Chicago Celebrates its Best Innovators at the Harris Theatre

Which businesses created the most innovative products and services in the Chicago region? Hundreds were nominated for the 2012 Chicago Innovation Awards and judges selected a dozen winners from the large pool of nominees.

More than a thousand people packed the Harris Theatre on Randolph Street to cheer on their favorite companies. Now in its 11th year, the Chicago Innovation Awards was co-founded by Tom Kuczmarski, long-time professor of product service and innovation at Northwester University’s Kellogg School of Management, and Dan Miller, a prominent local journalist. The award categories included: the “Up-and-Comer” (for the region’s most innovative startups), the “Social Innovator”, “People’s Choice”, and two honorary awards, which were given to Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Governor Pat Quinn

“This is a city on the move, this is a city that is willing to shape its future and not be shaped by it,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel, recipient of the Visionary Award. ” If we are willing to do that and make tough decisions that are important and central for our future, then people will choose Chicago to move their businesses and move their family, live here, operate here because it is the best city to start a business, find a job, and raise a family.”

Governor Pat Quinn said that he would like to see science, technology, engineering, and math classes early in a child’s education.

“We want to emphasize STEM education for kids in grammar school, middle school, high school, community college, four-year university. We have to understand that’s the key to innovation in many places is have to have this stem education right from the early stages of school,” said the Governor, recipient of the Distinguished Innovator Award. “So I think it’s important that we come together tonight and celebrate innovation, celebrate stem education.”

Andrew Mason, co-founder and CEO of Groupon, was the keynote speaker. ❒

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