Michael S. Tomczyk 
Technology - Innovation - Education
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Innovation is the lifeblood of global progress...


 
     
 
 
Turning Science Fiction Into Science Reality
You are welcome to view my introductory slides from the 2011 Emerging Technologies Update Day.  (click on image or title to view/download)
This year I'm entering an exciting new phase in my career, writing a series of books documenting what's "really happening" in radical innovation - starting with Nanoinnovation.  My new book will be published in early 2014 by Wiley and is entitled: NanoInnovation: What Every Manager Needs to Know.  My new book covers innovations that are looming on the near horizon that are flashing early signals that they could transform industries and markets.  These are innovations that every manager in every industry needs to know about.  My first book involves nanotechnology and my second book will focus on global climate change but with an interesting twist.
 
I am continuing to help develop emerging technologies, disruptive innovations and guide industry transformation - as an author/speaker, consultant and innovation champion.  I've been a technology pioneer myself - best known for my role in the development of the first home computer.  My interests range from nanotechnology and biosciences to aerospace and homeland security solutions, to developing energy alternatives.  In 2010 I earned a master's degree in environmental studies to round out my understanding of "green" technologies and solutions.  I'm constantly researching radical innovations as they appear on the horizon  (click here to see a few examples of Radical Innovations) and click here to see some of my current thinking on various topics.  You can also see some candid photos on my international Facebook Page.
 
Coming EARLY 2014 - Nanoinnovation: What Every Manager Needs to Know - Wiley-VCH - I'm racing to complete my new book which is available now for pre-order.  This book provides an entertaining, informative guide for managers across industries who want to know "what's really happening" in nanotechnology that could impact their industries and markets.  I interviewed more than 150 nano-insiders as part of my research and I believe this will be the most authoritative book available on nanotechnology innovations.  
 
Consulting and Venture Development - IdentifIED Ltd.   You may have seen the YouTube video of the flying quadrotors developed at the University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering.  I'm currently a formal advisor to IdentifIED Ltd., a venture launched recently by the winners of UPENN's Y-Prize student competition based on this technology.  The IED team has developed an airborne quadrotor "swarm" technology with ground-penetrating radar that can identify and pinpoint improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and can also detect unexploded mines (which is a major international problem).  Our team is currently setting up two laboratories (in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia) to develop a prototype to commercialize this technology.  We are also in discussion with potential corporate partners in Defense/Aerospace.  If you're interested in learning more you're welcome to contact me.
 
For the past 18 years I've had a unique vantage point at the Wharton School, as Managing Director of the world's leading academic center studying best practices and strategies for managing innovation.  I joined the Wharton School in 1995 as managing director to launch and guide the Emerging Technologies Management Research Program, which in 2001 became the Mack Center for Technological Innovation and in 2003 the Mack Institute for Innovation Management.  As Managing Director, I provided managerial leadership, recruited most of our industry partners and served as a bridge between our faculty and partners.  I also established our website, designed and edited our conference reports, edited our newsletter, did blogs, etc.  From 1998 to 2013 I hosted the annual Emerging Technologies Update Day, a technology showcase I designed that became our most popular event.  I left the Mack Institute in September 2013 and officially retire from the University of Pennsylvania in 2014.  I will consider re-engaging with an academic institution after June 2014.
 
I am currently working on a few interesting speaking engagements; corporate consulting projects (working with friends/colleagues to help create value in technology-driven industries); and venture development.
  

What I've Been Doing to 
Champion INNOVATION...

We all have an opportunity to champion innovation. Here are a few of the activities I've been involved in during the past year or so, to promote innovations, globally:

Feb. 21, 2014  - I won't be hosting the ET Update Day this year  - sorry, but that wasn't my decision.      

October, 2013  - I have been invited to be a "surprise speaker" at a digital technology conference in October.  This is a fun project and I'm sorry I can't divulge the event but that would spoil the "surprise." 

May 30, 2013 - How Mobile and Social are Transforming Innovation Models: Flipping the Paradigm This was our first Mack Center conference on the West Coast.  In addition to supporting the conference, I met with innovation managers from Intel and our new partner firm, Nissan Motor.  Attendees included colleagues from Google, PayPal and many other innovative firms.  Scott Snyder & Harbir Singh were the conference organizers.

Feb. 22, 2013 - The Future of Medical Miracles (15th Annual Emerging Technologies Update Day)
 It's hard to believe this was my 15th year hosting the ET Update Day.  This year I was fortunate to  get all of my first choices for speakers, including several nanomedicine pioneers who are featured in my new book (NanoInnovation: What Every Manager Needs to Know).  Presentations included updates on gene therapy, broad spectrum antivirals, space medicine, organ regeneration, mobile patient monitoring...to name a few.  John Wingfield from the National Science Foundation gave the keynote presentation.

December 13, 2012 - Leveraging Big Data for Innovation, Discovery and Decision Making-  It was a pleasure to organize this Mack Center/Wharton workshop - the team of panelists/discussion leaders and attendees were superb and made this a great event.  The workshop format included knowledge building in the morning (expert panel presentations) and an afternoon of knowledge-sharing (small group discussions led by academic/industry experts).  This was our second "focused theme" workshop, and was proposed by Mary Gros at the Mack Center's industry partner Teradata.  The plan is to host one of these workshops each year based on topics proposed by our industry partners.

 
December 3-5, 2012 - 2nd International Conference on Nanotek and Expo (Philadelphia) -  I was delighted to co-chair the Nanomedicine session(Dec. 4) - my presentation focused on nanomedicine, bio-imaging and examples of nanoinnovations.
 
November 16 - Rome, Italy - A.R.T.O.I. - IV Conference of Integrated Oncology Specialists - I keynoted this event which included some of Europe's most distinguished cancer specialists.  More than 200 people attended plus webcast viewers.  I also had a chance to visit the Coliseum and other Roman sites.  The photo (below) shows my great friend Dr. Carlo Pastore (left, who hosted my visit), other conference speakers and Dr. Max Bonucci (next to me on the right), president of A.R.T.O.I.

Video Game/Computing Museum - Rome, Italy - 18 Nov. 2012 - You can see photos from my VIGAMUS presentation in Rome on my Facebook page.  I gave a presentation on the Birth of the Home Computer: 30 Years Later. Marco Accordi Rickards, the museum director, translated while I spoke.  I posed for about 50 photos, autographed VIC20s and t-shirts, and had an absolutely fabulous time!  Most of the Commodore collectors are in their 20s and 30s which was surprising.  The photo below shows my friend Dr. Carlo Pastore, Italy's foremost Commodore collector (left), Marco Accordi Rickards, and me.  During my visit, I gave an interview to a grad. student doing her master's thesis on the VIC20, and an interview for a video game magazine.  I also autographed VIC20s and t-shirts and had so much fun, Nancy and I are hoping to get back on vacation next spring or summer.  
 
 
November 9 - "Organizing for Innovation in the 'New Normal': Profiting from Uncertainty."  Our Fall Mack Center conference featured presentations by Wharton faculty and industry best practice firms including Inder Sidhu at Cisco and Intuit co-founder Roy Rosin.  Prof. Saikat Chaudhuri who organized and hosted the conference, invited me to co-chair the small group breakout session.  More than 100 people attended.  Prof. Chaudhuri did a great job designing a superb event!
 
November 8 - Annual Industry Partner Dinner - I was pleased to co-host, with our faculty directors, the first annual dinner for our industry partner representatives.  We included exclusive faculty presentations providing extra insights into cutting-edge issues involving technological innovation.
 
October 10, 2012 - Governance & Mgmt of Chinese Firms - I was invited to co-teach a Wharton class on China's Solar Industry: Struggling for Survival.  It was an enormous pleasure collaborating with Prof. Marshall Meyer, one of my favorite Wharton faculty.  Marshall is an authority on Chinese business.  I provided an update on the global solar industry in the context of the China-US-Europe trade dispute.
 
September 6, 2012 - Presentation: "Game Changing Innovations: What's Needed & What's Possible" -  Panelist at a meeting of economic analysts for a government agency/sector in Washington.  My presentation focused on radical innovations with economic impact - focus points included the need to replace rare earth materials with "earth abundant" materials, and the need for environmental innovations to offset the impending impact of global climate change.
The IEEE-1784 initiative to develop standards for the use of nanomaterials in electronics is now the Joint Project Team for IEC 62659 (IEEE1784) - I've been serving on the senior leadership of the IEEE committee and now serve on the joint committee. We are making final changes to the standard, based on input from engineers in the global community.
 
Last Year
 
July 2012 - National Academies of Science -  It was a privilege to be invited to share some of my ideas with a committee of the National Academies, where I offered a few ideas for goals for the National Nanotechnology Initiative - my ideas included a strong focus on convergence innovation, the next generation of nanoscale imaging (vital to medicine), translational research/commercialization, desktop nano microscopes for high schools and colleges, and a concept for a student nanotech competition.  I gave my presentation remotely from a cabin near the Canadian border, where we were vacationing.
 
June 19-21, 2012 - Nanotech2012 - Santa Clara, CA: Served on a panel hosted by Zyvex Technologies.  Santa Clara is where I worked when I was with Commodore pioneering the first home computers in the 1980s.  Zyvex is a terrific nanotech pioneer - they designed the first boat made with carbon nanotubes.
 
June 6- Quoted on "Privatization of Space": Quoted in a article:  (http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article.cfm?articleid=3018) article commenting on privatization of space travel. I noted that we have to promote space travel, not just to colonize space but also because learning to live in space teaches us to live on Earth if the environment turns hostile.
 
June 9, 2012 - Mack Center Spring Conference at Wharton - "Learning from Failure in Innovation"
Our annual spring conference was hosted by Paul Schoemaker, who expanded on concepts in his terrific new book "Brilliant Mistakes." 
 
May 22, 2012 - Innovation Panel
Participated on a panel at a Philadelphia conference for medical device software developers. One of my main insights involved the use of smartphones for portable medical apps.
 
I've been flattered and humbled by several requests this year to do interviews on my involvement in the development of the first home computers, and on innovation and where we are heading today.  Most of these requests are coming European websites.  In the past few months I've done interviews for websites in Austria, Italy, Germany and most recently, Poland - a photo of me from 1981 graces the cover of the Feb. 2012 issue of this Polish magazine (see photo).  My bio was recently translated into Romanian which was really cool.   In early April, my mentor Jack Tramiel, the founder of Commodore, died and I was privileged to know Steve Jobs.  With the passing of these home computing pioneers, there is renewed interest in the home computer revolution, where I was privileged to play a role.  In March I did a video interview for Joerg Droege at Scene World reminiscing about my experiences at Commodore in the 1980s.  In April my comments were included in an article in Gamasutra.
 
 
Feb. 2012 - I hosted the 14th Annual Emerging Technologies Update Day at Wharton which was entitled "The Future of Nanoinnovation."  Mike Roco, the "godfather" of nanotechnology in the U.S., keynoted the event.  Presentations included DNA analysis, using nanotech to extend biopharma patents, commercialization of graphene, the first carbon nanotube boat...and much more.  In my opening remarks, I shared some insights from my book-in-progress (NanoInnovation: What Every Manager Needs to Know).  This is an annual event I originated in 1998 to provide an "intraveneous injection" of innovation to our partner network and faculty/students at Wharton.
 
October 2011 - Turning Inventions Into Ideas and Innovations was the title of my presentation to in-house inventors, lawyers and innovation managers at a large media company.   It was an enormous pleasure to be invited to be the first speaker as part of their inventor development initiative. The world is changing and media giants will either be at risk or at the cutting edge, depending on their innovation strategy and ability to adapt. In my presentation, I discussed Steve Jobs' contributions in the context of the "The Innovator's DNA" which is a great new book by Jeff Dyer, Hal Gregersen and Clay Christensen. Jeff Dyer was nice enough to send me an advance copy to read. Great book - I highly recommend it! The key point is that innovators can be trained and groomed - they are not necessarily "born" - the DNA they're talking about is a zest for discovery and an insatiable curiosity that is essential to drive the future.
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October 2011 - I taught the first session in a new Leadership Certificate program at the Univ. of Pennsylvania Engineering School - my presentation focused on how to become a world class innovator.
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Sept. 2011 - Presented a Wharton Exec. Ed. session to a group of 50 IDC business school students, on Opportunities in Emerging Technologies. 
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June 2011- My week at the University of Leeds in the UK was intellectually stimulating and culturally refreshing.  See more photos and insights HERE.
 
June 2011 -Internal Venturing: Issues, Opportunities & Challenges - Mack Center at Wharton.  I helped organize this interactive "focused theme" workshop (led by Paul Schoemaker), and facilitated one of the 3 breakout sessions (see photo), designed to capture insights/best practices for corporate venturing.  This workshop is a pilot for future events, where our industry partners will be invited to propose topics. 
 
May 2011- Webcast to Intel's Innovation Advocates Network - My topic was "The Ambidextrous Challenge."
 
May 2011 - Olympus Corp. Annual Management Meeting - "Sustainability and Enterprise Innovation."  A poignant occasion, the last company appearance by retiring CEO Mark Gumz.
 
 
 

Fred Kavli and Michael Tomczyk_28Apr2011

 
 
April 2011 - Scientist-philanthropist Fred Kavli gave me some great comments for my "Nano" book – Mr. Kavli was at Wharton to receive the Bower Award from the Ben Franklin Institute.
 
March 2011 - Attended the annual conference of the Wharton School's Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership (IGEL) - a few reflections are included on the Insights Page.
 
 
Feb 2011 - Emerging Technologies Update Day, at Wharton - "Turning Science Fiction Into Science Reality."Hard to believe 2011 was the 13th year I hosted this event! I initiated this conference to give industry partners, faculty and students an "intraveneous injection" of radical innovations that can really change our industries and markets if they achieve commercial success. Speakers included Bobby Braun, NASA's chief technology officer, Michal Lipson, one of the world's top researchers on nano-optics including "invisibility cloaks" and Bill Christensen, from technovelgy.com.
Feb 2011 - Wharton Aerospace Conference
I led the innovation panel at the annual communities of practice event at Wharton - a few personal insights and takeaways are summarized on the INSIGHTS page.
 
 
 
 

Consulting                          

I've been a consultant for more than half of my career.  I once calculated that I've been a consultant to companies and government agencies in more than 100 industries!

 
My projects dating back to the late 1970s have included helping Century 21 (the realtor) expand nationally, the launch of EMI's CT Scanning technology, and the design and launch of several new banks.  I did my MBA thesis at UCLA on Automatic Teller Machines which were a radical new technology in 1978.  For six years I was an investor relations consultant, advising the CEOs of publicy owned corporations in the Midwest and Southern California.

During 1980-85, I was a Silicon Valley technology pioneer, in charge of guiding the development and launch of the first home computers (at Commodore) - which is what I'm best known for.  I wrote a how-to programming column for computer magazines. Today I'm considered one of the world's foremost authorities on the history of the home computer.

In the late 1980s and 90s, I was a contributing editor for Export Today Magazine and had my own import-export firm.  As a consultant, I helped launch a for-profit hospital in Europe, was a broker for import-export deals, and helped U.S. investors design creative business approaches for some of the first private ventures in Eastern Europe...and much more.

In the 1990s I was one of the leading Internet consultants on the East Coast (as a board member/consultant, I helped launch the Delaware Valley's largest Internet/ecommerce firm).

During the 2000s, I helped launch several high tech startup ventures.  

In 2010-2012, I advised the CEO of the U.S. division of a billion dollar chemicals company based in Asia.

I've written more than 150 articles, magazine and newspaper columns - mostly how-to articles on management and marketing.

Today I consult mostly for "friends and family" - colleagues at corporations and government agencies that are involved in technology-driven industries.

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If you'd like a sample of how I think about things, you can read my book chapter entitled:  "Applying the Marketing Mix (5 P's) to Bionanotechnology" in "Biomedical Nanotechnology" (2011, Springer). Sarah Hurst did a great job editing.
This book includes some original thinking and ideas about marketing bionanotechnology.  You can also read about this topic in my new book (NanoInnovation, 2013).  
 
My chapter includes an assessment of the marketing challenges facing bionanotechnology, using a framework called "SIVA(C)" that proposes a contemporary update to the traditional 5 P's of marketing known as the "marketing matrix."  It was very gratifying to note that this year (2012) the article (which is also available separately online) was listed as the number 1 article published in its domain since its publication.


MY PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY

Here are a few of the principles I live by:

1.  Don't hurt anyone on purpose.
2.  Don't violate your conscience.
3.  Fight for what you believe in.
4.  Make progress every day.
5.  No one can do anything of substance alone.
6.  Try to make the world a better place.
7.  Live in the Future.
 
 
 
 

About Me and My Family

My wife Nancy and I
enjoy scuba diving, fishing, adventure travel and fossil hunting. This is me with our dog Mudget, a white Pomeranian.  When we were looking for a pet, Nan wanted a dog and I've always had cats so when she asked, "Can we have a dog?" I said, "As long as it looks like a cat."  As you can see, we compromised on a "catdog".  Mudget looks like a fox.  She is affectionate, quirky and just as smart as she looks.
What do innovators do for fun?
Nan and I try to squeeze in at least one scuba diving trip each year, usually in the Yucatan.  (Mentioning this gives me an excuse to show off one of my "shark hugging" photos). I also have photos "hugging" a moray eel and stingray.  I've been diving since I was a grad student at UCLA, many eons ago.   By the way, this is a nurse shark, pretty docile if you don't annoy them - this was the third shark I "hugged" that day but the photographer was never around when I had a shark, so I swam this one about 30 yards to get the picture.  Also - yes, I know I'm not supposed to remove my regulator but it makes a better photo. Nancy earned her dive certification in Mexico a few years ago.
 
 
We enjoy poking around the jungle, exploring exotic locations, ziplining, caving and taking wildlife photos.
 
 
This is us on top of Coba, the tallest pyramid in the Yucatan (above).  We both speak conversational Spanish which helps us in our travels.  
 
This is a photo from our Aug 2011 Yucatan trip - you can see more photos in the gallery here.  I think this picture more than any other captures our quirky, curious, fun-loving personalities.
This is a photo of Nan and me driving a jungle trail in the Mayan Riviera - at a theme park called "XPLOR" - we drove through caves, over bridges (shown here) and on steep and winding trails (May 2012).  In addition to climbing pyramids we spend a lot of time trekking and swimming/snorkeling in underground CAVES and do a lot of snorkeling and SCUBA diving.


Fossil Hunting: In Spring, 2012, Nan and I spent a weekend on our very first Fossil hunting expedition - to four sites in central Pennsylvania, including a 361 million year old site (Red Hill) where the first North American tetrapods were discovered, including the first lobe finned lungfish that crawled out onto land.  We found fossilized teeth from an ancient fish called Hyneria, and I found what I'm told may be the first reported cephalopod (michelinoceras) at an Ordovician site near Lycoming, PA.  Today we consider ourselves to be advanced amateur paoleontologists.  In the past year, we found an entirely new site for the world's oldest known tree (Wattieza - 385 million years old), and rare fossils such as Carboniferous fern seeds, and a Devonian ammonoid called Agoniatites.  By the way, fossil hunters are not sedentary - we spend a lot of time climbing like goats on rocky ledges, often perched precariously on vertical cliffs to reach ancient geological strata.
We are members of the Delaware Valley Paleontological Society and in April 2013 we hosted a display of Carboniferous fossils at the DVPS fossil fair.  You can see more photos of our fossil finds on my FACEBOOK page.  
 
Flying Squirrel:  This flying squirrel visited our bird feeder every night for several weeks.  This little character was remarkably tame and friendly.  We didn't know flying squirrels live in Pennsylvania.  Most people don't see them because they come out at night.  Our bird feeder is also frequented by 36 species of birds including 5 types of woodpeckers - and a friendly, well-mannered raccoon named "B.J." 

  

Great Lakes Gobies:  These are pictures from our 2010 trip to the Thousand Islands (St. Lawrence River, on the U.S./Canadian border) - these little fish are called "round gobies" - a non-native invasive species introduced to the St. Lawrence and Great Lakes in the 1990s, carried in the bilges of ships from other countries.  In only two decades, gobies have invaded the lower Great Lakes.  Round Gobies have been linked to the spread of a fish virus that has infected native fish species including muskies. During our boating/fishing trip we saw clusters of as many as 100 in the clear shallow waters.
Future Travel: Our "dream trip" is to rent a car and drive through southern Italy, traveling the Amalfi Coast, viewing ancient art in Pompeii/Herculaneum, etc.
Copyright (c) 2013 by Michael S. Tomczyk. All rights reserved.