AOL co-founder on innovation at U of L

Ride the wave

The next wave of innovation is coming — and the University of Louisville is ready to ride it. 

That was a big takeaway from an Innovation Showcase at U of L's Institute for Product Realization. Serial entrepreneur and America Online co-founder Steve Case, author of "The Third Wave," spoke as part of a day-long tour of innovation. 

Case cited FirstBuild, an on-campus makerspace and micro factory backed by GE Appliances, as a model for public-private partnerships that could spur innovation. FirstBuild products are crowdsourced and crowdfunded, reducing time and cost for development and ensuring customer demand. 

“Products are going from idea to a reality in less than six months,” he said. “And that’s exactly the kind of pace of innovation and agility and speed that’s necessary to win in the future.” 

Even aside from FirstBuild, U of L provides the expertise, facilities and trained workforce needed to fuel innovation in the community. It’s also located in a city with natural and ever-growing strengths in advanced manufacturing, science and logistics. 

“Here at the University of Louisville, we’re evolving this innovation ecosystem — and an innovation ecosystem is an evolution,” said David Adams, CEO of the Institute for Product Realization. “We are the epicenter of manufacturing, technology and innovation — a true maker community.”

We are the epicenter of manufacturing, technology and innovation — a true maker community.
— David Adams, CEO of the Institute for Product Realization at U of L