National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Glenn Research Center

Jeff Hoffman

August 1, 2013

Art of Science & Innovation

Jeff Hoffman is an entrepreneur and innovator who has founded numerous companies, including Priceline, UBid, and ColorJar. He writes regularly for Inc. Magazine and has consulted for Google, Microsoft, Aetna, and Chevrolet. Jeff received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Collegiate Entrepreneurship Organization and was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the National CEO Council.

Jeff presented a compelling and motivating lecture on innovation. He challenged the existing framework for ideating; the hope of sustaining a company or organization’s growth through waiting for inspiration to strike is not realistic and does not yield the best results, as evidenced by many seemingly strong companies’ eventual failures. Rather, innovation requires the generation and execution of ideas. Simply put by Jeff, innovation is a process and not an accident. He encouraged people to wonder about the people and the world around them; an intersection between broad thinking, including taking ideas and knowledge from unrelated industries and fields, and realizing a problem that needs to be solved will allow for an innovative solution to appear.

Additionally, Jeff stressed the importance of sharing knowledge within a company because great ideas can truly come from anyone. A common practice of Jeff is to hold Blue Sky Sessions with his employees. These are inclusive, interdisciplinary, respectful, document, vetted, and no-gravity idea generating sessions full of out of the box ideas that lead to exponential thinking rather than incremental thinking. Incremental thinking is thinking that tries to build upon the current method of doing something whereas exponential thinking turns that idea over and creates a brand new method, using current technologies and the current market that works much better. In summary, Jeff inspired the audience to embrace change, engage with the world around them and cultivate new ideas that will grow into impactful and effective innovation.