MITX - Massachusetts Innovation & Technology Exchange


Past Event Detail

MITX Disruptive Innovator Series: Making Sense of IoT, Drones, VR, AR & Other Emerging Technologies 10/06/2016
Event Type: MITX Event
Dates: 10/06/2016
Times: 06:00pm - 08:00pm




101 Seaport Boulevard
Boston, MA 02210


Sixty-one percent of CEOs interviewed in PwC’s annual Global CEO Survey said they were concerned about the speed of technological change in their industries. Given the sheer pace and acceleration of technological advances in recent years, business leaders can be forgiven for feeling dazed and perhaps a little frustrated. While more and more executives are getting tech-savvy and know that digital disruption can be friend as well as enemy, it’s fair to say that most struggle to find the time and energy necessary to keep up with the technologies driving transformation across every industry and in every part of the world.

This is where we come in. In this debate-style session, experts have chosen the emerging technologies that they believe matter the most. They will explain why their selection is the hottest trend for 2017, and then sit down for a discussion on the implications for businesses. 

  • Which emerging technologies should we invest in based on business relevance and technical viability?
  • Where do I start and how do I stay current? 
  • How can I turn emerging technologies into disruptive innovations? 
  • How do I reduce my risk of failure or costly mistakes? 

This discussion is not just about making big bets – this type of investment can be shortsighted, because transformative technologies are rarely a magic bullet. Almost every game-changer requires enablers or building blocks, i.e. machine learning, depends upon data analytics, predictive modeling, and integration architecture. Therefore, we will discuss identifying building blocks that can be configured in new ways to support future business strategies. Moving from a big-bet mindset to a building-block one enables companies to take a more practical, less risky approach to investing in emerging technologies. 

Join us for this practical discussion!

John Sviokla, Principal & Business Leader: Strategy & Innovation, PwC Advisory
What kind of impact has technology had on business—and what impact will it have over the next twenty years? How do you know when your industry is about to be disrupted? Can businesses reinvent themselves?

These are examples of questions John Sviokla thinks are worth asking to understand how leaders can create long-term value. After writing many cases, articles and books, Sviokla most recently coauthored the book The Self-Made Billionaire Effect: How Extreme Producers Create Massive Value. The first systematic study of self-made billionaires done to date, the book asks “What kind of leadership creates massive value?” It identifies the key traits top entrepreneurs share and explains what companies should do to attract and retain people with these traits

Sviokla has been interested in “big ideas” ever since he was an undergraduate at Harvard College. As a visual arts major, he spent a lot of time focusing on design. He then went on to earn an MBA and a doctorate in applied artificial intelligence at the Harvard Business School, followed by a 12-year stint teaching at the university. It is then he began developing big ideas on the impending digital revolution—years before others.

Sviokla is a principal and US Advisory Innovation Leader with PwC. He serves on PwC’s Advisory Leadership Group, the Global Thought Leadership Council, and leads The Exchange — an ongoing think tank for PwC clients and world class business leaders. Previously, he served as Vice Chairman of the Board and Chief Innovation Officer at Diamond Management Consultants.

His work appears in many leading business publications, including Harvard Business Review, strategy + business, The Financial Times, and The Wall Street Journal.


John Werner, VP, Strategic Partnerships, Meta Co.

John Werner is Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at Meta where he strives to exceed expectations of what Augmented Reality​ can be – and do – in the future.  Werner is helping Meta design a future where augmented reality becomes a healthy, vital extension of who we are and creates deeper understanding, freer expression, and optimal productivity. Werner brings his experience pioneering innovative technology and  network of relationships, to help Meta in the fast-growing field of augmented reality (AR). Werner is very excited about Meta's technology, the DNA of which is neuroscience - science of the brain. Werner plans to merge the best and brightest thinkers of the East Coast with Silicon Valley and the world (he has been to Asia 12 times in the last four years working on tech efforts) to help create an entirely new computing paradigm, a vector of real change for a new society.  

Prior to Meta, Werner was Head of Innovation and New Ventures at the Camera Culture Group were he supported developments on new imaging platforms, including hardware and software technologies (co-taught the first Google Glass Application course), and was the Founding Managing Director of Emerging Worlds SIG at the MIT Media Lab. 

Werner is one of the leaders behind REDX (Rethinking Engineering Design eXecution) an MIT inspired platform of bottom-up innovation designed for addressing big challenges worldwide - that was recently recognize by the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize for Invention. For four years Werner implemented REDX efforts in cities, states, and regions. This effort convened people with diverse interests, skills and backgrounds — young engineers, business people and designers — to collaborate openly with government officials, business leaders and academics, as well as with researchers who together they looked for creative solutions to pressing local challenges that can be solved with new technology.  REDX addressed themes across many sectors, including food and agriculture, financial inclusion, energy and water, health and wellness, housing and transportation. Using digital technologies such as machine learning, Internet of Things, and mobile devices, the platform created digital solutions to leapfrog current technology with potential to impact billions of lives. 

He is the founder and head of Ideas in Action which produces TEDxBeaconStreet, an accomplished photographer and triathlete who has qualified for and competed in the Ironman World Championship four times.

Miriam McNabb, CEO, JobsForDrones & Columnist, DroneLife (The “TechCrunch” of the Drone Ecosystem) 
As the CEO of JobForDrones and a frequent writer on drone technology at DRONELIFE, Miriam has a unique grounds-eye view of the growth of the drone industry.  At JobForDrones, Miriam works with hundreds of industrial customers across a variety of verticals to match them with drone operators.  As an editor at DRONELIFE, she follows the development of Federal commercial drone regulations and drone technology.  She is a passionate advocate for the drone industry and the benefits that drone technology has to offer.

Prior to taking the CEO position at JobForDrones, Miriam worked as a consultant in technology sales and marketing, where she contributed to companies in a broad range of industries including big data; financial software; cloud computing; media; and consumer products.   

Brent Turner, SVP, Solutions, Cramer
Brent Turner leads the strategy and technology teams for Cramer, a global brand experience agency. Prior to joining Cramer, Brent was the chief digital officer inside MIT, held executive leadership positions at Ogilvy and Boathouse, and successfully survived two startups-to-IPO adventures. Connect and see what’s coming together next at


Howard Heppelmann, Divisional Vice President and General Manager, Manufacturing Segment, PTC
Howard Heppelmann is Divisional Vice President and General Manager at PTC.   In this role he is responsible for the business strategy and P&L of PTC's Manufacturing Solutions Segment.   PTC’s Manufacturing Solutions Segment is focused on bringing technology solutions to market that help manufacturing companies convert digital information flows into real-time actionable intelligence. 


Mr. Heppelmann’s previous roles include General Manager of PTC’s Connected Product Management Segment, General Manager of PTC’s Service Lifecycle Management Segment and General Manager of PTC’s Supply Chain Management Segment.  He has worked in the manufacturing industry since 1990 and has extensive experience leveraging digital information and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to transform product development, manufacturing, supply chain and service related business processes.  

Mr. Heppelmann is a regular participant at industry seminars where he has presented on important topics such as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Service Lifecycle Management, Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), product regulatory compliance, supply chain management, and product development best practices in both discrete manufacturing and retail.  He has been published and quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes and numerous other business and trade publications.




MITX Member - $15.00
Non-Member - $30.00

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