2019 Watchlist: Women in Innovation

2019 Watchlist: Women in Innovation

There’s a growing number of women in innovation making huge strides.  We’ve compiled a watchlist of 36 women in innovation who we believe will make a significant impact in 2019. Many of these incredible women in innovation are friends, but others are innovation leaders we hope to meet.

Inside Innovators

Inside innovators are women in innovation who work inside companies or are closely aligned to a corporation or organization in a consultative role.

Featured on Inside Outside Innovation Podcast / Summit / Event

Sunayna Tuteja is leading change and innovation at the nexus of social, mobile, digital and FinTech. She is TD Ameritrade’s Lead on Digital Strategy, Experience & Innovation. Inside Outside Innovation Summit 2018 [VIDEO]

Natalie Fratto is Vice President Early Stage Practice & Focused on Canadian Expansion of Silicon Valley Bank. She provides banking and financing support for the most promising early-stage startups and establishes strategic partnerships. Inside Outside Innovation Summit 2018 [VIDEO]

Molly Lahr is the Head of Platform at American Family Ventures, the corporate venture capital unit of US-based American Family Insurance.  Lahr joined the American Family Ventures team after working for startups, Gillware Online Backup and Branch2, and as a director for the Wisconsin Innovation Network. Inside Outside Innovation Summit 2017 Speaker [VIDEO]  @mollylahr

Sangeeta Badal is the Principal Scientist for Gallup’s Builder initiative. She is co-author of “Born to Build.” Dr. Badal is responsible for designing and implementing entrepreneurship programs that enable startup and small business growth. @SangeetaBadal

Women in Innovation We Hope to Interview

Anne Wellington is Managing Director of Cedars-Sinai Accelerator, an organization that helps entrepreneurs bring their innovative technology products to market.

Nirali Shah is an innovation architect at Cisco HyperInnovation Living Labs (CHILL), a co-innovation catalyst for Cisco’s $12B Customer Experience business. They partner with large corporations to create an ecosystem approach to innovation.

Nicole Shepard is the Innovation Design Manager at Spotify in London, after serving in innovation roles at both Econic and Travelport. @shephardux

Outside Innovators

Outside innovators are women in innovation who serve as innovation consultants to both corporations and startups, in addition to providing thought leadership as authors.

Featured on Inside Outside Innovation Podcast

Melissa Perri is author of Escaping the Build Trap: How Effective Product Management Creates Real Value.  She is also creator of an online Product Management School and CEO of Produx Labs.  Inside Outside Innovation Podcast – EP. 140   @lissijean

Victoria Gerstman is the Associate Director at Canopy Insight, a cultural insight and innovation consultancy. She is a leader in immersive cultural investigation and semiotic analysis to help brands craft stronger and more meaningful customer relationships and product innovations.  Inside Outside Innovation Podcast – Ep. 130   @VGerstman

Amy Jo Kim helps entrepreneurs & innovators 10X their product/market fit with Game Thinking. She pioneered the idea of applying game design to digital services, and is well known for her books “Community Building on the Web” and “Game Thinking.”   Inside Outside Innovation Podcast – Ep. 106

Teresa Torres with Product Talk helps digital product teams adopt continuous product discovery practices including a regular cadence of customer interviews, rapid prototyping, and assumption testing. She emphasizes strong critical thinking practices to ensure there is a strong connection between what the teams are learning in their research activities with the product decisions that they are making.  Inside Outside Innovation Podcast – Ep. 90  @ttorres

Lindsay Angelo partners with brands of all sizes to explore and validate ideas and create strategies to bring those ideas to life. She has held positions at lululemon and BC Hydro. Inside Outside Innovation Podcast – Ep. 68

Laura Klein is an engineer and UX designer who wrote “UX For Lean Startups: Faster, Smarter, User Experience Research and Design.” She’s also a Principal at Users Know.  Inside Outside Innovation Podcast – Ep. 34  @lauraklein

Diana Kander’s latest book, “The Curiosity Muscle,” is a novel tackling the rise and plateau of a gym franchise and why most companies reaching the peak of their potential lose their curiosity and crash into irrelevance. It’s a great follow-up to her New York Time’s bestseller “All In Startup: Launching a New Idea When Everything Is On The Line.” Inside Outside Innovation Podcast – Ep 25.  @dianakander

Featured at Inside Outside Innovation Summit

Kathleen Cohen is an Experience Strategist at the Collaboratorium where she researches, creates, builds, and produces immersive & disruptive experiences including: future storytelling narratives, IoT, AI and AR/VR/MR/XR, and leading creative & tech teams.  She has also worked at the National Constitution Center, Disney, IBM and DreamWorks Interactive.  Inside Outside Innovation Summit 2019 [VIDEO]  Inside Outside Innovation Podcast – Ep. 163. @kathleen_cohen 

Laura Anne Edwards is a global innovation and strategic partnerships executive, consulting with leading technology and media companies. Examples include launching of Hidef content on Amazon, creating the first multi-platform advertiser network on basic cable for FX Networks and consulting with General Motors on thought leadership. She is on the US State Dept. Technology & Innovation Council for Public-Private Partnerships, a NASA Datanaut and a TED Resident.  Inside Outside Innovation Summit 2019 [VIDEO] Inside Outside Innovation Podcast – Ep. 145

Lorrie Vogel is the CEO/Founder ImagineNOW, a consultancy that accelerates innovation by using the power of design thinking, leveraging innovation, design and sustainability expertise. Lorrie was also at Nike for two decades, bringing changes to all facets of Nike’s products.  Inside Outside Innovation Summit 2019 [VIDEO]

Amy Radin is a recognized Fortune 100 Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer and thought leader on how to deliver innovation for sustainable, business-changing impact. She wrote “The Change Maker’s Playbook: How to Seek, Seed and Scale Innovation In Any Company.” Inside Outside Innovation Summit 2019 [VIDEO] @amyradin

Andi Platenberg is the founder of FutureTight where she works with teams to evolve their product design practices, reduce business risk, and make quick headway towards problem solution fit. Inside Outside Innovation Summit 2018 [VIDEO]. Inside Outside Innovation Podcast – Ep. 103  @andisf

Janice Fraser founded LUXr, the first Lean Startup coaching firm for early-stage companies. She is currently the Senior Vice President at Bionic and has coached, taught, and worked with thousands of startup founders inside and outside corporations.  Inside Outside Innovation Summit 2017 Speaker [VIDEO]  @clevergirl.

Nicole Rufuku is the co-founder of Bonsai Hiring where they are redesigning job interviews. She wrote “Hiring for the Innovation Economy: Three Steps to Improve Performance and Diversity.”  Inside Outside Innovation Summit 2018 Speaker [VIDEO]  Inside Outside Innovation Podcast – Ep. 117. @nicolerufuku

Simone Ahuja is the founder of Blood Orange, an innovation and strategy consulting group with special expertise in innovation, jugaad (or frugal) innovation, emerging markets, and intrapraneurship. She is co-author of “Jugaad Innovation” and the upcoming book “Disrupt-It-Yourself: Eight Ways to Hack a Better Business—Before the Competition Does.”   Inside Outside Innovation Summit 2017 Speaker [VIDEO] @SimoneAhuja

Carie Davis is Chief Strategy Officer at Techpublic.  She was previously at Your Ideas Are Terrible, Atlanta BridgeCommunity, and served as Global Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at The Coca-Cola Company. Inside Outside Innovation Summit 2017 Speaker [VIDEO]  @CarieDavis2

Chris Shipley works in the technology industry as a journalist, analyst, event producer, and startup mentor. Today, Chris focuses her writing, speaking, photojournalism, and advocacy on the human and organizational challenges in the face of technology and economically-driven disruption. Inside Outside Innovation Summit Speaker 2017 [VIDEO] @cshipley

Women in Innovation We Hope to Interview

Beth Comstock is the author of Imagine it Forward, a book about summoning courage and creativity in the face of change.  She previously spent nearly three decades at GE, where she led efforts to accelerate new growth and innovation. She also served as President of Integrated Media at NBC Universal and as a director at Nike.  @bethcomstock

Aubrey Smith is founder of Sparked Advisory, a consultancy which uses the Lean Startup method to guide teams to rapid, data-driven, customer-centric decisions through validated learning.  She has also worked at Lean Startup Co, The Bionic Accelerator and GE. @AubreyatSparked

Heather E. McGowan  is the co-author of the book Disrupt Together: How Teams Consistently Innovate.  She is also a Transdisciplinarity Coach with The 4th Industrial Revolution.org, Co-founder, author and advisor with Work to Lean, and consultant with HE McGOWAN, where she works with forward-thinking clients in education and business to map strategies to address rapidly changing market conditions. @heathermcgowan

Sonja Kresojevic is co-founder of Spinnaker Co. and a Lean product innovation thought leader. She is also co-author of The Lean Product Lifecycle.  Most recently Sonja was SVP in the Chief Product Office at Pearson, leading the implementation of the Global Product Lifecycle. @sonjak18

Lital Marom is founder of  UNFOLD Media Group, a global consulting firm that helps executive teams integrate new growth strategies such as platform business model, digital ecosystem management and lean scale up. She also founded the Academy of Tomorrow with the mission to unlock human potential through programs that foster growth mindsets and creative skillsets to succeed in the future of work. @litalmarom


Venture Capitalists/Foundation/Government/University Innovators

Venture capitalist, foundation leaders, government innovators and university thought leaders are independent of serving specific corporations.  These women in innovation provide significant guidance to startups and corporate investors.

Featured on Inside Outside Innovation Podcast / Summit / Event

Beth Engel is a partner at Dundee Venture Capital, a Seed Capital Investor.  Previously she worked at the FBI and Hayneedle – Inside Outside Innovation Summit 2019 [VIDEO] @ebethengel

Arlan Hamilton is founder and managing partner of Backstage Capital, a seed investment fund that backs overachieving, underrepresented startup founders. She is also a live music production coordinator and tour manager.  Inside Outside Innovation Podcast – Ep. 198.  @ArlanWasHere   

Megan Elliott is a creative, visionary and agile innovation leader in the digital, creative, emerging media, and education sectors. She is Founding Director of the Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts. She also co-created X Media Lab. Inside Outside Innovation Summit 2018 [VIDEO]

Francesca Gino is an experienced Harvard Business School Professor and a community and social services professional skilled in nonprofit organizations, analytical skills, coaching, and research design. She wrote “Rebel Talent: Why It Pays to Break the Rules at Work and in Life” and “Sidetracked: Why Our Decisions Get Derailed, and How We Can Stick to the Plan.” Inside Outside Innovation Podcast – Ep. 148.  @francescagino

Anna Mason is a Partner in Rise of the Rest Seed, a Revolution Fund. The fund invests capital in high-potential early-stage startups, based in regional innovation hubs in cities all across the country. Anna began her career on Wall Street, most recently as a Vice President at The Seaport Group. Previously, Anna was a co-founder of BurnThis, a mobile marketing platform and consumer social network.  Inside Outside Innovation Summit 2017 [VIDEO].  @annamasonDC

Women in Innovation We Hope to Interview

Jean Case is author of Be Fearless: 5 Principles for a Life of Breakthroughs and Purpose. She is also Chairman of the National Geographic Society and CEO of the Case Foundation. Before starting the Foundation in 1997, Jean was a senior executive at America Online, Inc. where she directed the marketing and branding that helped establish AOL as a household utility. @jeancase

Molly Cain  is the Director of Venture at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Prior to this she served as the Executive Director of Tech Wildcatters. Molly is also the founder of Glass Heel and GH.Ventures, and writes a leadership column in Forbes that has generated over 10M views. @mollycain


Need More Innovation Insights?

Subscribe to the Inside Outside Newsletter. Every week we thoughtfully curate the latest news, trends, tools, and tactics in the world of startup and corporate innovation. Sign-up for our newsletter which includes our annual list of women in innovation.  Also don’t miss the latest insights from the IO innovation podcast and our immersive events!

Connect with me!

Brian Ardinger is Director of Innovation at Nelnet and the founder of InsideOutside.io, makers of the weekly Inside Outside Innovation podcast, events, and community. For over 25 years, Brian has been helping entrepreneurs and enterprises navigate and compete in a world of change and disruption. He was the founder of NMotion (a seed-stage startup accelerator), CMO at Nanonation, head of research at Ion Global (a Hong Kong-headquartered technology firm), and senior consultant for Gartner in Asia. @ardinger


This article contains affiliate links that may earn Inside Outside a small fee on purchases originating from them.  They do not influence editorial decisions to include mention of any products or services in this article. 

Share Episode

The Feed