Interview: Linda Henry, Co-Founder of HUBweek


Linda Henry wears many hats in Greater Boston, from her work as Managing Director at The Boston Globe to heading up the John W. Henry Family Foundation. In her capacity as co-founder of the HUBweek festival, she has been a thought leader and convener of diverse organizations, all coming together to celebrate the big ideas, innovative solutions, and creativity of Greater Boston. We were honored and thrilled to interview Linda about HUBweek, what it means to her, and her aspirations for the festival moving forward.

How would you describe your role in HUBweek?

I am a co-founder of HUBweek, a partnership between The Boston Globe, Harvard University, Massachusetts General Hospital, and MIT; I am also proud to serve as the chair of the HUBweek Executive Committee.  This role has given me the opportunity to help facilitate and convene conversations among a wide spectrum of businesses, including academic and healthcare institutions, non-profits and community groups, and cultural organizations.


What was your inspiration for HUBweek?

The inspiration for HUBweek came during a conversation with several venture capitalists who expressed concern that while Boston and Cambridge attract some of the best and brightest students out there, there is trouble retaining them and the new startup companies they create upon graduation.   The startups and graduates are often lured to other cities or to the West Coast during their junior and senior years for internships at major corporations and startups that offer unique perks and opportunities. We, as a community, do not do enough to boast about and promote all that this vibrant and thriving city has to offer — it stands at the forefront of American history; it has world renowned medical, educational, and cultural institutions; it has champion sports franchises and it has a reputation as a leader in biomed, life sciences, innovation and technology. Boston needs to proclaim its greatness.

We are well positioned to be a leader in this next great wave of the digital revolution. There is a unique confluence of art, science, and technology that is colliding here to create the future. The innovations created here are exported to the world. We need to tell our story, collaborate, and invite more ideas in to strengthen, grow, and continue to make progress.


ILLUMINUS | Free nighttime festival on October 10th:

What do you hope HUBweek will do for Boston? 

It is my hope — and that of the HUBweek founders — that we will have the opportunity to showcase and spark innovation, ideas, progress, and solutions for the future. By promoting the art, science, and technology that is here, we will strengthen it for the future. People who work in these fields or who are building companies with these areas of expertise will be inspired by and help further the exciting work being done here.

During the multitude of events, conversations will be generated among a wide and diverse audience that might not have connected without HUBweek; collaborations and partnerships will be created between the old guard and up-and-coming trendsetters;  HUBweek offers us the chance to celebrate Boston and everything this great city has to offer — and to create meaningful connections across different industries, neighborhoods and institutions.


What role do you see companies and institutions playing in HUBweek?

About half of HUBweek’s 80+ events have been built by our collaborators — a community of organizations, non-profits, startups, community organizers, and artists.  There is an amazing intellectual energy amongst this group, dedicated to showcasing the work they are doing in the community and for the world; HUBweek presents opportunities to create meaningful connections — to pull back the curtain on the work that is happening here — working together to change the narrative of our city.  And there are a number of opportunities for those companies and institutions to benefit from what’s happening:

  • Opportunities to showcase mission, work force, talents, goals;
  •  Opportunities to celebrate accomplishments — to brainstorm ideas and solutions;
  •  Opportunities to facilitate conversations between companies and institutions and smaller non-profits, startups, and community groups

How can people get involved in HUBweek? 

First and foremost, they can attend an event. If what we’re trying to do sounds interesting, then come be a part of it.

If you really want to be a part of what we’re building, you can be a HUBweek ambassador or volunteer and help us make this all happen.  You can get more info on our website,, or send us a note at

There are a limited number of sponsorship opportunities still available for 2015. While we are not adding any more events this year, we also  look forward to welcoming more companies and collaborators into HUBweek 2016.

How do you see HUBweek’s future after Oct 10th?

Ideally, people are walking away from HUBweek with inspiration — a spark, an idea, a question — and feeling connected to what is happening in our region.  We want to build on that inspiration and connection for HUBweek 2016.

Our vision moving forward from October 10th is that Boston and Cambridge become the place where anyone can come to solve problems — big and small.  HUBweek will continue to evolve over time.  We expect to learn from our successes and incorporate feedback on how we can do better during this inaugural year.  We expect to build off the energy that has been created.  We want to create a feeling that something big happened in October, and we want to create a desire for more, bigger, better for HUBweek 2016.

Microsoft New England Picks: 5 Not-To-Miss Events This Week


Don’t let the rainy start to the week slow you down!  Here are our top picks for this week.

Tuesday, June 2: 8am – 10am
@ Microsoft New England | 1 Memorial Drive | Cambridge, MA 
Twitter: @techbreakfast

Based on the popular TechBreakfast format, the Boston TechBreakfast is a “show and tell” format event where up to five different technologists will demo their technologies from a wide range of industries ranging from software to hardware, IT to Biotech, robotics to space tech. The event is “triple agnostic”. We don’t care if the technology is from a start up, a large company, a university, a government agency, or someone’s hobby. We are also agnostic as to the industry of the tech – it could be IT, biotech, robotics, aerospace, materials sciences, anything tech and innovative is cool. And we’re also region agnostic – even if you’re not from where we’re hosting, we want to see you and your technology!

civic media dayBoston Civic Media Twitter Chat
Tuesday, June 2: 1pm – 2pm
Twitter: @CivicMediaProj | #civicmediachat

In preparation for and in conjunction with the upcoming Boston Civic Media: Metrics and Methods meeting, we’ll be hosting a Twitter chat on June 2nd at 1pm!
This will be a fantastic opportunity to begin the conversation and to connect with others doing civic media research.
@CivicMediaProj will be tweeting out questions including “How do you continue to keep the subjects (communities) engaged after the project is finished? What do you owe them?” and “What is the interplay between quantitative and qualitative methods? How do you determine the best fit?”  Be sure to include #civicmediachat in your tweets to be part of the conversation!


Whitehead-Institute-LogoWhitehead Connects with Amy Schulman: “How to Cross the Street: Lessons I’ve Learned from a Noisy Intersection”
Tuesday, June 2: 5:30pm – 7:30pm
@ McGovern Auditorium | 9 Cambridge Center | Cambridge, MA 
Twitter: @WhiteheadInst

Whitehead Connects is an initiative that brings renowned biology and biotech leaders to Whitehead Institute for an engaging presentation and dynamic networking opportunity for participants.  Following the free, public lecture, participants will have the opportunity to meet Whitehead postdoctoral fellows and learn about their latest discoveries.

417323_10150669099006730_1856349906_nPersonal Democracy Forum 2015
Thursday, June 4 – Friday, June 5th
@ NYU Skirball Center | 566 LaGuardia Place | New York City

Since 2004, Personal Democracy Media has helped nurture a world-wide conversation about technology’s impact on government and politics, and society – providing a place to meet the people who are making that change happen, discover the tools powering the new civic conversation, spot the early trends, and to share in understanding and embracing this dynamic new force. Many of those who are challenging the status quo, learned what they know, or found people to collaborate with, by being a part of Personal Democracy Media.

civic hackingNational Day of Civic Hacking
Saturday, June 6 – Sunday, June 7th
@ Various Locations 
Twitter: #hackforchange

On June 6, 2015, thousands of people from across the United States will come together for National Day of Civic Hacking. The event will bring together urbanists, civic hackers, government staff, developers, designers, community organizers and anyone with the passion to make their city better. They will collaboratively build new solutions using publicly-released data, technology, and design processes to improve our communities and the governments that serve them. Anyone can participate; you don’t have to be an expert in technology, you just have to care about your neighborhood and community.




Citizinvestor funds PB projects in the community


As civic innovation grows throughout the Boston area, participatory budgeting is an excellent example of how technology can improve government transparency and quite literally engage citizens in an online process to determine how a city’s budget is spent.  As defined by Wikipedia, participatory budgeting (PB) is a process of democratic deliberation and decision-making, and a type of participatory democracy, in which ordinary people decide how to allocate part of a municipal or public budget. Participatory budgeting allows citizens to identify, discuss, and prioritize public spending projects, and gives them the power to make real decisions about how money is spent. When PB is taken seriously and is based on mutual trust local governments and citizen can benefit equally. In some cases PB even raised people’s willingness to pay taxes.

I’ve observed successful participatory budgeting processes in Chicago, Boston, Somerville and recently Central Falls in Rhode Island.  The entire process was powered by a Microsoft partner: Citizenvestor.  (Great name too, right?).  I recently sat down with Tony DeSisto, Co-founder of Citizinvestor to learn more about the company and their work in participatory budgeting.  Our conversation is summarized below.

  1.       What is Participatory budgeting?

We funded this project in Boston in 2012, it was our first successfully funded project on the site. We also built the participatory budgeting site for last year’s Youth Lead the Change program in the City. We funded two projects in San Mateo County in 2013: 3 Months of Bicycle Sunday and Restore the Thornmint . We did a number of projects around Chicago, including our largest to date, Spirit of the American Navy, but nothing with the City of Chicago.  I would categorize what we do, civic crowdfunding, as one of the new and innovative funding methods, like participatory budgeting, that democratizes the budget process and allows people to invest in their community.

  1.       Tell us about a successful (local) project?

One local project that we love to highlight is Central Falls, Rhode Island. This is a small one-square mile city that went bankrupt in 2010 and elected a 26 year old Mayor in 2012 to help bring the City back. We were one of their first partners and helped them fund permanent trash cans and recycle bins for their main park. The project had arisen after the Mayor met with middle school students who equated the trash in the park with a lower sense of self worth and lack of pride in the City. Not only were the funds raised, but during the project, a cleanup was organized through the site and over 100 people showed up. Central Falls is now a customer for our new product, Citizinvestor Connect, a custom white label site for civic engagement and crowdfunding. Here are two stories about the project, Boston Globe and CNBC.

  1.       How does Citizinvestor help?

Citizinvestor helps by providing a platform and the tools necessary for our local government partners to successfully raise the funds they need. We also provide a best practices guide and some templates to help them with the marketing of their project. Our Connect product not only helps our partners raise funds, but also emphasizes input from the community and increases engagement.

  1.       How can technology help drive civic engagement?

Technology is a key component in driving engagement. Today more than ever people have the tools and forums to let their voice be heard and participate in the decision-making and governing process.

For more information about Citizinvestor, visit their website or on Twitter at @citizinvestor.

Join the ever-growing community of Kendall Square!

Join the ever-growing community of Kendall Square!

What’s next for Kendall Square after its amazing 5-year run? Scott Kirsner, BostonGlobe columnist, BetaBoston blogger, and editor of InnoLead asks this question in his most recent piece for BetaBoston. In the article, he discusses the exponential growth of the Kendall Square area in the past 5 years, from tech moguls to internet commerce, social media firms and startups dominating the area.

We established our presence here in Kendall Square here in 2007.  We now have nearly 800 employees in two, separate offices, and nearly 900 employees in Massachusetts, including our store locations.

We are proud to be part of this ever-growing community and are always looking for more innovators to join our team. Think you can make a difference in the next five years? We invite you to take a look at our job openings and help us make an impact in Kendall Square and beyond.

Read Scott’s piece in the Boston Globe here.

Microsoft New England Picks: 4 Not-To-Miss Events This Week

Microsoft New England Picks: 4 Not-To-Miss Events This WeekIt’s (un)officially summer! Join us for these cool events as the weather heats up!

bvMotion Tracking for Medical VR with Polhemus
Wednesday, May 27: 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
@ Venture Cafe | 1 Broadway | Cambridge, MA
Twitter: @BostonVRMeetup

Motion tracking technology allows the position of real world objects, including you, to be represented in virtual worlds. Precisely registering the position and orientation of your head, body, limbs and even fingers gives you a sense of self called proprioception that is key to making your mind believe that your body is present in another place. Motion tracking is also key for VR because it allows one to naturally move through and interact with virtual worlds in the same manner that you do in the real world. This month, Boston VR Meetup focuses on healthcare applications for precise tracking technology for training surgeons.

unnamed (1)KSA Lunch & Learn: Good News on Transportation
Thursday, May 28: 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
@ KSA Office | 510 Kendall Street | Cambridge, MA 
Twitter: @kendallnow

Kendall Square continues to be the epicenter of innovation and success, as evidenced in the highlights below to be discussed by City of Cambridge and Cambridge Redevelopment Authority staff.

  • The paradox of good development: more people and less traffic: 20 years of the Kendall Square Annual Traffic Report
  • It’s obvious that more and more people are choosing to get around by pedaling – but how many more?  The new Eco Totem will provide real-time data, 24/7
  • Bike to the Future: what’s envisioned for making our streets available to all: The Cambridge Bicycle Network Plan & some highlights for Kendall Square
  • Kendall Square Eco District and Transportation
  • Update on Kendall Square Mobility Task Force

The format will include a brief presentation with a question and answer period to follow.

onein3GA + ONEin3 Present: Creating a Culture of Innovation – How Boston’s Biggest Brands Are Staying Entrepreneurial
Thursday, May 28: 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

@ GA Boston | 51 Melcher Street | Boston, MA 
Twitter:  @GA_boston | @ONEin3

Some of Boston’s biggest companies are playing in the innovation space and making some big waves. Working for an entrepreneurial and creative organization doesn’t have to mean working for a startup – many large institutions value new ideas and are doing cool things right here in Boston.

Learn from the people inside these institutions who are leading the charge and pick up some tips on cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset in your career.

Join in for an interactive panel discussion with plenty of time for networking over drinks with fellow young leaders in Boston.

unnamedOpen Data Sci Con
Saturday, May 30 – Sunday, May 31st
@ Boston Convention Center | 415 Summer Street | Boston, MA
Twitter: @OpenDataSci

The Open Data Science Conference brings together the most influential practitioners, innovators, and thought leaders in the open source and data science fields in an effort to encourage the development and use of open source in data science.

Girls from New England head to Technovation Finals

technovation-logo-300x137On the first Friday in May, Microsoft was packed with girls. Yes, GIRLS! The 10th floor was filled to capacity with young women interested in technology and proud to show off the amazing apps they developed for a national competition called Technovation. I was honored serve among a truly stellar panel of judges:  Julia Austin (formerly Akamai), Kara Shurmantine (MassChallenge), Tracy Rosenthal-Newsom, (formerly Harmonix) and Pamela Aldsworth (Silicon Valley Bank).

Rachel Nicoll of Mass Tech Leadership Council’s Education Foundation shared that some of our finalists will be heading to California to pitch in the Technovation Finals for the chance to win $10,000!  She sat down to answer a few questions about Technovation and the interview is included below.

Share Technovation with a young woman you know today!

  1. What is Technovation?

Technovation is an international program that teaches mobile app development, entrepreneurship, and community engagement. High school and middle school female students work in teams of up to 5 to develop mobile apps to solve a problem in their local community. Teams work with a classroom teacher or coach at their school and a female mentor/role model as project manager from the technology or related industry. The program is free and open to all girls age 10-18 with any level of experience (“beginners welcome”).

  1. What kind of participation did we see from Massachusetts?

There were 40 teams from 18 schools signed up at the start of the season; 28 teams finished. A bit of attrition is normal, but the numerous blizzards and school closings really hit the teams hard. We are looking at ways to address the Technovation schedule and get the students in “Technovation-mode” earlier so this is less of an issue in the future. Let’s get 40 to finish next year!

  1. Tell us about the apps that won the MA regional competition.

Five teams  – 4 high school and 1 middle school – from the Massachusetts Regional Showcase progressed to the Semifinal round. There are 18 teams representing US/Canada at the high school level – our 4 Massachusetts teams represent almost 1/4 of that region!

AMEKA (Winchester High School) addresses the issue of impaired driving via their Safe Guard Driving app. Through a series of tests, users can ascertain whether or not their vision, reaction times, balance & cognitive ability are impaired or not. In the future, the app has the potential to be connected to ignition interlock technologies if partnered with an automobile company.

Seventh (Phillips Academy) created The Pack: Safety in Numbers, a comprehensive safety app intended for teenagers and young adults that addresses the problems of sexual assault, hazing, and substance abuse in unfamiliar situations. The Pack is an expanded, digitized version of the time tested buddy system, including a friend-compass and check-in code among its features.

Techtonic’s (Winchester High School) application, ENKI, is intended to serve as a bridge between members of the school community. Teachers are able to post assignments, students are able to communicate with their peers and advisors, users can interact with teachers and classmates using the messaging capabilities, and all users receive automatic updates. Students are able to interact with their peers as well as interact with their teachers in a scholastic environment. The academic atmosphere of ENKI ensures that these communications will solely be scholarly.

WoCo (Phillips Academy) designed PraisePop as an interactive, social, and positive way to engage with the community. Too often people feel alone, excluded and unacknowledged due to negativity; PraisePop counteracts this by providing a method to spread positivity and inclusivity in communities by anonymously sharing uplifting posts.

Appily Ever After (Blake Middle School) created OpportuniTeens to connect non-profit organizations with teen volunteers. Using this app, teens can fulfill volunteer opportunities within local communities, organizations have a place to spread the word about these opportunities, and high school students can acquire community service hours to graduate.

  1. What’s next for the Technovation competitors?

Two of the MA semifinalists, AMEKA and WoCo, have been selected for the World Pitch Event in San Francisco on June 24th. They will pitch their apps live in front of a panel of judges at Yelp’s headquarters, competing against 4 other teams in the high school division for the top prize of $10,000.

Last year’s regional winning team, SKARA, competed in the Boston TechJam Pitch Contest and came in 2nd. They got a lot of great exposure and Constant Contact’s Small Business Innoloft hosted them over the summer to continue to work on their app. I wouldn’t be surprised if a Technovation team or two pop up on the roster for this year’s TechJam Pitch.

What Boston needs to know about startup culture

Across the country, cities just like Boston have been asking, how can we help foster the kinds of eye-popping innovation for which Silicon Valley is famous?

Boston Social Graphic (1280x1280)Meanwhile, startups are chomping at the bit to break into highly regulated industries, such as healthcare and energy, that have the power to transform lives. Yet, they don’t know where to break in and how to get started. An entrepreneur’s success relies on making the right connections, but all too often those connections are left to chance.

These are solvable problems. In fact, they have to be, if we’re going to rely on startups to help us transform our cities’ most important industries.

Startup incubator 1776 and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent six months doing research in cities just like this one. They interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs, business leaders and local governments to figure out exactly what’s working — and what’s not.

The results of that research — Innovation That Matters — were released last week, and it offers a powerful framework to help cities think about how to drive civic entrepreneurship.

And while the report — a first-of-its-kind effort from 1776 and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its Foundation — makes clear exactly how important our strong talent base is for our growth, it surfaced a key area of opportunity, too: enhancing support for local startups from serial entrepreneur leaders, local corporations, angel investors and community incubator programs.


Young Inventors Urged to “Stay Crazy” and Make Their Dreams a Reality

Quirky CEO Ben Kaufman Addressing CIC (800x534)

“Stay crazy” was the advice given by Quirky CEO Ben Kaufman to the nearly 1,000 young inventors gathered at the recent Connecticut Invention Convention showcase event.

Kaufman would know. As a self-described “maker and breaker,” Kaufman emphasized the importance is being a little crazy—so crazy that you follow keep on inventing even when others may not see your vision. As the founder and CEO of Quirky, he has created a new paradigm for making invention accessible to everyone in a crowdsourced fashion. Kaufman’s unique concept and commitment to invention has led to profiles in the New York Times, Fortune Magazine, TIME, and many other publications.

Ben Kaufman was a fitting guest speaker for this annual event, now in its 32nd year, which is the largest of its kind in the country. An inventor all throughout this childhood, Kaufman remarked on the important support he received from his parents. Instead of quashing his fantastical thinking, they encouraged it.

In his talk to the young inventors gathered on May 2nd at the Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Connecticut (UConn campus), he remarked how he would have loved to have the support of an organization like Connecticut Invention Convention when he was a kid. The assembled K-12 students had just wrapped up a long day of enthusiastically showcasing their diverse range of inventions to the thousands of people in attendance.

But the main takeaway he wanted to inventors to have is that the process is not ending at the event when the awards are given out—it is just beginning. Commenting on the inventions he had seen throughout the day’s event, he stated how he would love to buy some of the inventions as finished products.

He wanted the inventors to be encouraged to continue tinkering with their ideas, and to treat them with a level of seriousness. He wasn’t talking to kids with fanciful ideas, but potential current and future entrepreneurs.

Connecticut Invention Convention (800x534)

Microsoft Accessibility Award Winners

Name: Cooper Dwyer
Town: Somers, CT
School: Somers Elementary School QUEST Program
Grade: 2
Invention: Pajama Weights

Name: Samuel Harmon
Town: Colchester, CT
School:  Nathan Hale-Ray Middle School
Grade: 5
Invention: Beep

Name: Eli Mathieu
Town: Colchester, CT
School:  Talcott  Mountain Academy of Science, Math & Tech
Grade: 8
Invention: Listen4Me

Name:  Logan Reese
Town: Naugatuck, CT
School: Cross Street Intermediate School
Grade: 5
Invention: The Shoe-matic Popper Box

Name:  William Seward
Town: Branford, CT
School:  Totoket Valley Elementary School
Grade: 4

Invention: The Safety Swing
Name: Liam Wrynn
Town: Ellington, CT
School: Charles H. Barrows STEM Academy
Grade: 3
Invention: Port Plug Pocket

Social Innovation Forum Branches Out

Social Innovation Forum Branches OutSocial ventures are a phenomenal model for economic growth in Boston – organizations that are not only creating jobs and earning revenue but also doing good at the same time. The Social Innovation Forum has introduced me to some very creative social ventures, such as:

  • InnerCity Weightlifting, an organization using fitness training as a tool to reduce violence and promote professional, personal and academic achievement among urban youth, empowering young people with the confidence to say no to violence and yes to opportunity.
  • Catie’s Closet, which improves school attendance by providing clothing and basic necessities to students living in poverty in MA and NH
  • Company One Theatre, aimed to change the face of Boston theatre by uniting the city’s diverse communities through innovative, socially provocative performance and developing civically engaged artists.
  • GRLZradio, an after-school and summer program that gives girls from Boston the opportunity to learn radio technology and communication skills, and spread the message of possibility rather than despair; respect rather than abuse.

As we support other social ventures, we have been proud to support Root Cause, it’s Social Innovation Forum and the dozens of non-profits that have gone through their outstanding program throughout the last 12 years. Recently, the Social Innovation Forum announced that it will be branching out from its parent organization, Root Cause, to begin a new chapter. We couldn’t be more excited to see this program grow further.

RootCause was originally founded in 2003 with the objective of improving social problem solving.  The organization has worked with other organizations in a variety of social service sectors, including economic empowerment, education and youth development, and health & well-being.  RootCause works with the public and private sectors to develop solutions for today’s social issues by providing guidance on making the right choice when it comes to investing.

The Social Innovation Forum (SIF) was one of RootCauses first initiatives.  Since it started in 2004, SIF has donated over $20 million in cash and support to Social Innovators and Impact Entrepreneurs.  SIF annually selects 5-8 early-stage nonprofits (Social Innovators) and 4-8 for-profit and hybrid organizations (Impact Entrepreneurs) to take part in an intensive due-diligence course. SIF brings together over 1,500 philanthropists, investors and others with the goal of growing these organization that address social issues.

The Social Innovation Forum will become a separate organization over the course of this year, staying true to its original mission. Susan Musinksy will assume the position of Executive Director and Katie Barnett, SIF’s current Associate Director will also aid in the transition.

Learn more about the Social Innovation Forum:

Every ‘Today’ is Earth Day

einc_logoLast week we celebrated Earth Day. Every April 22 we have an opportunity to show support for our beautiful earth. People all around the globe pick up trash, plant trees, help animals that have been affected by pollution and raise awareness about the realities of climate change. Each year over 192 countries participate in this pro-environment day. But Earth Day is over and it will not be with us again for another whole year. The thing is, the earth needs us every day of the year. So, what are some things we can all do to help the earth in little ways every day?

We are “e” inc. “e” for Environment, “e” for Energy, “e” for Earth. We are an environmental science non-profit that brings the science of the planet to 6500 children each year. We lead action programs in multiple school districts helping students create and maintain projects to help protect the planet.


(L-R) The “e” inc. team in their education space in Charlestown, MA | Students at West Somerville Neighborhood School learning about the Web of Life with one of our “e” inc. educators | Fletcher Maynard Academy, in Cambridge, is one of the many schools who participate in “e” inc. programming

Here are some wonderful ideas that the students from “e” inc. are sending your way in order to help you make every day Earth Day. Every small thing you do as a Planet Protector adds up to a big change:




Planet Protector



Save Energy


Jen Hagen is an “e” inc. action educator. To learn more about “e” inc., head to their website.