camp in Colorado—one of 100,000+ Japanese and Japanese-Americans physically relocated and excluded from society.
Over a decade later, in 1953, Honda’s family returned to California and he completed high school in San Jose and went on to pursue a teaching credential, interrupted by two years of service as Peace Corps volunteer in El Salvador. His career as an educator spanned 30+ years and his first foray into local government was when he successfully ran for election to the San Jose Unified School Board in 1981.
Honda served as an elected official in various capacities before running for U.S. Congress in 2001. He has been re-elected four times consecutively.
Here an excerpt of Congressman Honda’s remarks on equality, justice, and leadership.

“When We Oppress Other People, We Become Oppressed.” – Rep. Mike Honda

References:

Mike Honda (Wikipedia)
Japanese American Internment (Wikipedia)
California 17th Congressional District (Wikipedia)

Innovation is not effective when seen as a sedentary object that be passed from company to organization, or that merely serves to accessorize an office desk or town hall meeting.

Innovation is better understood when seen to be a living, breathing entity that mixes, blends, challenges and inspires impact in diverse industries, cultures, and organizations. Acknowledging this dynamic nature of innovation, two prominent institutes known for teaching organizational strategy and process are teaming together to present the first conference of its kind.The 1st annual Strategic Execution Conference is is being hosted by IPS Learning and the Stanford Center for Professional Development on April 24-25th at the Hyatt San Francisco.

IPS Learning

Meet Tim Wasserman, Chief Learning Officer Tim Wasserman

The conference will bring together organizational leaders and change agents to discuss, explore, and connect on issues surrounding organizational strategy, execution, experience, design, and impact.Innov8Social had a chance to talk to Chief Learning Officer and key organizer of the conference, Tim Wasserman. In his role, Tim also serves as Program Director of the Stanford Advanced Project Management program, where he teaches a number of courses.

How do Strategic Execution and Innovation Connect?

In explaining how the conference came to be, Tim emphasized that IPS and Stanford already have a fourteen year partnership centered around teaching strategy and execution. Additionally, the entities collaborate to offer a Stanford Advanced Project Management Certificate. Tim mentioned that over 4500 students have ‘graduated’ from the certificate program, and nearly ten thousand individuals have taken participated by taking a course in the subject.

He explained that many graduates from the program inquired about how to connect with others in the field, other graduates, and to learn about the ‘real world’ application of strategic execution theory outlined through the coursework.

And thus, the seed for the conference was planted.

Who Should Attend the Conference?

Participants and graduates of the Stanford Advanced Project Management Certificate program are encouraged to attend. Additionally—since the focus is on real-world application and learnings—executives and leaders in of social enterprises, companies, and non-profits would not only gain but also be able to add value to the ongoing conversation about execution and process.

What Should an Participant Hope to Gain from Attending?

The conference organizers recently released the official agenda for the Strategic Execution Conference.  For social innovators, the Wednesday afternoon keynote speech by Nike’s former Sustainability Innovator, Darcy Winslow—will be of interest.

Since the field of strategic execution and process has been evolving and developing for a over a decade, social innovators can also stand to learn by asking questions about how project managers measure impact, and how project management differs and parallels when applied to social enterprise.

You can find out more about the conference and register on the Strategic Execution Conference website.

Special Offer for Innov8Social Readers

The organizers of the Strategic Execution Conference are offering Innov8Social readers a special offer for the event.
Enter the promotion code SECINNOV8 when you register to receive:
  • $1995 special rate, discounted from the original $2395 list rate (savings of $400)
  • One night free hotel at the Hyatt Regency (location of the conference)
Imagine a room full of inventors, designers, social entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and individuals passionate about water innovation—and you can begin to picture the Water Entrepreneurs Showcase 2013 hosted, fittingly, by Imagine H2O.Innov8Social first wrote about the work of Imagine H2O in 2011, in a video interview of one of its team members, Brian Matthay.Imagine H2O 2013 Showcase WinnersImagine H2O, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is dedicated to inspiring and empowering people to turn water challenges into opportunities. For its annual gala held on March 19th 2013, the organization gathered diverse constituents together to meet finalists and announce the winners of its startup competition. The event highlighted promising innovative impact-oriented startups in the water sector based on the selected theme of the year. Past themes included: water efficiency (2009), water energy nexus (2010), wastewater (2011), and consumer water innovations (2012).

The Competition

The 2012 competition kicked off in the Fall, with a call for business plans to be submitted between September 1st and November 15th 2012.  Startups worked on pitches, business strategy, and product design and a win based on judge feedback. Imagine H2O Showcase winners receive cash prizes, free software, mentorship and a spot on Imagine H2O’s exclusive Accelerator Program.

The Venue

The Water Entrepreneur’s Showcase was held in the beautiful gallery of Autodesk building in downtown San Francisco. Autodesk is one of the headlining sponsors of Imagine H20 and itself has a vibrant Clean Tech Partner Program within its division for Sustainable Design. The gallery showcases incredible innovations in design (including the crowd favorite, a life-sized motorcycle suspended with cables—that was printed from a 3D printer…see below for a tweeted photo)

 

Winners

Finalists were divided into two broad groups depending on their stage of development and production. The Pre-Revenue track included those startups in their early stages of operations, with a strong business plan, measurable methods of impact, but no operating revenue.

The second broad group, the early revenue track includes startups that are farther along in their product development and sales but still relatively new in the entrepreneurial space.

Below you will find the winners and finalists along with descriptions of the startup ventures, as displayed on the official Imagine H2O finalist page.

Pre-Revenue Track Winners of Imagine H2O Showcase 2013 

Imagine H2O 2013 Winner: Leak Defense Alert
Leak Defense Alert Founder Scott
Pallais holding his award.

Leak Defense Alert combines an easy-to-install sensor and transmitter that automatically identifies home leaks and notifies the homeowner that there is an issue requiring attention – essentially creating a “smoke detector” for water leaks.

Led by a team of Haitian and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and investors, Dlo Haiti offers a market-based solution providing safe drinking water in Haiti at a price average Haitians can afford. Dlo Haiti seeks to replace centralized water purification and delivery by truck with a decentralized approach to lower costs and improve water quality.

By matching the flow of water to lawn outlines, Innogation’s SMARTRotor™ dramatically reduces water used for outdoor irrigation while providing up to 98% distribution uniformity.

Early Revenue Track Winners of Imagine H2O Showcase 2013 

  • Winner: PaveDrain
    PaveDrain is an innovative paving system made up of arched concrete blocks that feature internal store chambers to absorb storm-water runoff while still maintaining a tough rugged exterior able to withstand extreme weather conditions, heavy vehicle loads, and storm downpours. The PaveDrain system is comprised of interlocking paving stones that are visually appealing, water saving, and highly functional. The PaveDrain system can be be used in a multitude of settings including driveways, city streets, sidewalks, and parking lots.

Finalists

Pre-Revenue Track Finalists
This stainless steel retrofit toilet flapper is designed to address a very basic, yet large, source of lost water. According to the American Water Association, one out of five toilets are leaking today because of faulty toilet flappers.
A biomimicry and nanotechnology company that harvests water from the air, NBD Technologies employs materials science and chemical engineering innovations to create water from the air. ReFresh
A provider of water on the go, ReFresh’s water distribution machines provide bottled water and accept used bottles for a partial refund making drinking water cheaper, more convenient, and more environmentally friendly.Early Revenue Track Finalists

Jompy 
The Jompy water boiler is a simple, easy to use device that allows the user to cook food and boil water simultaneously, so saving on fuel and time spent over an open fire. The Jompy will pasteurize contaminated water reducing the chance of water borne diseases such as diarrhea and cholera.

The HighSierra Showerhead combines a low-profile design that uses 40% less water and a flow control that maintain the feel and experience of a conventional showerhead even at varying pressures.

Tweets, Images, Articles from #ih2o13 made with @Storify

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