“Even with all the bureaucracy and corporate sludge, there are people on the inside who know the value of disruption.” — Shawn Nason
- How to disrupt the status quo
- Passion, work, and community
- Curbing youth suicide with AI
- Green business innovation
- Tech on buses
- Business hub comes to Innovation Alley
- Know your City!
- Around the region
September 22, 2020
MOFI disrupts the status quo and a whole lot more
MOFI CEO Shawn Nason
Last fall, retail behemoth Walmart opened a health center at its store in Dallas, GA, the first of a string of clinics designed to offer convenient and affordable healthcare. When Walmart needed help designing the customer experience, it turned to MOFI, a boutique consulting firm based in Cincinnati.
MOFI is headed by CEO and chief disruptor Shawn “Man on Fire” Nason, whose résumé includes stops at Walt Disney Imagineering, Humana, Xavier University, and Healthways. Cincinnati Future caught up with Nason to learn more about MOFI.
Tell us about MOFI
Nason: MOFI really got its start in June 2018 with the goal of working with partners like Walmart Health to improve the human experience through disruption. Earlier this year, we acquired Innovation Excellence, an online community of disruptors, and rebranded it the Disruptor League. Also part of the ecosystem are The Pink Couch, which focuses on issues facing women of color, and Truth Tellers, which “helps men live authentically in the land of bullshit.” We also recently launched a podcast called The Combustion Chronicles.
What holds all those elements together?
Nason: We believe you can either disrupt or be disrupted. We believe in falling in love with the problem, not the solution. We believe disruptors are everywhere, but too often they’re isolated and lonely and—especially in a corporate setting—beaten down by the status quo. And most of all we believe you have to put humans first in everything you do.
You’ve compared yourself to a traveling evangelist. Explain.
Nason: Evangelists would travel into towns and do special revival services. They’d blow in, blow things up (hellfire and brimstone will do that), and then blow out, leaving the church staff to deal with what had taken place. That’s pretty much what I do today as a disruptor.
And companies welcome that?
Nason: The ones that want to survive do. Even with all the bureaucracy and corporate sludge, there are people on the inside who know the value of disruption.
You recently launched Disruptor League Plus. What’s that?
Nason: It’s a subscription service for Disruptor League members that gives them access to training, exclusive content and, most importantly, other DL+ members.
How’s the podcast going?
Our guests have disrupted everything from real estate to fashion to healthcare. One of our season 2 guests will be fellow Cincy resident Sean Slovenski, who launched Walmart Health and is the new CEO of testing company BioIQ. Our guests make up a really diverse group, united by their willingness to be themselves, think big and fail forward.
Passion, work, and community can move mountains
The team at Hive Networks understands the benefit of having passion in a mission. And that mission is an important one—bringing patients, parents, clinicians, and researchers together in a working community for better health outcomes.
John Bostick, CEO, originally planned to retire and take some time off after 36 years in IT and Software Development. Ten days into retirement, he met Dr. Peter Margolis, researcher and change agent from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Margolis was devoted to improving outcomes for pediatric and chronic diseases through Learning Health Networks. Bostick knew that software and analytics had the potential to increase the spread of the model Margolis was working on. He was sold.
“It didn’t take me long to come out of retirement to become part of a global movement to provide the quality of life that everyone deserves, help increase the speed of improved outcomes, and make the US healthcare system more affordable,” Bostick said.
Scott Roth, CTO, is also passionate about solving problems in healthcare with technology solutions that truly help people and are developed by a collaborative team. The Hive mission is to provide a technology platform that brings working communities together to improve the quality of care of millions of people.
“The team we have assembled at Hive provides motivation for me to keep pushing forward. Our team lives the mission and is working hard together to provide solutions to enable these Learning Health Networks. Being part of this team is more than just a job,” Roth said. “Providing a safe community for patients to find the information they need, to share their problems or struggles, and be a part of improving their own health is extremely important.”
Click here to learn more about HIVE Networks and their passion driven team.
Can AI curb suicide among youth?
Cincinnati-based Clarigent Health is developing an artificial-intelligence tool to prevent suicide in children and adolescents. The tool uses machine learning to identify vocal biomarkers in at-risk youth to provide early intervention options. The work is a collaboration between Clarigent and the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
The rate of suicide has tripled among children in the past decade and is the second leading cause of death in the US among people ages 10 to 34. Clarigent’s tool listens for absolutist words, certain pronouns, aggression, violence, and the pace, breathiness, and inflection of speech. It has been validated in four clinical trials and is currently undergoing a study of 2,000 students.
Celebrating green business innovation
TrueChoicePack (TCP) has won a Cincinnati Business Courier Innovation and Technology Award. The annual program recognizes local companies that develop innovative products and services for Greater Cincinnati—and TCP has made the list by winning the Green Business Innovation category.
TCP, founded in 2008, has made a name for itself by producing a line of eco-friendly disposable products for the retail and food and beverage industries, like plates and trash can liners and cutlery, that are compostable and made from renewable resources. Among its customers are Kroger, Amazon, Walmart, and Staples.
ODOT grant brings tech enhancements to city buses
Cincinnati Metro has received a $3.2 million grant from the Ohio Department of Transportation to bring tech and other advancements to its buses. The grant includes $2 million for tech enhancements to city buses and another $1.2 million for system improvements.
The tech enhancements include free Wi-Fi in every bus, improved real-time bus location information, and signage. Buses will also be equipped with updated video security features. In addition to the tech enhancements, the city won $780,000 to invest in alternative fueling strategies to become environmentally friendlier, and $480,000 toward implementing adjustments to route alignments, bus stop locations, and bus schedules.
Innovation fuels must-read stories
Our writers work tirelessly to bring you the stories about the most innovative people and organizations. To aid in this effort, Cincinnati Future created a local innovation radar so our team AND YOU can keep up with who and what are shaping Cincinnati's future. This unique tool has very likely helped create a story you've read in a recent newsletter.
There are over 200 organizations on our radar. Is your company on the radar? Explore the innovation radar to find out.
Recent additions to Cincinnati's Innovation Radar
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NKU and Covington launch initiative to boost economic growth
At a recent ribbon-cutting, the city of Covington and Northern Kentucky University marked the creation of the Collaborative for Economic Engagement, a hub for entrepreneurs and businesses aimed at spurring economic growth in the region.
The hub is located at Covington’s Innovation Alley, and its goal is to combine NKU’s expertise in areas like data analytics, logistics, and health with regional programs, which NKU president Ashish Vaidya said will help “catalyze a prosperous, equitable, and inclusive regional ecosystem through economic development and entrepreneurship.”
Innovation Alley already hosts medical testing firm Gravity Diagnostics, Bexion Pharmaceuticals, Grainwell Market, and a cluster or early-stage startups. The Collaborative has found a good home.
Attend the virtual Vogt Awards Demo Day on Oct. 15
Register now for the virtual Vogt Awards Demo Day on Thursday, Oct. 15.
Meet the six 2020 early-stage companies selected to each receive a $25,000 grant, participation in a 10-week lean startup program, coaching from scalable startup CEOs, industry mentorship, and strategic introductions. With the announcement of these winners, the Community Foundation of Louisville is honored to have supported 84 companies with $3.5 million in Vogt Award grants throughout the program's 20-year history. You don’t want to miss this celebration, register here.
Have you checked your "Cincy-Q" recently?
- George Rieveschl was a chemistry professor and researcher at the University of Cincinnati in the '40s. What is he known for inventing?
- This Cincy native was the first African-American to win the National Medal of Technology (which he won posthumously in 1991). Who was he and what was his most notable invention?
- While living in Cincinnati, Granville T. Woods set up his own company to develop, manufacture and sell electrical apparatus. What was his first patented invention?
Click here to see answers.
We hope you enjoy these headlines from the latest issue of Flyover Future, chronicling innovation throughout the Midwest. If you'd like to subscribe to Flyover Future, click here.
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