Indianapolis, IN - Centric, Inc. announced the winners of the 2017 Indiana Innovation Awards. An executive panel of judges sorted and analyzed 48 finalists from this year's applicants to select just nine of Indiana's best new innovations.
Now in its seventh year, the Indiana Innovation Awards seek to recognize those individuals and organizations who are successfully leading the innovation charge in our state. Winning innovations were judged on how well it meets an unmet need in the market, how unique it is, what new value was created for the end user and what financial evidence or market acceptance information does the innovation have to support it.
Winners represent a cross-sector of Indiana industries including education, manufacturing, technology and more. The official 2017 Indiana Innovation Award winning innovations are:
Garden Party Botanical Hard Soda - DrinkGP, LLC (Indianapolis, IN)
Already a recipient of Beverage Industry magazine's 2016 Innovation of the Year award, Garden Party Botanical Hard Soda is revolutionizing the Flavored Malt Beverage (FMB) category in the adult beverage industry. They are achieving this by taking the same craft approach to FMBs that has already been applied to every other category in adult beverages. Garden Party's 100% all-natural ingredients, culinary inspired flavor profiles, and generous 8% alcohol content, along with their unique packaging and branding design set them apart.
Workforce Development Pipeline - Hillenbrand and Batesville Casket (Batesville, IN)
Manufacturing is a critical need workforce area in the state of Indiana. Currently, manufacturers across the state do not have enough employees to meet the production demand. Hillenbrand and Batesville Casket created a workforce development pipeline starting as early as 4 years old through college to grow their workforce locally. Hillenbrand established multiple programs within their community and have partnered with multiple institutions from the local school corporation, to Ivy Tech, to local non-profits and other businesses. Their programming was created to drive Hillenbrand's future workforce, but has also created a symbiotic relationship within the community.
Mimir Classroom - Mimir Corporation (Indianapolis, IN)
Mimir Classroom provides instructors with tools to efficiently teach computer science courses of any scale without compromising the quality of education for students. The platform currently supports 60 programming languages and is used by more than 70 universities. Mimir has already received significant industry recognition from Techpoint, Y Combinator, Thiel Fellowship, Forbes magazine and more. The company moved its headquarters to Indianapolis in 2017 and announced plans in July to add more than 100 jobs by 2021.
Fuzic - Fuzic, Inc. (Fishers, IN)
Launched in early 2017, Fuzic is redefining four-wall marketing, By combining fully-licensed music and professional voice talent into a software as a service (SaaS) platform, businesses can now effortlessly control customer engagement. Fuzic is already operating in over 300 location-based businesses where users set the tone for their retail spaces through access to an unprecedented music library of over 50,000 fully-licensed songs from 200 genres. Customized messaging, produced and recorded by the largest independent network of professional voice talent, is then fused between songs to give voice to a businesses' brand.
Beyond Spaceship Earth Interactive Exhibit - The Children's Museum of Indianapolis (Indianapolis)
"Beyond Spaceship Earth" is an immersive exhibit at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis that opened in June 2016. It tells the dynamic story of space exploration from NASA's Project Mercury program, which sent the first Americans into space, to the International Space Station (ISS). The exhibit experience provides opportunities for children and families to gain a deeper understanding of the many ways science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) contribute to our efforts to explore and understand what lies beyond our planet. "Beyond Spaceship Earth" received more than one million visitors between its opening in June 2016 and the end of June 2017 and has been featured extensively in local and national media.
TxJet - Indiana Donor Network (Indianapolis, IN)
Indiana Donor Network is one of 58 organ procurement organizations (known as "OPOs") in the United States. They are also the only OPO to operate its own aircraft. TxJet was launched in 2014 to decrease "cold" time on organs (the time between when the organ is recovered from the donor and when the organ is transplanted in the recipient) while also decreasing the expense associated with flying. As a result, Indiana Donor Network has become the go-to for organ aviation needs across the country. To date, TxJet has flown the equivalent of 20 trips around the earth and delivered nearly 625 lifesaving organs.
21st Century Charter School at Gary - The GEO Foundation (Gary and Indianapolis, IN)
21st Century Charter School at Gary is a free public charter school committed to ensure that all students show growth in character, academics, life skills, the arts, and wellness using teaching skills tailored to meet the needs of each student. It is one of a very few schools offering a Middle College program, which allows qualifying high school students to take real college courses for real college credit - and it's free of charge to students and their families. The program has spread outside the state of Indiana and is now also running in Colorado and Louisiana.
WorkHere Mobile App - WorkHere (Carmel, IN)
WorkHere is the first mobile job app that puts the full power of your smartphone or tablet to work finding nearby places to work. Its GPS-powered job search makes nearby opportunities easy to find. For a person making $15.00/hr, the cost of a 10-mile commute can consume up to 25% of their paycheck. By reducing a commute by just one mile, that person can save over $397/year. Over 120 employers in Indiana are using WorkHere to find staff and over 40,000 in the state's workforce are using it to find jobs.
Auto-Stackable 15L PET Bottles - Dow AgroSciences (Indianapolis, IN)
Dow AgroSciences developed a new agrochemical packaging system that features lighter weight, square PET bottles that are auto-stackable without the need for an outer cardboard box for transport. These ergonomically-designed bottles are up to 30 percent lighter-weight per liter than the currently-used HDPE jerry cans, reducing the carbon dioxide footprint by 20 percent per liter of product content over the bottle's lifecycle and eliminating up to 40 metric tons/year of corrugated paper. The innovation was named the 2016 Best Packaging Innovation by Agrow Awards and a Diamond Finalist Winner in the 2017 DuPont Awards for Packaging Innovation.
All 2017 Indiana Innovation Award winners will be celebrated at Centric's Day of Innovation conference on October 12 at Butler University. To learn more about the Indiana Innovation Awards, please visit centricindy.org/awards. To purchase tickets for Day of Innovation, please visit dayofinnovation.com.
Centric, Inc. is an Indianapolis-based nonprofit that Connects, Educates and Celebrates innovation-minded thinkers in an effort to improve the success rate of innovation in Indiana. Centric's mission is to increase recognition of Indiana as a global center of innovation by equipping individuals and organizations with the critical thinking skills and cultural frameworks needed to drive innovation forward. Centric fosters a community of individuals who are passionate about helping each other, their companies and their communities succeed. Learn more at centricindy.org.