Inside The Innovator’s Mindset

XLR8HI Talk Story with Richard Tedlow Innovation Leadership

by Stefan Opsal

XLR8HI launched their speaker series in front of a filled space at Hālau ‘Īnana on September 26th (mahalo to Education Incubator for hosting us!). XLR8HI’s Talk Story featured Richard Tedlow, renowned historian, Harvard professor, and Silicon Valley insider. Living up to it’s name, the informal chat on leadership quickly evolved into an intimate discussion that engaged audience members to define what innovation means to them.

XLR8HI Speaker Series Talk Story Innovation Entrepreneurship

Omar Sultan, Managing Partner of Sultan Ventures, began the evening by highlighting four key resources that enable Hawaii residents to impact their communities via innovation and entrepreneurship. Omar discussed Sultan Ventures’ educational Internship Program, designed to help aspiring changemakers gain real world experience in the world of startups and venture capital. Sultan Ventures also produced The Startup Catalyst, the hit podcast series chronicling candid convos with a diverse lineup of industry leading founders and investors from the Hawaiian Islands and beyond. Lastly, Omar discussed the important role that knowledge transfer plays when it comes to fostering a culture of innovation, pointing out resources such as XLR8HI Business Workshops and Talk Story events.

XLR8HI Richard Tedlow Speaker Series Talk Story Innovation Entrepreneurship

As an acclaimed business historian, guest speaker Richard Tedlow explained how America rapidly expanded its territory from a collection of settlements on the East Coast to nearly 3 million square miles of rugged terrain spanning from sea to shining sea. It wasn’t due to a stroke of good fortune, rather to a group of leaders who continued to innovate and forge new trails.

XLR8HI Speaker Series Talk Story with Richard Tedlow Innovation Leadership Entrepreneurship

An expert on the past, Tedlow challenged the audience to examine the future. “How can Hawaii position itself to lead the next wave of innovation?” “What does leadership have to do with innovation?”. When it was all said and done, nearly a third of attendees got a chance to share their thoughts with Richard and engage in the unconference style discussion.

Key Takeaways:

• A leader can be anyone. A leader learns from their mistakes and uses that to guide others. A leader empathizes with their followers.

• An innovator is a problem solver. An innovator seeks to make positive improvements to their environment.  A true innovator is an empathetic leader.

• What Hawaii lacks in size it makes up in diversity – a mix of perspectives and cultures that intertwine to create a thriving community with a history of innovation and leadership. The question isn’t whether or not innovation can happen in Hawaii, it’s whether or not you will step up and help lead it.

XLR8HI Talk Story Speaker Series MIki Tomita Education Incubator Innovation Leadership Entrepreneurship


Mahalo to Richard Tedlow and again to Education Incubator for hosting us at Hālau ‘Īnana. Don’t miss our next speaker! Be the first to find out about our speaker series by signing up for our newsletter and following us on instagram and twitter.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the discussion, and for continuing the conversation in the community. See you at our next event!



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XLR8HI Talk Story