Hear from The Economist’s 2014 Innovation Award Winners at Innovation Summit on October 10th in Hong Kong

2014 marks the first time The Economist’s innovation initiative has come to Asia in its 13-year history

HONG KONG, Sept. 30, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Winners of The Economist’s prestigious Innovation awards 2014 will speak at The Economist Events’ Innovation Summit scheduled to take place at the JW Marriott Hong Kong on Friday, October 10th 2014. At the summit, the award winners will share their experiences and the lessons those hold for others. The awards, which recognises outstanding people who have made a proven innovation over the past decade, will be presented at a ceremony in Hong Kong the night before the summit. It will be the first time the ceremony has come to Asia. The award winners speaking at the summit include:

Nandan Nilekani, former head of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), has won the Social & Economic Innovation Award for his leadership of the country’s national identity scheme.

Jay Keasling, Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley and Senior Faculty Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory for synthetic artemisinin used to treat malaria."I was fortunate to lead a team of very talented scientists and engineers who worked long and hard to complete this high risk, high reward project," said Dr Keasling. "Because of their efforts, the lives of many people will be saved and made better. Adoption of semisynthetic artemisinin is an important step forward in eradicating malaria."

Pixar Animation Studios has won the Corporate Award for its ground-breaking computer animation tools, technology and feature films. Marc Greenberg, Vice President, Finance and Strategy, Pixar Animation Studios will speak on behalf of Pixar Animation Studios at the summit. "Pixar is honored to receive The Economist’s Corporate Innovation Award, which we accept on behalf of the studio’s incredible employees," said Marc Greenberg.  "Their creativity, commitment and drive are the source and foundation of all the company’s accomplishments."

Renaud Laplanche, Founder and CEO of Lending Club, has won the Consumer Product Award for pioneering peer-to-peer consumer lending. "Our mission is to transform the banking system to make credit more affordable and investing more rewarding, and we’re gratified that so many investors and borrowers continue to find value in that commitment," said Lending Club CEO Renaud Laplanche. "Having the impact of this disruption recognized and validated by the Economist Innovation Awards is a significant honor, and I’m excited to be recognized on behalf of all Lending Club team members."

As in The Economist newspaper, the Innovation Summit will explore innovation through the lens of what matters to senior executives in Asia, without the hype. In addition to hearing from award-winning innovators, chief executives will share corporate stories of success and failure — with insight on how to learn from both. Entrepreneurs will share how to think like the competition in order to not be beaten by it. Participants will survey where disruption is heading in Asia and suggest how to avoid the shocks. The right role for government in spurring innovation will be examined and the latest breakthrough technologies will be revealed. Finally, The Economist will challenge the prevailing assumption that innovation is good and plentiful by debating the provocative notion that "We are not as innovative as we think".

Other featured speakers include:

  • Fanny Law, Member, HKSAR Executive Council, Chairperson, Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks Corporation
  • Tom Standage, Online and Digital Editor, The Economist
  • Vijay V Vaitheeswaran, Author of Need, Speed, and Greed, China Business Editor and Shanghai Bureau Chief, The Economist Guo Ping, Deputy Chairman of the Board, Rotating Chief Executive Officer, Huawei Nisaba Godrej, Executive Director, Godrej Consumer Products
  • Kevin Goldmintz, Chief Executive Officer, Octopus
  • K. R. Sanjiv, Chief Technology Officer, Wipro Raj Thampuran, Managing Director, Agency for Science, Technology and Research
  • Scott Anthony, Managing Partner, Innosight
  • William Saito, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, InTecur K.K., Special Advisor, Cabinet Office for Government of Japan Toshiyuki Inoko, Founder, teamLab Andrew Chung, Managing Partner, Khosla Ventures Sirgoo Lee, Co-Chief Executive Officer, Daum Kakao
  • David Jensen, Global Innovation and Digital Strategy Leader, EY
  • Viren Shetty, Senior Vice President, Strategy and Planning, Narayana Hrudayalaya Tyler Cowen, Author, Professor of Economics, George Mason University
  • Parag Khanna, Managing Partner, Hybrid Reality, Senior Fellow, New America Foundation

First time in Asia

Innovation is an increasingly global activity. No city, country or region has a monopoly on "new ideas that create value", as The Economist likes to define it. The awards, the only awards presented by the newspaper, and the summit reflects that fact in its choice of location as well as its content.

"Unlike other awards ceremonies and conferences, our focus is not simply on promising innovations that might turn out to be important," says Tom Standage, Online and Digital Editor of The Economist. "Rather, our focus is on proven innovations that have demonstrated their value — and the lessons that can be learned from them. In other words, we look backwards in order to look forwards."

The Economist Intelligence Unit will be releasing a white paper Under the radar: Innovation in Asia evolves at the summit.

For further information on the awards and summit please visit the website: economistinsights.com/innovation2014.

Huawei and EY are sponsors for The Economist’s Innovation Awards and Summit 2014. InvestHK is the host sponsor.

About The Economist‘s Innovation Awards

In this annual awards programme, The Economist showcases creative people who dream up new ideas and turn them into reality. The newspaper invites its readers to nominate outstanding innovators in seven categories: Bioscience, Computing and Telecommunications, Consumer Products, Energy and the Environment, Process and Service Innovation, Social and Economic Innovation, and a special "no boundaries" category for innovations that span industries and sectors. In addition, the judges select the winner of the corporate award for innovation.

This year’s award judges included Tom Standage, Online and Digital Editor, The Economist; Vijay Vaitheeswaran, China Business and Finance Editor, The Economist; Hernando de Soto, Chairman, Institute for Liberty and Democracy; Hongyang Wang, Director, National Center for Liver Cancer, China Department of Health Science; and Lesa B. Roe, Director, Langley Research Center, NASA. To see the full judging panel, please visit the awards’ website: http://economistinsights.com/innovation2014.

Over the past 13 years, The Economist‘s Innovation Awards programme has recognised the work of the world’s leading entrepreneurs, thinkers, creators, scientists and innovators, including Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Hernando de Soto and Elon Musk.

About Nandan Nilekani and the identity system

UIDAI was set up in 2009 with the aim of issuing everyone in India, especially the poorest residents in rural areas, a unique identification number. This would enable them to prove their identity in order to do things like open a bank account or get credit. Mr Nilekani led the team to create a biometric database of personal identities relying on fingerprints and iris scans.

The identity system can both reduce fraud and allow for the provision of vastly improved public services. When people have valid identification and bank accounts, government payments can go directly to them rather than into the pockets of intermediaries who have invented imaginary ghost workers or welfare recipients. Direct payments also allow people to be more mobile and leave their home village to seek work without forfeiting any benefits.

About Jay Keasling’s discovery

Artemisinin is the main ingredient used in drugs for treating malaria. But the natural supply of artemisinin is limited and inconsistent. Dr Keasling discovered how to synthesise small amounts of artemisinic acid, and formed a company named Amyris to develop the biological process. In December 2004 the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation gave US$42.6 million to fund its research. Amyris was able to boost artemisinic acid production by a factor of 15. This led to large-scale production of semi-synthetic artemisinin.

Dr Keasling’s work has led to a major advance in the treatment of malaria, which affects an estimated 250 million people a year. It will increase and stabilise the supply of artemisinin, and lower the cost of this key malaria treatment.

About Pixar Animation Studios

Pixar has produced many significant technological breakthroughs, including computer graphics software that enables production of animated images of unparalleled quality, richness and vibrancy. Every Academy Award® winner for Visual Effects in the past 15 years has used Pixar’s suite of RenderMan products.

Pixar also changed the way animated films were made by launching its own short and then full-length animated feature films created entirely with computer technology. Its first feature film, "Toy Story," was the highest-grossing movie of 1995. Pixar has earned 30 Academy Awards®, including seven for Best Animated feature, six Golden Globe Awards and 11 Grammy Awards.

About Renaud Laplanche and the Lending Club

In 2006, Renaud Laplanche noticed that if he carried a balance on his bank credit card he would pay 16.49% interest, yet the same bank would pay him interest of only 0.48% on his savings account. Intrigued by the huge spread, he built an online peer-to-peer marketplace called Lending Club that connects borrowers and investors, efficiently connecting the supply and demand of capital.     

Most borrowers use Lending Club to access affordable credit.  All of the loans offered through Lending Club’s marketplace feature fixed rates, fixed monthly payments, no hidden fees and no prepayment penalties.  Lending Club delivers value to investors by providing them with the opportunity to earn attractive risk-adjusted returns.  Between its launch and June 30th 2014, Lending Club facilitated $5 billion in loans.

Media Contact:

Stefanie Wong
Phone Number: +852-2837-4773
Email: Stefanie.wong@edelman.com