Friday, May 18, 2012

Allied Mindstorm - A New Approach to Encouraging Innovation

I am excited to share with you a new approach to encouraging  innovation.

Meet Allied Mindstorm


Allied Minds builds startups from university and government-funded research. We think we’re smart people, but sometimes we see new technology and we’re stumped.
What can we do with plastic batteries or silver ink pens that conduct electricity?They sound really sci-fi, but we have no idea what to do with them (and sometimes the scientists don’t either). But we’re hoping that you do.


  • Glory
  • An outlet for your inner geek
  • Access to smart and interesting peers
  • Resume building
  • And maybe a little cash: $500 to the best idea per challenge and $25,000 to any Thinker whose contribution results in a company.* 
We hope to provide you with all of the above, but more than anything, we want you to have fun and feel like you’re a part of our entrepreneurial community.


Our goal with this project is to move research forward instead of letting it go stale in a lab. 
And if we can start a company that offers new products and create jobs, we’re happy with that too.

The folks at Allied Mindstorm were kind enough to highlight me in their Blog as one of their "Thinkers."  

Meet one of our first Thinkers: White Rhino aka Al Chase. I’m not entirely sure how to organize my thoughts around Al. To say that he’s multi-faceted isn’t quite right. Scientists around the world agree that there are 3 dimensions (4 if you include time). String theory suggests that there are even more dimensions, maybe up to 26, but no one’s been able to prove it. I’d like to offer Al as evidence that these multiple dimensions exist.  
PROFESSION: By day he’s an executive recruiter with a specialty in placing entrepreneurial “Renaissance Men and Women”, many of whom have had a distinguished military/service career and hold MBAs from top-tier business schools. By night, he’s a professional actor. Stints include: Mr. Mushnik in Little Shop of Horrors, Sancho Pancho in Man of La Mancha, Willy Wonka, and Wilbur the Pig in Charlotte’s Web.
DISPOSITION: Engaged with the world. A self-described Les Miserables junkie, for the past few years, Al has hosted a Socratic Roundtable every Sunday at a local restaurant in Boston. The purpose: encouraging a broad diversity of opinion and any disagreements are handled with civility.  Recent topic: First thing that comes to your mind & heart when you think of Whitney Houston. Discuss.
EDUCATION: Sociology (Wheaton College), Theology (Fuller Theological Seminary, Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary)
COMPANIES HE ADMIRES: Companies that value good management skills and great leadership. LinkedIn (obviously). Google because they give people time off to work on their own projects. Pepsico because of their outstanding leadership. Al shares a story of a Marine reserve who accepted a position at Pepsi only to called be for deployment a few weeks later. After giving Pepsi the news, the company not only held the position for him, but paid to relocate the Marine’s family. It was all worked out on a 10 minute call.
FUN FACT: Al earned this nickname soon after college in St. Paul, MN.  He played street ball in the inner city and due to his level of aggression, the neighborhood players used to say “Watch out, here comes the White Rhino.”  He Off the chart adrenaline junkie, parachuted, scuba, solo pilot,
So that’s just a tiny glimpse into Al and I didn’t describe him justly. Given what I’ve learned about our Thinkers and their life experiences, I’d say there is more than enough evidence to prove string theory.

Check out their Blog and website and let me know what you think.


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