Improvising Inventors

An integral part of innovation is failure, you need to be open to failure in order to part take in innovation. But what happens when you fail. Instead of starting over and trying again, you can improvise. In this event we explored how inventors can take advantage of an unsuccessful situation simply by improvising.


March 3rd’s First Wednesday event will revolve around an open panel discussion with local inventors that focuses on the relationship between improvisation and invention. Often, successful activities do not turn out as anticipated; adapting and improvising are core competencies for innovators.

This SVII program will bring together several inventors for a discussion concerning the types of improvisation they have utilized to become successful.

The following inventors will be participating in March:

Ed Austin – Flings
SVII member Ed Austin developed the pop-up recycling and trash containers known as Flings. An inventive way to make recycling easier, Flings are now available at Safeways across the country. More information can be found online at

Joy Mountford – QuickTime
During her time at Apple Computer, Joy Mountford managed the Human Interface Group; the group that developed QuickTime, AppleSearch, and Macintosh Finder, among other software programs. She was also the founder of Apple’s International Interface Design Project. An interview with Joy can be found at

Todd Basche – Wordlock
CEO of Wordlock, Inc., Todd Basche invented the Wordlock padlock because he could never remember number combinations. Prior to developing Wordlock, Todd was VP of Software Applications at Apple, responsible for creating iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, and iDVD. More information about Wordlock can be found at

Innovation on the Edge of Chaos

Bruce Sawhill, ePluribus Research
with Jim Herriot

Dr. Bruce Sawhill will tell the story of chaos theory from the viewpoint of how the history of science influences and is influenced by the history of civilization and cannot be considered separately. In particular, why is chaos theory a relatively recent invention when in principle it could have been discovered in Newton’s time? The implications for modern day personal and business life will be discussed.

Dr. Bruce Sawhill received his PhD in theoretical physics from Stanford University in 1985. After a postdoc at the Max Planck Institut in Munich, he settled at the Santa Fe Institute from 1991-97 to study chaos and complexity science. In 1997 he co-founded the Bios Group, a complexity science consulting group formed to apply cutting edge science to business problems. In 2002 he co-founded DayJet Corp., the world’s first per-seat on-demand jet taxi service.