Building an Innovation Ecosystem


The Innovation Ecosystem is the internal structure versus, open innovation as an external system. Learn the components of the internal ecosystem. Learn how encouraging growth in creativity, taking risks and innovating forward can make a significant impact on an organizations innovation.



IAOIP Board of Directors

Dr. Abram Walton is a global leader, author, and consultant in Innovation. He is a Co-Founder of the International Association of Innovation Professionals and is the Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Innovation Science. He is a prolific author and has produced over 100 publications, technical papers, and conference proceedings, and his textbooks on Leadership and Management have sold over 15,000 copies. His corporate innovation efforts and grantsmanship has yielded over $27mm in funded research and gifts to universities. He is the Director of the Center for Lifecycle and Innovation Management at Florida Tech, and was formerly also the Director for the Center for Ethics and Leadership.

He is a Professor of Management and Innovation at Florida Tech, specializing in Technology and Innovation. In addition to his academic pursuits, he serves as the Chairman of the Innovation Council and on the Executive Board of Directors for the Space Coast Economic Development Commission. He is a Senior Partner of a management consulting and technology commercialization firm. He has recently been a Fellow for the National Intellectual Property and Knowledge Management Task force and serves as a consultant for an Intellectual Property and Patent Management Organization (PMO). He frequently consults and speaks regularly on a variety of topics, including leadership, lean process improvement, six sigma, innovation strategies, technology commercialization, product lifecycle management, and new product development. He has successfully helped launch several new technology ventures and works with companies on new product development, early-stage technology commercialization efforts, and human capital management.


Founder & CEO, Startgrid

Peter Gardner has been in the innovation market for over 20 years, initially as a venture capital investor helping early stage entrepreneurs build their businesses. More recently Peter founded Startgrid, a company focused on connecting entrepreneurs and enterprises to bring innovation to life and build strategic value. Startgrid’s platform is used by some of the world’s largest enterprises to manage how they connect with global innovators and deliver solutions to internal product and R&D teams.

Peter sits on the Advisory Board of the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University. He has a BS from Tufts University and an MBA from UCLA.



US Small Business Administration Office of Investment & Innovation

G. Nagesh Rao serves as Chief Technologist & Entrepreneur in Residence with the US Small Business Administration’s Office of Investment & Innovation. His portfolio of work includes advising senior leadership around the SBIR/STTR programs, leading the SBA Growth Accelerator program and Co-Leading Coordination of the Fueling Small Business Innovation Interagency Policy Committee for the White House’s Lab to Market Commercialization Agenda. As well handle all things “techie” and “nerd-related”.

Over the last 15 years, Nagesh has been afforded the privilege to work and/or consult with numerous organizations in the public, private, and not for profit space, which culminated in his helping create programmatic endeavors such as i6 Green, FLoW, Patents for Humanity, VT-Arc Additive Manufacturing Prize Challenge, and SBA Growth Accelerator Competition. Nagesh’s musings (written and oratorical) have been featured and/or quoted via TechCrunch, WAMC-NPR, The Scientist, The National Academies, MIT XPrize Lab, Stanford d-School, The Hill, FedTech Magazine, DC Inno, DC, NextGov, Daily Mirror (Sri Lankan version), Financial Times (Sri Lankan version), and The Courier-Journal.

His credentials include a MBA (Global Strategy and Entrepreneurship) from the University of Maryland-College Park, a MSc in Legal Studies-Intellectual Property Law from Albany Law School, a BSc dual-major in Materials Engineering and Philosophy from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a Patent Bar License from the USPTO (Registration Number: 69006). Nagesh is a former Mirzayan Fellow of The National Academies and a 2016 USA Eisenhower Fellow where he embarked on travels to Vietnam and Sri Lanka engaging in cutting edge endeavors with senior leaders from the private, public, and ngo sectors in those two countries. Among many accolades that Nagesh has received over the years, prominent ones include the Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Samman & Hind Rattan awards from the NRI Welfare Society, and the Scott McKay Commencement Prize & Alumni Key Awards from his undergraduate alma mater.


Brian Buckley has a diverse engineering and business background having co-founding an engineering startup specializing in applied Artificial Intelligence products for the Satellite Command and Control marketplace. Mr. Buckley was involved in the development of mission critical embedded systems, workstations class systems, visualization tools, and Automated Machine Learning tools for population of the AI engine. Mr. Buckley held many roles at Interface & Control Systems from startup thru acquisition 20 years later. ICS was ultimately acquired by a 7,200 person company in 2008. Mr. Buckley was retained under an employment contract as SRA’s Director of the Space Systems Division.

For 4 years, Mr. Buckley worked as the Lead Software Quality Engineer and a Cyber Security Leader at GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy. Mr. Buckley is a subject matter expert in software development techniques, software quality assurance, configuration management, and Cyber Security. Mr. Buckley also represented GE-Hitachi as a member of the ASME NQA-1 Software Standards Subcommittee.

Since February 2016, Mr. Buckley has been the Alstom Freight and Mining Platform Development Director. Mr. Buckley and his team of 110 engineers are responsible for developing products for a variety of Alstom railway signaling solutions. In November 2015, GE Transportation signally group was sold and became Alstom Transport – Freight & Mining. Mr. Buckley’s challenge has been to take this group of former GE Transportation staff and chart a course for new product offerings and evolution of current products. Mr. Buckley has put an emphasis on Innovation and Entrepreneurship to drive his product development team to work more like a lean startup rather than a 375,000 person company.To accomplish this, Mr. Buckley has launched a cultural change initiative to challenge and empower his staff to act faster & leaner with no compromise on quality or safety.New hardware and software tools will be applied to give more control over development; to foster higher levels of software and hardware reuse; all with the ultimate goal of increasing the operational velocity of the business. Our next challenge is the Siemens-Alstom merger at the end of 2018.