Frank Moss Challenges America to Innovate on Our Innovation System

Entrepreneur, technologist and former director of the MIT Media Lab says, "The frenzy over social media is not the wave of innovation that we need."

Jun 07, 2011, 06:00 ET from Crown Publishing Group

NEW YORK, June 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- People the world over are flocking to connect and share news and views via social media sites, and investor interest in them is at a fever pitch. However, according to entrepreneur, technologist and author Frank Moss, "We can do much better. Meaningful innovation is stagnating in America. Yes, we can access any information, and connect with anyone, anytime from our mobile devices. But if we are to thrive, and not just survive, in the 21st century, we need meaningful innovations that enable people to take control of their health, wealth, and happiness in ways previously thought impossible."

Moss, director of the MIT Media Lab from 2006-2011 and now Professor of the Practice and head of the New Media Medicine research group there, was formerly CEO of Tivoli Systems and is co-founder of companies including Bowstreet, Infinity Pharmaceuticals and his latest start-up venture, Bluefin Labs. Author of THE SORCERERS AND THEIR APPRENTICES: How the Digital Magicians of the MIT Media Lab Are Creating the Innovative Technologies That Will Transform Our Lives (Crown Business; June 7, 2011), he is a new voice for the belief that while recent technological developments, like social media, have made our lives more connected and convenient, they have done little to improve our lives at a deeper level. He contends that these developments have therefore failed to create the fundamental changes in society that spark sustained economic expansion and job growth.

"Americans are as innovative as ever, but the system that supports them has become timid and risk-averse. The highly productive innovation ecosystem that thrived in the U.S. in the late 20th century -- a synergistic arrangement among academia, government and industry -- is now broken. Given the prodigious challenges that face society today, this is a tragedy," Moss says.

He believes the MIT Media Lab has birthed a new model for collaboration between industry and research; one that could be the basis for the new kind of innovation we need to meet these 21st century challenges. In this model, corporate sponsors provide the financial support for an environment where faculty and students from a wide variety of disciplines have the creative freedom to invent and explore. This model leads to highly impactful technologies that neither group would have arrived at on its own. Moss points to projects such as face-reading technology that helps people with autism function better in school and society; a foldable electric vehicle that redefines urban transportation; and a revolutionary software platform for patient-activated healthcare management that is being tested at the Mayo Clinic.

"If we're to fix the problems of the 21st century, we need to innovate on our innovation ecosystem. We must once again get creative individuals from a wide variety of disciplines into collaborative environments where they can explore truly radical ideas inspired by their personal passions and curiosity," says Moss.

THE SORCERERS AND THEIR APPRENTICES provides the blueprint for any company or individual seeking to do just that.

For more information on Frank Moss, visit, follow him on Facebook and Twitter, and see him speak on innovation.

CONTACT: Hilsinger-Mendelson East, (212) 725-7707 / Sandi Mendelson, / David Kass,

SOURCE Crown Publishing Group