Taylor Halversen

Four Storytellers You’ll Need to Hear at BIF2015

Every year hundreds of innovation junkies flock together to connect, inspire and transform the world around them through the power of storytelling and innovation at the Business Innovation Factory’s annual Summit.

The lineup for BIF2015 is taking shape, and we in the BIF Citizen Experience Lab are excited to hear from the over 30 storytellers innovating in fields from technology and healthcare to education and taste buds.

Here’s a look at a few people we’re excited to hear from, from a citizen innovation perspective:

Chris Emdin


Known in innovation circles for his involvement in the Hip Hop education movement, Emdin is a tenured professor in the Department of Mathematics, Science, and Technology at Columbia University.

Although this storyteller’s primary focus is the classroom, he is a strong advocate for looking at students with a holistic view. He has made it his mission to observe the complexity of students’ voice and opportunities, asking “How do they get to talk about the issues they are thinking about?”

Emdin looks to move beyond “student-centered” pedagogy and “culturally-relevant” pedagogy to what he calls “reality pedagogy” — teaching and learning based on the reality of the students’ experience. He claims “equity is not giving everybody the exact same thing; equity is hearing somebody’s voice about what they need and providing them with that.”

Marc Goodman


This storyteller is a visionary for the future of crime. As a global security strategist and advisor, he is focused on the disruptive impact advancing technologies have on security, business and international affairs.

Although we desire a “tech-Utopia” in our communities with technological developments, Goodman says that tools alone are not going to bring us the peace we want — in fact, they may make issues worse.

Goodman provides a harrowing look at how technology as a tool can be used to both build and destroy communities as he discusses the innovation and infrastructure of crime. In a world where technology is often acquired by criminal hands first, he questions government’s ability to address the developments of tech-savvy crime in the future.

Gail Sheehy


As a journalist and author of 17 books, Sheehy has extensively explored the human experience by capturing and telling the stories of thousands of people — including her own.

She has rigorously addressed a variety of topics including the crises of adult development, and has been a pioneer in capturing the female experience, shining the spotlight on taboo subjects like menopause and the sexuality of older women.

She has also built a strong reputation as a premiere political profiler, writing about many public figures such as Robert Kennedy, Hillary Clinton, Margaret Thatcher, and even Saddam Hussein. We can’t wait to hear her insights on the citizen experience through her stories!

Julius Searight


“You have to be the first snowflake that starts an avalanche.” -Searight

As founder and director of Food4Good, a mobile food truck that serves paying customers during the day and turns into a mobile soup kitchen at night, Searight is passionate about hunger.

Fresh out of college, he set out to create a nonprofit for one reason: civic engagement. His motto is that simple service — helping others in need for nothing in return — is the most powerful form of civic engagement and the building block of community. Through his enterprise, he desires to provide a sustainable business model for addressing a growing need among families.

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