The Age of Innovation

by Jan Wright, Publisher

It’s a New Year… and what better time to focus on the topic of innovation? This is the first issue of iBi to incorporate “augmented reality,” and though I was initially skeptical, I have to admit it’s rather interesting to look inside the head of Dr. John Vozenilek, vice president and chief medical officer for simulation at the Jump Trading Simulation & Education Center, as we can with this issue’s cover image.

Augmented reality (AR) presents a digital layer of information on top of the “real world” when viewed through the camera of a smartphone. Thus, we can point our phones at “Dr. Voz” and view a three-dimensional video obtained from an MRI scan of his brain. In addition, two advertisers—Midstate College and Pediatric Resource Center—opted to incorporate the technology into their print ads.

While I’ve seen AR in national magazines, we had never tried it. When OneFire approached us about incorporating AR into this issue, we decided to give it a test run. After all, innovation involves taking a chance—and risking potential failure. “Failure isn’t frowned upon—it’s actually kind of encouraged,” notes Kate Green of Peoria’s innovation team. “It means you’re out there… trying something different and new and bold.”

There are only a handful of examples of AR in this issue, but we hope it helps you envision the possibilities. It’s an experiment—so let us know what you think at!

Just as new technology (AR) builds on top of the old (print), we see old buildings in Peoria’s Warehouse District repurposed with lightning-speed internet service. Meanwhile, Caterpillar, Jump, the Ag Lab, the College of Medicine, our major hospitals and other organizations are remaking themselves to accommodate this age of innovation. One emerging concept is the “Innovation District,” a dynamic, synergistic environment for collaboration.

  • As we move into the New Year with innovation on our minds, I’ve created my own wish list for 2016:
  • That our governmental entities—federal, state and local—set aside their differences and find ways to work together;
  • That new apartments rise from vacant land in Peoria’s Downtown/Warehouse District;
  • That developers are allowed to rehab old buildings without red tape and onerous restrictions;
  • That Caterpillar breaks ground on its new headquarters; and
  • That we continue to see young entrepreneurs turn their innovative ideas into new businesses.

Happy New Year, everyone! iBi