‘Gangnam Style,’ Glenn Beck Win Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards

Wildly disparate Tribeca Film Festival awards honor scientists, city planners, writers, designers, choreographers, filmmakers and silly Korean pop stars

he Tribeca Film Festival has announced that the most disruptive innovations of the past year include the innovative city planning of Manchester, England, the book “I F*cking Love Science,” Glenn Beck‘s The Blaze and South Korean singer Psy’s “Gangnam Style” video.

Those disparate achievements will all be honored at the fourth annual Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards, a yearly show that takes place during the film festival in downtown New York and is a joint venture of TFF, the Disruptor Foundation and Harvard Business School professor Clay Cristensen, author of the book “The Innovators Dilemma.”

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And if a Korean pop video that became a cultural sensation seems out of place on the awards show, it’s characteristic of these awards’ wide reach: Last year, Justin Bieber received a Disruptive Innovation Award for his use of social media.

At the awards ceremony, which will take place on April 26 at the NYU Stern School of Business, choreographer Twyla Tharp will be presented with a lifetime achievement award.

“In our fourth installment we are exploring the ever-increasing gap between the rate of technological change and the bumpier, slower-moving cultural adoption and diffusion,”  Craig Hatkoff, the chief curator of the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards, said in a statement. ” … We continue to push ourselves further out of our comfort zones which is necessary for serious societal change by highlighting exciting new applications and thinking.”

Also read: Emma Roberts, Julianne Moore, Paul Rudd, Neil LaBute Films Join Tribeca's 2013 Lineup

Other achievements that will be honored at the awards ceremony include Jack Andraka’s new test for pancreatic cancer; the internet discovery engine StumbleUpon; the GE Focus Forward program developed by GE and filmmaker Morgan Spurlock; Forbes magazine’s online reinvention; and the designs and community work of fashion designer Norma Kamali.

The awards ceremony will be followed by lunch and then by breakout sessions highlighting the award-winning innovations. A limited number of tickets will be available on April 9, with information available at the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation website.

The full list of winners, with descriptions from the festival:

Lifetime Achievement Award – Twyla Tharp, Choreographer, Author and Founder of Twyla Tharp Dance - Since graduating from Barnard College in 1963, Ms. Tharp has choreographed more than one hundred sixty works: one hundred twenty-nine dances, twelve television specials, five Hollywood movies, four full-length ballets, four Broadway shows and two figure skating routines.  She has also written three books.  She received one Tony Award, two Emmy Awards, nineteen honorary doctorates, the Vietnam Veterans of America President's Award, the 2004 National Medal of the Arts, the 2008 Jerome Robbins Prize, and a 2008 Kennedy Center Honor.  Her many grants include the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship.  She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and an Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.  In addition to choreographing for her own company Twyla Tharp Dance, she has created dances for companies worldwide, where her works continue to be performed.  Today, Ms. Tharp continues to create. 

Manchester Prize for Urban Innovation- City of Manchester, Sir Howard Bernstein, Chief Executive – The City of Manchester, once known as Cottonopolis, has always been in the forefront of movements and revolutions. What sets it apart from other historically significant cities is how it has continually reinvented itself to remain on the cutting edge.  From the Industrial Revolution to today’s 21st Century City of Innovation, it is a metropolis with a disruptive legacy.  Manchester served as the locus for Karl Marx and Frederich Engels as they researched and wrote their seminal work.  It serves as the home of the most famous intra-city rivalry between Manchester United and Manchester City football teams, one of the most viewed broadcasts on the planet with over 500  million viewers.  Manchester’s DNA of revolution is carefully watched across the globe as it innovates its way into the future.

THINX: An unusual collaboration between Rhada and Miki Agrawal of Slice and Super Sprowtz and Kym and Alexis McClay of Naven - These two sets of identical twins/serial entrepreneurs tried to solve a very personal local problem and stumbled into what might become a global solution for millions of women who miss school or work during their “week of shame” because they don’t have access to sanitary napkins.  THINX is a new type of women’s underwear that addresses this critical need. Their buy one, fund seven model is making it possible for women in the developing world to make and distribute reusable pads.

Jack Andraka – The death of a beloved uncle led Jack Andraka, who was 13 at the time, to develop a new and more accurate test for detecting pancreatic cancer, as portrayed in the GE FOCUS FORWARD film You Don’t Know Jack.  Jack’s method is 26,000 times cheaper, 168 times faster and over 400 times more sensitive than previous methods, making it a truly disruptive innovation.  Jack was a speaker at TED in 2013.

I F*cking Love Science/Science is Awesome Creator, Elise Andrew – Henry IV Prize, presented by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center – Elise Andrew is being honored for pushing social boundaries to reach a wider audience.  Her wildly successful yet slightly irreverent title, I F*cking Love Science has attracted a new audience of over 5 million young science lovers; her less irreverent mirror Facebook page, entitled Science is Awesome has attracted 200,000 users.  The use of culturally irreverent memes is attracting global attention to how to best  reach younger audiences.

Glenn Beck, Founder and Owner, The BlazeCharles Darwin Prize, presented by The Economist –  Radio and television impresario Glenn Beck has led a fascinating yet controversial career.  What is not controversial is the highly disruptive innovation he has launched with The Blaze, a new and all-encompassing media source focusing on the internet and television, that may disrupt the traditional media business model.  With majority ownership and accountable to his viewers and himself The Blaze is being closely watched by the media industry for its groundbreaking innovation.

Nicolas Berggruen, Think Long Committee for California, The Berggruen Institute on Governance and Author: Intelligent Governance for the 21st Century: A Middle Way Between West and East – Nicolas Berggruen is the Chairman of Berggruen Holdings, a private company, which is the direct investment vehicle of The Nicolas Berggruen Charitable Foundation. He is also the Chairman of the Berggruen Institute on Governance, which encourages the study and design of systems of good governance. Mr. Berggruen is a founder of NBI’s 21st Century Council and a member of the Think Long Committee for California. Berggruen’s “values” (as opposed to “value”) investing strategy includes rice farms in Cambodia, windmill farms in Turkey, and ethanol plant in Oregon and the redevelopment of poor inner cities.

Garrett Camp, Founding CEO, StumbleUpon & Co-Founder, Uber – Garrett Camp has unlocked the discovery potential of the web with his innovative discovery engine StumbleUpon. Delivering over 1 billion personalized recommendations per month, StumbleUpon is the largest web application of its kind. Garrett also co-founded Uber in 2009 to improve the efficiency of on-demand car service.  Travelers can now access Uber’s user-friendly interface in 16 cities across North America and Europe.

GE FOCUS FORWARD, Beth Comstock, Chief Marketing Officer and Senior Vice President of GE and Morgan Spurlock, Co-Founder of cinelan – GE and cinelan have collaborated to create short films by renowned documentary filmmakers that highlight innovative people who are reshaping the world through act or invention. Focus Forward’s “little stories with big ideas,” have established a new platform for storytelling with a global reach.

Forbes Magazine – Schumpeter Prize, presented by The Economist – Forbes Magazine has reinvented themselves and disrupted the traditional journalistic business model, embracing all digital publishing platforms, demonstrating the potential fro print in a mobile world.  Utilizing freelance journalists and compensating them according to traffic, they have enriched the quality and scope of their content, increasing site traffic and significantly reducing overhead costs.  Since Feb 2011, traffic has increased from 15 million unique visitors to 45 million in January 2013.

Ken Goldberg and Ayorkor Korsah, Co-Founders, The African Robotics Network (AFRON) $10 Robot Challenge – By inviting innovators from all over the world to participate in their $10 Robot Challenge, AFRON has promoted robotics-related education, research and industry in Africa.  Since it launched May 2012, AFRON has 300 members from 25 countries including Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Algeria, South Africa, Egypt, Tanzania, Cameroon, and Ethiopia, as well as affiliated members from the US, Switzerland, UK, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, and Argentina. 

Henry Jackson Initiative – The Henry Jackson Initiative (HJI) is a bi-partisan, transatlantic movement of business leaders, senior policy makers and academics focused on promoting a more Inclusive Capitalism.  The HJI calls for international collaboration from businesses and other organizations to encourage the widest possible adoption of programs that improve capitalism as a driver of wellbeing for society.

Norma Kamali, Designer and Wellness Advocate – Norma Kamali is known for her innovative style and inventive approach to fashion.  Her directional, timeless concepts such as the sleeping bag coat, the high-heeled sneaker, clothing made from actual parachutes, influential swimwear, sweatshirt clothing as the forerunner of casual clothing and a collection of packable, wearable and multi-style clothing have made her a pioneer in the fashion industry.  She has designed many iconic pieces including Farah Fawcett’s red bathing suit, which was recently inducted into the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.  Her interest in public schools has been a key part of her community activities for the last 18 years.  KamaliKulture is a platform for her empowerment initiative for women, and an important part of her long term goals as a fashion designer.

Kenzo Digital, Director/Artist – Kenzo’s interactive approach to film making, showcased in his 2012 World Humanitarian Day video: I Was Here, featuring Beyonce, has redefined the film experience. It is at once disruptive and inclusive, bringing the audience into the UN General assembly and making international humanitarian issues local to a single global humanity.  His remarkable project “City of God’s Son,” is an audio driven cinematic experience made with a microphone instead of a camera featuring the voices of Jay-Z, Nas, Notorious B.I.G. and Samuel L. Jackson.  It is an epic, a musical, a soundscape, a movie for the blind, an art installation, and a coming of age story.

Deborah Kenny, Chief Executive Officer, Harlem Village Academies - Deborah Kenny is an educator that believes all the talk about testing, longer days, teacher unions, etc. is polarizing and misses the true key to education reform, which is changing the culture of schools. Her philosophy has been proven with stunning results. The charter schools in her Harlem Village Academies have outperformed schools in some of the richest neighborhoods in New York.

Beau Lotto, Founder, Lottolab Studio – Beau Lotto is being honored for his work combining art, science and education in promoting the awareness of the roles of context and perception. Beau’s approach has the potential to create uncertainty and humility in a world of perceived absolutes, leading to opportunities for more open dialogues.

STEM to STEAM, John Maeda, President, Rhode Island School of Design – RISD’s initiative, a movement to add art and design to the national education and research agenda, fosters the true innovation that comes with combining the mind of a scientist or technologist with that of an artist or designer. RISD offers endless examples of how art and design education teaches the flexible thinking, risk-taking and creative problem solving needed to solve today’s most complex and pressing challenges.

Urban Dictionary, Creator, Aaron Peckham – Aaron Peckham developed a web-based dictionary of slang words and phrases that has democratized the evolution of language. By legitimizing and archiving ‘street’ language with his collaborative forum, Peckham has challenged the authority of traditional dictionaries as the gate-keepers of authentic language.

Psy, South Korean Artist/Global Phenomenon – With the first YouTube video to reach 1 billion views, South Korean pop artist Psy has become an ambassador for his country and a leading crossover artist, launching K-pop onto the international stage. His hit song ‘Gangnam Style’ is more than a catchy tune and dance sequence, it is a cultural phenomenon.  It was ranked in the Yale Book of Quotations Top 10 Quotes of the Year

Jose Vargas, Pulitzer Prize-winning Journalist and Founder, Define American – Jose was catapulted into the center of the national immigration discussion after revealing his undocumented status in a widely-shared 4,000 word personal essay in the New York Times Magazine in June 2011. Jose has since founded Define American, a nonprofit, nonpartisan campaign dedicated to elevating the conversation around immigration, and has traveled around the United States engaging both documented and undocumented Americans in an honest dialogue on the issue. In June 2012, he wrote a follow-up story and appeared on the cover of TIME Magazine, along with 36 other undocumented young people. Through “coming out” so publicly and inspiring and facilitating others to do so as well through the use of digital and social media platforms, Jose has spearheaded the disruption of the narrative around immigration and who is telling whose story.