Business Insider

Jay Larsen: Hackborn was right: Idaho innovators create great ideas for the next generation

Jay Larsen
Jay Larsen

Members of the Idaho Technology Council knew they had a winner in their new relationship with the Idaho Innovation Awards in 2010 when the brilliant Dick Hackborn, co-architect and builder of Hewlett-Packard’s innovative workforce launched in Boise in the late 1970s, stepped to the podium to become one of the inaugural inductees into the Idaho Technology Hall of Fame. What excited him, Hackborn said, wasn’t just the celebration of HP’s powerful influence on the development of the Idaho technology ecosystem: What he marveled at were the great ideas arrayed in front of the Idaho tech community from the Idaho Innovation Awards finalists.

Ever since that moment, Idaho technology professionals get excited every fall to bring their best ideas to the Idaho Innovation Awards. Three finalists for each award were selected, and winners in four categories were revealed Oct. 23 at the Idaho Technology Hall of Fame Celebration. More than 700 tech professionals gathered at Boise Centre to induct voice-mail innovator and philanthropist Greg Carr and Keynetics co-founder Tim Barber to the Idaho Technology Hall of Fame.

Innovation is the spark that ignites the process that leads entrepreneurs and companies to bring new products, goods and services to market. Because innovation is a sign of a vibrant and growing economy, the Idaho Innovation Awards program seeks to create awareness of innovative products, companies and professionals in our state.

Founded by Stoel Rives LLP and built through partnerships with Kickstand and the Idaho Technology Council, the Idaho Innovation Awards are in their eighth year of celebrating innovation in Idaho. Because it is Idaho’s first and only innovation awards program, event organizers take pride in recognizing individuals who have used their talents, ingenuity and determination to make a lasting impact not only in Idaho, but throughout the nation.

Nominees in the program are strictly evaluated by their peers in Idaho’s business, technology and academic communities. This rigorous process ensures the awards are given to the most deserving candidates within these four categories:

1) Commercialized Innovation of the Year: Designed to recognize innovations from established companies, this requires companies to have been in business for five or more years. The innovation must be on the market and generating revenue. 2013 winner: CradlePoint Enterprise Cloud Manager by CradlePoint. Finalists: Automated Recall Process Management System by Recall InfoLink; KLIM Stealth Series by KLIM.

2) Early Stage Innovation of the Year: These innovations can originate from university technology transfer offices or companies that are less than five years old. The nominees should be in or emerging from the R&D stage or new to the market and not yet commercialized. 2013 winner: Switchable Polarity Solvents Forward Osmosis by Idaho National Laboratory. Finalists: ReadyLight Pistol Light by William Squires; Syphon Soundwrap by Syphon Sound.

3) Innovative Company of the Year: This award recognizes organizations that express innovation through their management style, product lines or service approaches. 2013 winner: Kount. Finalists: CradlePoint; MetaGeek LLC.

4) Innovator of the Year: These business professionals demonstrate innovative characteristics in their careers and their workplaces. 2013 winner: David Cohen, CEO, FieldSync Mobile Solutions LLC. Finalists: Nancy Caspersen, president and CEO, Quit and Live Global, Inc.; Patrick Lawless, executive director, StartupBoise.

As Dick Hackborn did, these creative minds deserve to be celebrated because innovation is the element that will allow our businesses to create sustainable competitive advantages. The 2013 award nominees continue to demonstrate exceptional leadership and the spirit of innovation — key characteristics that will allow Idaho to grow and thrive.; 422-9100