The Innovation Issue

Meet creative Richmonders trying to change the world.

Search online and there are many definitions for innovation.

Some sound kind of blah, like the ones written with a rambling, dead-inside corporate lingo. So I looked at the basic Webster’s definition, which was simple.

“The introduction of something new,” it read.

That’s kind of broad. Next, I reached out to Richard Wintsch, executive director of Startup Virginia, a nonprofit that champions high-growth startups.

“Innovation to me is the ability to execute new ideas into a process, product or service,” he says, adding that he is inspired by innovation in Richmond every day, including the creative work from our local schools and universities, improved processes and innovative content employers. “And in our case, current and aspiring founders who find an idea and then work tirelessly to translate that idea into a good or service that a potential customer is willing to pay for.”

Asked what he looks for in an innovative idea, Wintsch points to “whether the business’ value proposition and the customer discovery work has been done to prove that idea.” Makes sense considering his organization works to help its members gain paying customers and increase scale at the same time.

When we decided to publish an innovation issue at Style, our first thought was to be open-minded about it. That means including all kinds of innovative people, organizations and concepts, big and small. Ideally, these would be ideas that fascinated us, or made us wonder why the thing hadn’t caught on more widely.

We found people with ideas to help the parents of children on the autism spectrum, to reduce waste through solar technology and analytics, to provide insurance to outdoor adventurers and to help restaurants and local nonprofits not only grow but thrive.

In an information economy, innovation is power. There are many innovators in Richmond with creative ideas they hope will change the world.

Sometimes it’s just a matter of getting noticed.

Mike Scelzi
Founder and chief executive of Wala


Dr. J. Randy Frederick and Rachel Featherstone
Medical director and nurse practitioner at Alchemy Wellness

Babylon Micro-Farms
With modular hydroponic units managed by a mobile app, chefs can grow fresh produce on-site.

Racial Equity Dinner
Duron Chavis, director of Happily Natural Day

Patrick Hull and Jeff Palumbo
Co-founders of NPO Launchpad

Mac Beaton
Director of career and technical education, Henrico County Public Schools

Austin Green
Executive Director of Hatch Kitchen RVA

Jeff Beck
Co-founder of AnswersNow

Bruno Welsh
Founder of Compost RVA

Charles Merritt
Co-Founder of Buddy insurance


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