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  • Purnima Thakre

Curiouser and Curiouser: Insights from our August 2017 Innovation Showcase

While the weather outside is getting colder, the energy in the room at August’s Curiouser and Curiouser event was warmer than ever–there were lots of smiles, laughs, excited hand gestures, and most importantly, great ideas. What better way to end summer than with a gathering of friends and colleagues to inspire one another?


This month’s event brought together avid musicians, project developers, data scientists, poets, and more to share ideas that they were passionate about. From environmental successes to theme park innovation, there was never a lull in the room.


This month’s event followed the same format as June and July’s evenings, with each attendee bringing an idea that excited them and sharing it with the rest of the group in three minutes or less.


If you’re curious about what ideas were shared that night, read on; we’ve recapped them all for you in this list:

  1. Eduardo PujolThis startup that turns Ubers and Lyfts into mobile convenience stores

  2. Sadaf Atarod – A web platform that is revolutionizing the scholarship process by having students perform competitive problem-solving challenges rather than writing essays

  3. Max Osbon – How we can be more productive by focusing on the opposite of what you want to achieve

  1. Vita ShklovskyExploring the DNA of music by finding samples, remixes, and covers of songs

  2. Toria Rainey – How green spaces can benefit our happiness, health, and our economy   

  1. Raghav Balasubramanyam – A “drinkable” hardcover book with purifying paper that can kill nearly 100 percent of disease-causing bacteria

  2. Purnima Thakre – The future of theme park and resort entertainment is here with Disney’s Star Wars themed park, Galaxy’s Edge

  3. Shirin Mojarad – A web based learning software that uses artificial intelligence to prepare individualized learning plans

  4. Zach BraikerAdvanced artificial intelligence that can not only think and act like humans, but can also detect and react to human emotions

  5. Steven Biondolillo – How the advent of book-club style poetry groups can restore our culture’s diminishing empathy

  6. Jorge Sanabria – The world’s first machine learning and real time tracking solution for grocery stores to offer customers dynamic pricing based on product expiration date

  7. Mack AscanioA music app that automatically seamlessly mixes your songs the way a DJ would

  8. Crista Núñez – The surprisingly romantic beauty of underwater crop circles

  9. Joanne Markow – Digital Death: exploring ancient ruins without digging, video tombstones, QR code graves, and other interactive memorials

  1. Mayato HattoriShooting stars on demand for celebrations

  2. Daniel Goez – The new paradigm of Smart Contracts through BlockChain


As an added bonus, we opened the floor to Curiouser participants for a rapid-fire round of sharing things that everyone should read, watch, listen to, or do. Here are their suggestions.


  1. Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri

  2. Drinking Coffee Elsewhere by ZZ Packer

  3. Give and Take by Adam Grant

  4. Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

  5. Zero to One by Peter Thiel

  6. Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav


  1. Abstract (Netflix)

  2. Black Mirror (Netflix)

  3. Narcos (Netflix)

  4. Downward Dog (Hulu)

  5. The Wire (HBO)

  6. Get Out (film)

  7. Where To Invade Next (film)

  8. What the Health (documentary)

  9. Spiders along the esplanade

  10. The solar eclipse

  11. Spider-Man: Homecoming (film)

  12. The Defiant Ones (film)

  13. USA’s Helen Maroulis winning the Olympic Gold Medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics (YouTube)

  14. Dangal (Bollywood film)

  15. Shake Up Your Story (Ted Talk)

  16. Dunkirk (film)


  1. Lila Downs

  2. Jacob Collier

  3. Dunkirk (film) soundtrack

  4. The voice of a 2-month-old

  5. Mohsin Hamid and ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’ (NPR)

  6. Tatyana’s Letter Poem by Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin

  7. The Tim Ferriss Show (iTunes)

  8. Masters of Scale (iTunes)

  9. Game of Thrones (HBO) soundtrack


  1. Get lost in a museum

  2. Eat lots of lobster

  3. Give thanks to the world

  4. Tell the people you love that you love them

  5. Get lost in the forest

  6. Go to Vegas

  7. Get a helicopter license

  8. Experience a Glacier

  9. Wear Fivefingers shoes like Zach

  10. Take the architectural foundation tour in Chicago

  11. Send a handwritten note

  12. Try Flyboarding

  13. Try the trapeze

  14. Go to Rockport before winter


We’ll be announcing next month’s event in the near future, so keep an eye out if you’d like to be a part of these inspiring evenings.

Did any of the ideas you read spark a new one within you? Do you have ideas of your own you want to share? If you’re a curious person and interested in attending our future “Curiouser and Curiouser” events, feel free to send us a message at

Cover photo credit by Hans-Peter Gauster

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