Shirin Laor-Raz Salemnia — Founder and CEO, PlayWerks


Shirin Laor-Raz Salemnia is the Founder and CEO of PlayWerks, an interactive media company that creates high quality multi-platform immersive games and experiences that engage children and adults. She is also the Founder of  WhizGirlsAcademy, where students engage in exciting projects that help them acquire coding skills while building confidence, healthy balanced lifestyles, and growing as members of their communities. She previously worked at MGA Entertainment on Bratz and at Mattel on Barbie, where she… [See Full Post]

Thomas Thurston — Founder, Growth Science


Growth Science was founded by Thomas Thurston following a year-long research effort he led at the Harvard Business School with professor Clayton Christensen and the Intel Corporation. Thurston had previously helped found an Intel business in the high performance computing industry that was ultimately spun-out and acquired by a competitor. The experience motivated Thurston to start building a database of Intel’s prior innovations, acquisitions and venture capital investments. He wanted to search for quantitative patterns… [See Full Post]

Fabio Zaffagnini – Creator, Rockin’ 1000


Fabio Zaffagnini is the creator of Rockin’1000, a crowdfunded project that culminated in a performance where 1000 musicians played a Foo Fighters’ song, whose video went viral on the web with more than 24 million views. Furthermore, Fabio is a Co-founder of Trail Me Up, a start up that creates augmented virtual reality experiences of hike trails. In 2015 he entered the European Commission’s Expert list for his product design skills. Previously, he dealt with… [See Full Post]

Steven Gilbert — Chairman, Gilbert Global Equity Partners, L.P.


Steven J. Gilbert is Chairman of the Board of Gilbert Global Equity Partners, L.P., a billion dollar private equity fund. He is Vice Chairman of the Executive Board of MidOcean Equity Partners, LP, Co­ Chairman of Birch Grove Capital, and until 2009, Senior Managing Director and Chairman of Sun Group (USA). From 1992 to 1997 he was the Founder and Managing General Partner of Soros Capital L.P., the principal venture capital and leveraged transaction entity… [See Full Post]

Shah Karim — CEO, Saferock


Shah Karim is an expert on customer engagement, improving shareholder value, Big Data, and retail. For more than 20 years, Mr. Karim has guided retailers and corporations on digital transformation, cost reduction, and business turnarounds. He is the CEO of Saferock. Mr. Karim has researched and spoken on Big Data and Customer Engagement at dmexco, Citi Research (Retail Equities), the Univ of North Texas and presented to Fortune 500 companies. He has been interviewed and… [See Full Post]

Donald Trump And The Wollman Rinking of American Politics

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  Excerpted from a Forbes article written by Craig Hatkoff and Irwin Kula: We best understand the world through compelling narratives. Here’s one that helps us process the phenomenon known as Trump for President: “Once upon a time there was an ice skating rink in Central Park that could no longer make ice. No one could figure out how to fix the skating rink. Years went by and millions of dollars were spent and still… [See Full Post]

‘Scenema’ And The Truth According To Darren Wilson

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Excerpted from a Forbes.com article by Craig Hatkoff and Irwin Kula: Driven by their own quest to better understand the emotions, conflict and complexities that emerged from the tragedy of Michael Brown’s death, filmmakers Sol Guy and Ezra Miller have just premiered a provocative experimental work–a standalone “scene” extruded from the larger drama of Ferguson, Missouri. The four and a half minute piece is called The Truth According to Darren Wilson, which inaugurated a new feature, The Scene, on Tribeca… [See Full Post]

Trumping Hamilton: A Tale of Two Bastards

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Excerpted from a Forbes.com article by Craig Hatkoff and Irwin Kula: Last week two great American spectacles, one featuring Alexander Hamilton and the other Donald Trump, had their opening nights. Both shows made great theater, each starring quite arguably a slightly flawed, unconventional anti-hero, i.e. a character with non-traditional heroic attributes. Anti-heroes can tend to be real bastards but we kind of like them anyway. Anti-hero? Just think Walter White in “Breaking Bad.” A very lovable bastard… [See Full Post]

Jennifer Jacquet — Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Studies at NYU

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Jennifer Jacquet is an assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Studies at NYU. She is an environmental social scientist who studies large-scale cooperation dilemmas, such as overfishing, climate change, and the wildlife trade. She is the author of IS SHAME NECESSARY? (Pantheon, 2015) — about the evolution, function, and future of the use of social disapproval in solving the tragedy of the commons. Website – jenniferjacquet.com Twitter – @jenniferjacquet Select Publications: Gawker Harper’s BBC… [See Full Post]

Alejandro Bermudez – Director of the English Catholic News Agency, Executive Director of Aci-Prensa

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At present, Mr. Bermúdez is Director of the largest Catholic news Agency in Spanish ACI-PRENSA (www.aciprensa.com) and the Executive Director of the English Catholic News Agency (www.catholicnewsagency.com); as well as the Portuguese www.acidigital.com. He is a frequent contributor to the National Catholic Register and Our Sunday Visitor and is host for several programs both in Spanish on EWTN, mainly “Criterios” in Radio Católica Mundial and commentator at EWTN Noticias. He is also a guest commentator… [See Full Post]

Is Donald Trump a Disruptive Political Innovation?

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Excerpted from a Forbes.com article by Craig Hatkoff and Irwin Kula: Despite all of the hoopla about Donald Trump’s quixotic quest to become the 45th President of the United States, it remains highly improbably, in spite of leading in the Republican polls, that the Donald will ever sit in the Oval Office. It is easy to cast aspersions and ridicule almost everything about Donald’s shoot-from-the-hip campaign from his inflammatory and offensive epithets about Mexicans, his… [See Full Post]

Matt Chamlin, Lifelong Disruptor

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Matt Chamlin has been president of nine consumer product companies including Lark Luggage, Burlington Hosiery, Ellesse, Arrow Shirts, Cybergenics and Izod-Lacoste.  He has also held senior executive positions at Revlon, General Mills, Merck and Reebok.  He is a graduate of Columbia College, received an MBA from Columbia School of Business and subsequently taught at the graduate and undergraduate levels at Pratt Institute, Carnegie-Mellon University, Fordham University and New York University.  He has been a consultant… [See Full Post]

Camille Massey – Founding Executive Director, Sorensen Center at CUNY Law School

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Camille Massey is the Founding Executive Director of the Sorensen Center for International Peace and Justice at CUNY Law School. Launched in the fall of 2014, the Sorensen Center is named after Ted Sorensen, long-time close advisor and speechwriter to President John F. Kennedy. The Sorensen Center trains social justice lawyers and protects the rights of those affected by instability, conflict, and repression. Previously Camille served as Vice President of Global Strategy and Programs at… [See Full Post]

Jennifer Lopez – Founder and CEO, Wisenn & Co and Founding Member, NASA Datanaut Corps

Jennifer Lopez

Jennifer Lopez is the Founder and CEO of Wisenn & Co., a global advisory firm providing personalized solutions for strategic partnerships in areas of social impact, STEM, and innovation. Among her recent clients: CASIS – Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, The New York Academy of Sciences, Global STEM Alliance, PopTech, American Society for Clinical Pathology, United Nations Association, and Women’s Foreign Policy Group. Jennifer is the Founding Member of NASA’s Datanaut Corps in the… [See Full Post]

Rabbis Without Borders: The Pop-up Rabbi (by Irwin Kula)


A few weeks back I wrote about how exciting and unnerving it is that, according to a new Pew Report on religion, institutional religion in America is clearly weakening. With people mixing, blending and bending their identities – and with spiritual resources increasingly accessible independent of religious institutions and authorities – there are now more Americans religiously unaffiliated than there are members of any denomination! In other words, America’s largest religion is None (or unaffiliated). I suggested… [See Full Post]

Asi Burak — President, Games For Change

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Asi Burak is an award-winning game creator, tech executive, and social entrepreneur.  He is the President of Games for Change (G4C), a nonprofit with the mission to catalyze social impact through digital game.  As the Executive Producer of the Half the Sky Movement games, he orchestrated partnerships with Zynga, some of the world’s leading NGOs and Pulitzer Prize-winning authors Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.  The Facebook game has reached 1.4 million registered players and generated $500,000 in… [See Full Post]

Ava DuVernay – AFFRM Founder & Filmmaker


Ava DuVernay is a writer, producer, director and distributor of independent film. Nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture, her most recent film SELMA chronicles the historic 1965 voting rights campaign led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ‎She previously wrote, produced and directed the dramatic feature, MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, which earned her the 2012 Sundance Film Festival Best Director Award. In 2010, she wrote, financed, produced and directed her first narrative feature, I WILL… [See Full Post]

Veni, Video, Vici

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The Wall Street Journal featured a front page story on our own Prince Fahad al Saud who gave the world its first public preview (at Tribeca and Games for Change) of his gaming company’s ground-breaking video game “Saudi Girls Revolution.” Scheduled for release toward the end of the year by Fahad’s gaming company NA3M, SGR is designed to help change cultural stereotypes of the Middle East. This game could be a real game-changer. Fahad previewed SGR at Games for… [See Full Post]

Congratulations to our Fearless Moderator Perri Peltz on her New Film

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Here’s a piece I’d like everyone to read. And watch the video. It’s a piece Irwin did about Perri Peltz’s latest film:  “I was in Baltimore this past weekend for the bar mitzvah of my close friend’s grandson. The site of our last racial hot zone, Baltimore is still reeling from the recent unrest over Freddie Gray’s death (tourism is reportedly down; some students are turning down Baltimore universities where they’ve been accepted for 2015-’16), while… [See Full Post]

Innovating Race in America (by Rabbi Irwin Kula)


Part of the #TENRABBIS blog by the rabbis at TDIA 2015. Originally posted on The Wisdom Daily.  By Rabbi Irwin Kula Do you know who Dixon White is? The proud, self-proclaimed “redneck” is a former racist – and a YouTube phenomenon. His viscerally honest, rough, intense, cuss-filled (NSFW), incredibly discomforting video “I’m a Redneck and I Love America” has already gone viral with millions of views. In the clip, he picks apart “a White supremacist culture… [See Full Post]

Photos: Awards 2015

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Photography credit: Andrew Federman


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By Craig Hatkoff Two years ago at the Awards, Clay Christensen issued a call to action for everyone in attendance; Clay in his remarks exhorted that “we desperately need to disrupt religion, parenting and terrorism!” We took Clay’s call to action quite seriously particularly with regard to religion. Last year Pope Francis received our Adam Smith Prize presented by the Harvard Business Review; his Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium was our book of the year. We… [See Full Post]

When You Give David Lynch A Hammer…

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Last Friday at the sixth annual Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards, we honored filmmaker David Lynch for his work with the David Lynch Foundation, which has become a powerful force introducing Transcendental Meditation as a healing and stress-reducing program to hundreds of thousands of children and adults. We welcomed TM educator of 40 years and the Foundation’s Executive Director (and a Disruptor Foundation Fellow), Bob Roth, to accept on Lynch’s behalf when we heard that Lynch couldn’t make… [See Full Post]

Fran Lebowitz: Disruptor Foundation Fellow

Fran Lebowitz

Fran Lebowitz lives in New York City where she divides her time.

Cobie Smulders: Disruptor Foundation Fellow


Cobie Smulders, well known to audiences for her role as Robin Sherbatzky on CBS’s hit show “How I Met Your Mother,” has recently starred in “The Avengers”, opposite Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner and Scarlett Johansson. She reprised her role for “Captain America: The Winter Soldier and will next be seen in “Avengers: Age of Ultron” which will be released on May 1, 2015. She will next star in the… [See Full Post]

Press Release: 6th Annual Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards

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TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL AND DISRUPTOR FOUNDATION ANNOUNCE HONOREES FOR SIXTH ANNUAL DISRUPTIVE INNOVATION AWARDS *** Award collaboration with Harvard professor Clay Christensen to recognize leading disruptors of consequence including Airbnb, VICE Media, Rent The Runway, Girls Who Code, journalist Peter Greste, Ford Foundation’s Darren Walker, Formula E Racing and more *** Walter Isaacson’s “The Innovators” named Book of the Year, Headspace named App of the Year New York, NY [March 27, 2015] – The Tribeca… [See Full Post]

Pope Francis: CEO and Epic Innovator

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Excerpted from a Forbes.com article by Craig Hatkoff and Irwin Kula: Every CEO is an evangelizer. So those struggling with how to deal with the pressures of disruption would do well to closely follow Pope Francis. His first bit of sage advice for every CEO is: “An evangelizer must never look like someone who has just come back from a funeral!” Last April Pope Francis received not one but two awards at our annual Tribeca… [See Full Post]

Pittsburgh Education Blog Part 2: STEAM Learning

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We are thrilled to have two of our 2014 disruptors from honoree city Pittsburgh, PA — Cathy Lewis Long and Gregg Behr — continue with fantastic guest blog posts in their series on the evolving nature of education!    Left and Right Sides of the Brain Reunite through STEAM Learning By Gregg Behr, Linda Hippert, and Cathy Lewis Long   Last week, thousands gathered in Los Angeles to celebrate the coming together of science, technology, engineering, the… [See Full Post]

VIDEO: TDIA Profiled on HLN

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During the week leading up to this year’s Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards, HLN introduced the world to four of the newest key players in disruptive innovation (above) on national television. Watch their reel featuring four of our honorees — Kevin Kelley (“The coach who never punts”), Debbie Sterling (“GoldieBlox”), Yael Cohen (“Fuck Cancer”) and Adam Braun (“Pencils of Promise”). WHAT’S YOUR SPUTNIK MOMENT? In 1957, the launch of the world’s first artificial satellite, Sputnik I,… [See Full Post]

How To Die In America: Welcome To La Crosse, WI

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Excerpted from a Forbes.com article by Craig Hatkoff and Irwin Kula: One of the most intractable and politically charged problems in the U.S. healthcare system is end-of-life care. Unlike other third rail issues it only took two words—death panels—to put a screeching halt to the much needed public conversation about how we address medical care during the last six to twelve months of life. While she  managed to remove the payment provisions for end-of-life consultation from Obamacare, Sarah… [See Full Post]