Tenth Anniversary of the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards

The 2019 TDIA takes place on Friday, May 3 at the Borough of Manhattan Community College.

Supported by the Tribeca Film Festival and the Disruptive Foundation, it celebrates, nurtures and mobilizes a community of disruptors who have inspired and empowered others toward innovative thinking and creative activism.

Honorees include Nelson Mandela’s grandson and co-founder of the Africa Rising Foundation Ndaba Mandela, Global Impact Revolution Pioneer and Philanthropist Sir Ronald Cohen, acclaimed “Live Magazine” touring show Pop-Up Magazine and commended news documentary series Axios on HBO. Posthumous awards go to Apollo 12 Commander (ahead of the Apollo’s 50th anniversary) and third man to walk on the moon Charles ‘Pete’ Conrad Jr., and WWII Hungarian Jews Savior Tibor Baranski.

Helmed by co-founder Craig Hatkoff, the awards acknowledge and uplift those who have challenged social norms to present world-changing inventions or ideas. With past honorees including Eric Schmidt, Questlove, Ashton Kutcher and Justin Bieber, these changemakers often live at the intersection of technology and culture, encourage advances in society and raise the bar for a thriving humanity. The awards will be hosted by HBO filmmaker and Sirius XM host, Perri Peltz.

“Over the past ten years, we have celebrated the achievements of 250 the world’s greatest disruptors who have challenged and changed the status quo for the public good,” says Tribeca Film Festival co-founder Craig Hatkoff.

“We have witnessed the awe, wonder and enchantment of human ingenuity and resilience. Our disruptors have led an expansion the moral imagination to deal with the world’s most vexing problems. As we celebrate our tenth anniversary, a clear message has emerged: in order to bridge the rapidly expanding techno-cultural divide, we will need to better understand the influence of culture and context on successful innovation and disruption. Too much emphasis has been placed on the promise of our emerging technologies, but humanism itself remains at the core of all progress.”

TDIA serves as a living laboratory for advances in disruptive innovation theory, bringing together the world’s most striking innovators with stories that inspire us to think outside the box, focusing on breakthroughs at the intersection of technology and culture where resistance to change impedes upon social progress. Visionary minds have come together to brainstorm solutions and envision lifechanging results for some of the world’s most critical issues. TDIA honors these dynamic individuals and corporations founded upon advancing society through cutting-edge cultural revolutions.

The Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards are a collaboration with Clayton Christensen, Harvard Business School Professor, author of the Silicon Valley manifesto, The Innovators Dilemma and father of the disruptive innovation theory—the world’s most influential theory of innovation and radical change.

TDIA Honorees

TDIA Fellows

Disruptor Awards Hiroshima

This year’s honorees include:

Alexandria Villaseñor: Alexandria Villaseñor is a 13 year-old climate activist. Frustrated by the lack of progress at COP 24 and inspired by 16 year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, Alexandria began her own school strike for climate in front of the United Nations Headquarters on December 14, 2018. Soon after, Alexandria became a national and international organizer for the first ever global youth climate strike which occurred on March 15, 2019 and mobilized 1.6M youth from 123 countries.

Ashley Edwards (MindRight): Ashley Edwards is Co-founder and CEO of MindRight. MindRight provides daily, culturally-responsive mental health coaching over text message to youth impacted by trauma. Ashley is a 2018 Forbes 30 under 30 Social Entrepreneur and has been recognized by Forbes as one of the top 30 innovators of the next century.

Axios on HBO: This is a first-of-its-kind news show, fusing Axios reporting on the most consequential topics of our time with the cinematic, documentary storytelling of two award-winning filmmakers and HBO.

The ambition: to leave viewers feeling a lot smarter about the topics truly upending and reshaping their lives.

The Conrad Foundation on behalf of Charles ‘Pete’ Conrad Jr.: Charles ‘Pete’ Conrad Jr was a naval officer and aviator, test pilot, aeronautical engineer, NASA astronaut, and the third man to walk on the Moon. His wife Nancy continues his legacy through the Conrad Foundation by encouraging students to become disruptive entrepreneurs and apply innovation, science and technology to create global impact.

Dustin Yellin: Dustin Yellin is an artist who lives in Brooklyn, New York, and is the founder and director of Pioneer Works, a multidisciplinary cultural center in Red Hook, Brooklyn that builds community through the arts and sciences to create an open and inspired world. Acting as a pendant to his institution-building social practice, Yellin’s artwork makes the hidden forces of nature and commerce tangible.

Grant Thompson: Grant Thompson is a 14-year-old high school honors student from Tucson, Arizona. He was recently credited by Apple, Inc. for finding and reporting the Apple “Group Facetime Bug.” This bug had national privacy and security implications as it allowed iPhone users to eavesdrop on third parties when utilizing Apple’s new Group Facetime feature.

Henry Timms and 92nd Street Y: Henry Timms is the President and CEO of 92nd Street Y, co-author of the international bestseller New Power, and co-founder of #GivingTuesday. He is a visiting Fellow at Stanford University and a Hauser Leader at Harvard Kennedy School. He was recently named as the next President and CEO of Lincoln Center.

Maria Gallagher and Ana María Archila: Maria Gallagher is an investing analyst based in the DC area who received national attention following a confrontation with then Senator Jeff Flake about the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Ana María Archila is the Co-Executive Director at the Center for Popular Democracy, and a national voice for immigrant justice, women’s rights, and the urgency of a people-centered democracy.

Mayors for Peace: Following the devastating 1945 bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Mayors for Peace was founded to contribute to the attainment of lasting world peace. Arousing concern among citizens of the world for the total abolition of nuclear weapons, Mayors for Peace contributes through close solidarity among member cities as well as by striving to solve vital problems for the human race such as starvation and poverty, the plight of refugees, human rights abuses, and environmental degradation.

Mick Ebeling: Named Wired magazine’s “Make Tech Human” thought leaders, awarded Muhammed Ali’s Humanitarian of the Year Award and Ad Age’s Top 50 Most Creative People, Ebeling is an instigator of innovation. Mick founded Not Impossible on the principle of Technology for the Sake of Humanity, developing projects for fundamental human needs.

Ndaba Mandela: Nelson Mandela’s legacy lives on as his grandson, NDABA MANDELA, continues to keep its beacon of hope bright, fueling its fiery message that one person can make a difference. Ndaba is Co-Founder and Chairman of the Africa Rising Foundation, an organization dedicated to promoting the positive image of Africa around the world. He is also the longest serving Global Ambassador to UNAIDS, which seeks to end discrimination around HIV/AIDS. His recent book, Going to the Mountain: Life Lessons from My Grandfather, Nelson Mandela, is the first-ever to tell Mandela’s life through the eyes of the grandson whom he raised. Recently named one of BET’s “28 Men of Change” Ndaba is showing the world, through his actions and orations, that Madiba’s voice and message of freedom still rings true.

Paul Romer: Paul Romer, economist and policy entrepreneur, is a co-recipient of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Economics Sciences and University Professor in Economics at NYU. He has spent his career at the intersection of economics, innovation, technology, and urbanization, working to speed up human progress.

Pop-Up Magazine: Pop-Up Magazine is a unique series of live-narrated, live-scored, multimedia journalism performances staged at major theaters across the country. Contributors tell vivid, never-before-told stories accompanied by illustration, animation, photography, and an original score performed onstage by our musical collaborators, Magik*Magik Orchestra. We end the night gathered around the bar, performers and audience together. And nothing goes online after—you have to be there to see it.

Robert Kegan: Harvard professor Robert Kegan is a world-renowned pioneer in the field of human development. His research and writing on the stages of mental complexity in adulthood have helped create a whole new field of study, transformed practice in nearly every profession, and unleashed the hope that we can all keep growing at any age.

Sir Ronald Cohen: Sir Ronald Cohen, Chair of the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment, is a pioneering philanthropist, venture capitalist, private equity investor, and social innovator, who is driving forward the global Impact Revolution. For nearly two decades, his ground-breaking initiatives have catalyzed global efforts to drive private capital to serve social and environmental good.

Tibor Baranski (Posthumous): Teacher, devout Catholic and fearless wartime hero, the late Tibor Baranski working for the Vatican Embassy in Budapest is credited with saving 3,000 + Jews during the Holocaust in Budapest Hungary when he was only 22 years old. For his act he is recognized by Yad Vashem as “Righteous Among the Nations.”

Veronica Varekova: Veronica Varekova is a globally recognized supermodel, conservation advocate, and global ambassador for African wildlife. She resides in New York City and Prague – where she was born – and travels frequently to countries in Africa to focus on wildlife related issues. Veronica is a keen advocate of sustainable development on the African continent and uses the high-level contacts that she has generated throughout her career in the public eye to assist private sector and governments to interact, whilst maintaining a strong position with regard to the importance of cultural sensitivities, social, and environmental needs.

Perri Peltz (Host): Perri Peltz is a documentary filmmaker, journalist, and public health advocate. Most recently Perri directed the HBO documentary, Warning: This Drug May Kill You, about the opioid addiction epidemic. She recently produced the HBO documentary Risky Drinking and co- directed A Conversation About Growing Up Black as part of the “Conversation on Race” series for The New York Times Op-Docs. Other films include HBO’s Remembering the Artist: Robert De Niro, Sr. and Prison Dogs. Perri hosts “The Perri Peltz Show” on SiriusXM and is a doctoral candidate at Columbia University’s School of Public Health. She was previously an award- winning broadcast journalist for NBC, ABC, and CNN.



About Our 2019 Partner
As Presenting Sponsor of the Tribeca Film Festival, AT&T is committed to supporting the Festival and the art of filmmaking through access and innovation, while expanding opportunities to diverse creators around the globe. AT&T helps millions connect to their passions – no matter where they are. This year, AT&T and Tribeca will once again collaborate to give the world access to stories from underrepresented filmmakers that deserve to be seen. AT&T Presents Untold Stories. An Inclusive Film Program in Collaboration with Tribeca is a multi-year, multi-tier alliance between AT&T and Tribeca along with the year-round nonprofit Tribeca Film Institute.

About Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards
TDIA serves as a living laboratory for advances in disruptive innovation theory and brings together the world’s most fascinating disruptors whose stories will inspire anyone with an interest in the process of innovation.

In 1997, Harvard Business School’s Professor Clayton M. Christensen published his groundbreaking book The Innovator’s Dilemma where he introduced his theory of Disruptive Innovation.

The Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards, helmed by co-founder Craig Hatkoff, in collaboration with Professor Christensen, celebrates disruptive innovation across the full spectrum of traditional and non-traditional domains ranging from technology, biomed, politics, education, healthcare, spirituality, religion, economics, sports, fashion and philanthropy.

The awards focus on breakthroughs occurring at the intersection of technology and culture where frequent clashes and resistance to change impede social progress and solutions for some of the world’s most vexing problems.

About Disruptive Foundation
Disruptor Foundation is co-founded by Craig Hatkoff, Irwin Kula and Professor Clayton Christensen in 2009, the Disruptor Foundation is a private 501(C)3 non-profit whose mission is to raise awareness of and encourage the advancement of disruptive innovation theory and its application in societally-critical domains.

The Foundation’s marquee event, the annual Disruptor Awards is presented in collaboration with the Tribeca Film Festival and the Harvard Business School’s Professor Clayton Christensen, originator of disruptive innovation theory.


Gregg W. Morris can be reached at gmorris@hunter.cuny.edu