Chicago 2009. Where discovery meets innovation. September 16-19, 2009. Chicago Sofitel Home Discovery 2009 Innovators' Summit Training Pricing & Registration Agenda Speakers Who Should Attend Special EventsAbstracts


We don’t have our full speaker lineup ready to announce, but we can give you a sneak peek at some of the headliners waiting for you at the Innovators’ Summit. Stay tuned for a full list of speakers.

Daniel Arneman

Daniel Arneman, Environmental Specialist, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Daniel Arneman is an Environmental Specialist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was hired in 2008 to measure the universityís carbon footprint and to help it achieve climate neutrality through renewable power, energy efficiency and sustainable transportation. Arneman holds degrees in biotechnology and physiology, but discovered a passion for environmental science late in his graduate career.

Stephen Baker

Stephen Baker, Author, The Numerati

Stephen Baker has written for BusinessWeek for more than 20 years, covering Mexico and Latin America, the Rust Belt, European technology, and a host of other topics, including blogs, math and nanotechnology. But he’s always considered himself a foreign correspondent – an approach that was especially useful as he met the Numerati. “While I came from the world of words, they inhabited the symbolic realms of math and computer science,” Baker says. “This was foreign to me. My reporting became an anthropological mission.” Baker has written for many publications, including the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, The (Caracas) Daily Journal and the El Paso Herald-Post. He won an Overseas Press Club Award for his portrait of the rising Mexican auto industry. He blogs at

Joel Best

Joel Best, Author, Stat-Spotting: A Field Guide to Identifying Dubious Data

Joel Best is Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice at the University of Delaware. He has written widely about the importance of statistical literacy. He is the author of many books, including Stat-Spotting: A Field Guide to Identifying Dubious Data, Social Problems, Flavor of the Month: Why Smart People Fall for Fads, Damned Lies and Statistics, and More Damned Lies and Statistics. Bestís research focuses on deviance and social problems. He is a former President of the Midwest Sociological Society and the Society for the Study of Social Problems, and a former Editor of the journal Social Problems. Best received masterís and doctorate degrees in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley, as well as a masterís degree in history from the University of Minnesota.

Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell, Author, Outliers

Malcolm Gladwell has an incomparable gift for interpreting new ideas in the social sciences and making them understandable, practical and valuable to business and general audiences alike. He’s become so successful at this that, in 2005, Time Magazine named Malcolm one of its 100 Most Influential People. Gladwell's most recent book promises to have an even greater impact on both business and society than his first two books. In Outliers: The Story of Success, Gladwell suggests an exciting new approach to helping people succeed by using the factors that really foster success. Outliers debuted as a #1 bestseller for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The San Francisco Chronicle, Barnes & Noble and Publisher's Weekly.

He is the author of two other New York Times #1 bestsellers—The Tipping Point and Blink. With his first book Gladwell embedded the concept of “the tipping point” in our everyday vocabulary and gave organizations new tools for understanding how trends work. In Blink he analyzed first impressions—the snap judgments that we all make unconsciously and instinctively—and he explores how we can master this important aspect of successful decision-making.

Gladwell is a staff writer for the New Yorker magazine. His editor describes his work as a new genre of story, an idea-driven narrative that’s focused on the everyday and combines research with material that’s more personal, social and historical. He was previously a reporter for the Washington Post.

Sig Mejdal

Sig Mejdal, Analyst, St. Louis Cardinals

Sig Mejdal has been working as a Senior Quantitative Analyst for the St. Louis Cardinals since opening day of 2005. He provides analysis, player projections and data-driven decision making for the General Manager’s office. Mejdal’s work is used for the amateur draft, and both the minor and major leagues. While his baseball playing career ended in Little League, he has had an almost unhealthy interest in baseball research ever since. This led him on a quest to become one of the few "quants" within baseball’s front offices. Mejdal has degrees in Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering, and Masters in Industrial Engineering and Human Factors Engineering, and has worked both as a Travel Writer and a NASA sleep researcher.

Dan Obermiller

Daniel Obermiller, Six Sigma Technology Leader, The Dow Chemical Co.

Daniel Obermiller is a Six Sigma Technology Leader for The Dow Chemical Co. He has been with Dow since 1990 holding a variety of positions. He has been a consulting statistician for the entire company and has had stints focused on supporting R&D, consumer products, and emulsion polymers. Obermiller has been the statistical software contact for Dow since joining the company. Specifically, he has been the JMP Product Manager for Dow since 1992 and was responsible for JMP being named Dow’s global statistical software standard in 1998. He has also co-written a JMP companion guide for Statistical Methods for Engineers by Geoff Vining.

Obermiller has been involved with Dow’s Six Sigma effort since its inception in 1999, starting as a Master Black Belt before becoming a Technology Leader for Six Sigma. He has coached over 200 successful projects and certified over 150 Green Belts and Black Belts. His efforts in Six Sigma have helped Dow deliver over $1 billion yearly in Six Sigma savings.

Obermiller received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from John Carroll University in Cleveland, and a master’s of applied statistics from The Ohio State University in Columbus, OH.

John Sall

John Sall, Co-Founder and Executive Vice President, SAS

John Sall is a co-founder and Executive Vice President of SAS, the world's largest privately held software company. He also leads the JMP business division, which creates interactive and highly visual data analysis software for the desktop.
Sall joined Jim Goodnight and two others in 1976 to establish SAS. He designed, developed and documented many of the earliest analytical procedures for Base SAS® software and was the initial author of SAS/ETS® software and SAS/IML®. He also led the R&D effort that produced SAS/OR®, SAS/QC® and Version 6 of Base SAS.

In the late 1980s, Sall noticed a niche that SAS software was not filling. Researchers and engineers – whose jobs didn't revolve solely around statistical analysis – needed an easy-to-use and affordable stats program. A new software product, today known as JMP®, was launched in 1989 to dynamically link statistical analysis with the graphical capabilities of Macintosh computers. Now running on all platforms, JMP continues to play an important role in modeling processes across industries as a desktop data visualization tool. It also provides a visual interface to SAS in an expanding line of solutions that includes SAS Visual BI and SAS Visual Data Discovery. Sall remains the lead architect for JMP.

Sall was elected a Fellow of the American Statistical Association in 1998 and has held several positions in the association's Statistical Computing section. He serves on the board of The Nature Conservancy, reflecting his strong interest in international conservation and environmental issues. He also is a member of the North Carolina State University (NCSU) Board of Trustees. In 1997, Sall and his wife, Ginger, contributed to the founding of Cary Academy, an independent college preparatory day school for students in grades 6 through 12.

Sall received a bachelor's degree in history from Beloit College in Beloit, WI, and a master's degree in economics from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL. He studied graduate-level statistics at NCSU, which awarded him an honorary doctorate in 2003.

Michael Schrage

Michael Schrage, Researcher, MIT

Michael Schrage is one of the world’s leading experts on the economics of innovation. He helps companies worldwide design innovation processes that maximize return on investment by managing the links between innovation, the supply chain and the customer cost-effectively. Schrage is a research associate at MIT Media Lab and author of the groundbreaking book, Serious Play: How the World’s Best Companies Simulate to Innovate (Harvard Business School Press, 2000).

He lectures and consults on these themes at several MIT executive education programs, overseas business schools and corporate workshops worldwide, showing audiences how to become more innovative and control costs without jeopardizing either their internal culture or their business model. Schrage’s been a Merrill Lynch Forum Innovation Fellow and executive director of the Merrill Lynch Innovation Grants Competition.

Schrage’s book, Serious Play, remains a bestseller for the Harvard Business School Press, and has been translated into more than seven languages. It describes the kind of environment that cultivates innovation and discusses how the most successful innovation companies use simulations, prototypes and models to permanently changed the way we do business.

Schrage also authored the critically acclaimed Shared Minds: The New Technologies of Collaboration (Random House 1990), the first book to explore both the tools and dynamics of successful collaboration in business, science and the arts. Both Serious Play and Shared Minds have been adopted as standard business school and undergraduate texts.