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Economist Conferences
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Press release

San Francisco, September 23rd 2003

The Economist celebrates innovation at the 2nd Annual Innovation
Awards and Summit in San Francisco

From drawing board to marketplace -- The Economist will recognise individuals driving the most financially successful innovations in Computing, Bioscience, Energy and the Environment, and Telecommunications

The Economist is hosting an event today honouring the innovative individuals and cultures that spawn corporate growth and transform our global economy. The Summit offers a rare opportunity to hear how the world’s most innovative minds translate ideas into financially successful products and practices.

The evening awards ceremony showcases four individuals responsible for industry altering breakthroughs in Computing, Bioscience, Energy and the Environment, and Telecommunications. A fifth award will be presented in a special “No Boundaries” category, observing innovation that transcends industries. Winners were selected by The Economist readers and an internationally renowned panel of judges, chaired by Nick Valéry, editor, The Economist Technology Quarterly.

“Tonight’s award recipients demonstrate a senior breed of innovators whose ideas have made the difficult transition from object of the mind into object of the market,” said Valéry. “These people have forever altered each of their respective fields and The Economist is proud to thank them for their contributions to personal and professional life around the globe.”

Candidate pools were started with recommendations from The Economist readers and writers and then completed by distinguished judges, nominating up to ten individuals for each award. The nominations and the eventual winners were evaluated against three consistent criterions: impact on an emerging branch of science and technology; effect on a marketplace or the creation of a new market; and impact on revenue of the sponsoring organisation.

The Economist recognises the following leaders for launching new markets and revolutionising the way business is done:

  • Bioscience, Magnetic Resonance Imaging: Raymond Damadian, President, Chairman, FONAR (NASDAQ: FONR) Corporation: Dr. Damadian first proposed the idea of a magnetic resonance scanner (MRI) in 1969 as an "external probe for the detection of internal cancer." In 1970, he made the seminal discovery that birthed MRI. The discovery, and its power to detect serious diseases like cancer, has been the basis for the making of every MRI image ever made and for the creation of the MRI industry. Dr. Damadian patented his discovery in 1972 and it was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1997. He went on to build the first MR scanner producing the first human image on July 3, 1977. Dr. Damadian scanned patients with cancer in 1978, the year he founded FONAR, which produced the world's first commercial MRI machine in 1980. Prior to Dr. Damadian's discovery, medical imaging technology lacked significant contrast to provide the exceptional image detail MRI pictures are known for today. Most recently, his company introduced the FONAR Stand-Up™ MRI, the only MRI in the world capable of imaging patients in weight-bearing positions, including standing, bending or sitting, as well as lying down. Capable of producing internal body images, MRI technology is credited with saving hundreds of thousands of lives by allowing doctors to diagnose everything from a herniated disk to a malignant tumor.

  • Computing, World Wide Web: Tim Berners-Lee, Director, W3C World Wide Web Consortium. The on-line experience as we know it was born in 1989, when Mr. Berners-Lee first proposed his global hypertext project. Later known as the World Wide Web, the ingenious concept allowed people to combine knowledge into a web of hypertext documents and forever altered the way information is shared. Today, over 580 million people go on-line every week.
  • Energy and the Environment, Hydrogen Fuel Cell: Geoffrey Ballard, Chairman, General Hydrogen. Dr Ballard’s pivotal role in the development of the modern fuel cell has led to international recognition as the “father of the hydrogen economy.” His work paved the way for automakers around the world to begin replacing internal combustion engines with fuel cell engines, producing pure water as their only emission and resulting in a cleaner, quieter, more efficient means of transportation. Although fuel cell engines are still many years from mass production in consumer vehicles, Dr Ballard’s company expects to begin replacing toxic lead-acid batteries with fuel cell engines in fork-lift trucks by 2006.
  • "No Boundaries”, Theories Which Eventually Led to Radio Frequency Spectrum Auctions and Tradable Emissions Permits: Ronald Coase, Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of Chicago Law School. As early as the 1930s, Economist Ronald Coase began developing radical new theories on business processes, transaction costs, and property rights. Over seventy years later, Mr. Coase's prophetic research and ideas have created new markets to trade the intangible. Coasian logic has blossomed into Radio Frequency Spectrum Auctions, which regulate the wireless communication market and Tradable Emissions Permits, which distribute the financial burdens of pollution among the polluters themselves, rather than on society. Coase's seminal work earned him the 1991 Nobel prize for Economics.
  • Telecommunications, Packet Switching: Paul Baran, Founder, The Institute for the Future. Packet Switching is the breaking up of large data chunks into smaller units and sending them in pieces. The technology inspired by Mr. Baran has evolved into the foundation for the Internet, making e-mail, ATM and interactive web pages possible.

The day long celebration of innovation, sponsored by Scottish Development International, Accenture, and Burson-Marsteller and developed in cooperation with Phocas Partners, opens with an Innovation Summit aimed at exploring the impetus for corporate innovation. A convergence of sparkling guest speakers, this year’s winners, and the writers of The Economist Technology Quarterly create an intellectual platform to share ideas, learn from others, a create new knowledge for the future of innovation. The entire event will be available on the Web through synchronized presentation of video, slides, graphics, charts, web demos and captions – provided by Vodium.


Media contact:
Tony Hynes
Burson-Marsteller for Economist Conferences
(415) 591-4072 direct

Notes to Editor:

About Economist Conferences
Economist Conferences is a leading provider of highly interactive meetings—including industry conferences, management events and government roundtables—for senior executives seeking new insights into important strategic issues. Participants exchange views and compare experiences with other decision-makers and with specialist speakers from relevant fields.

About Scottish Development International
Scottish Development International is a joint venture between the Scottish Executive and Scottish Enterprise. Its vision is to fully integrate Scotland's international economic development activities. Under the umbrella of ‘Smart Successful Scotland,’ the new strategy to make Scotland a key economic player in the 21st century, comes ‘The Global Connections’ strategy, reflecting the radical changes needed for Scotland to prosper in the new age of the knowledge economy. For more information on Scottish Development International, please visit the web site at

About Accenture
Accenture is a global management consulting and technology services company. Committed to delivering innovation, Accenture collaborates with its clients to help them realize their visions and create tangible value. With deep industry expertise, broad global resources and proven experience in consulting and outsourcing, Accenture can mobilize the right people, skills, alliances and technologies. With more than 80,000 people in 47 countries, the company generated net revenues of $11.6 billion for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2002. Its home page is

About Burson-Marsteller
Burson-Marsteller (, established in 1953, is a leading global public relations and communications counseling firm. It provides its clients with strategic thinking and program execution across a full range of public relations, public affairs, advertising and other communications services.
Burson-Marsteller, through its proprietary research, today leads the industry in its knowledge of and insights into the relationship between communications and the reputations of companies and their CEOs. These learnings are applied to the firm's many and varied corporate clients.
The firm has 72 offices in 32 countries, linking more than 1,600 professionals in a seamless global network and unified culture. In 1979, the firm joined the Young & Rubicam family of companies, which in October 2000 was acquired by WPP Group plc, one of the world's leading communications services groups.

Webcast provided by: Vodium
Vodium provides web-based delivery of interactive rich media presentations to audiences of 10 or 10,000. Key applications include online training, knowledge management, virtual conferences, and corporate communications. Vodium's software and services enable customers to create dynamic presentations that incorporate synchronized video, slides and text within a single interface. These multimedia presentations are then archived into a customized library, available anytime, anywhere over the Internet. For organizations, Vodium offers a powerful and cost-effective platform to reach larger audiences and achieve high impact communications, live or on demand. For the audience, Vodium presents an engaging viewing experience where searching through video is as easy as text. Vodium's customers span across Fortune 100 companies, Federal agencies and the educational sector. For more information, contact

About Phocas Partners
Phocas Partners ( creates content-rich event programming for organizations that engage and educate readers, customers, prospects, employees and business partners. Relying on journalistic principles and a customer-centric approach, Phocas Partners serves media outlets, conference companies, corporations and trade associations -- delivering event experiences that consistently exceed expectations. While its core mission is the production of content, Phocas Partners also provides audience acquisition, marketing, sales and logistics services.

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