VM Global Leadership Summit Delivers New Trends, Technologies With ‘Innovation Everywhere’


Robert Safian, Fast Company magazine.
NEW YORK—The 6th annual Vision Monday Global Leadership Summit delivered on its theme of “Innovation Everywhere,” presenting what at times seemed to be science fiction turned science fact to the hundreds of optical executives in attendance. Topics presented by this year’s speakers covered amazing new technologies, such as an iPhone attachment that allows the users to conduct refractions and an artificial retina that enables to blind to see. Other speakers tackled innovative trends in the health care and the optical fields specifically as well as changes in business in general that promise to disrupt the way we do business…if they haven’t done so already.

Fitting the “Innovation Everywhere” theme, the lead sponsor of this year’s event, Essilor was named among The World’s Most Innovative Companies by Forbe’s magazine. Supporting sponsors of the VM Summit were Alcon, CareCredit, DAC Vision, Luxottica, Shamir and International Vision Expo.

Robert Safian, editor and managing director of Fast Company magazine, in the keynote session on “Lessons of Innovation,” said, “The most important skill in the age of flux is the ability to add new skills. Nostalgia is a trap. It is not helpful to be stuck on what worked before; we have to move forward. Do not pigeonhole yourself or your business about what it is or where it might go. We can change people’s perceptions of us and the things that we do if we focus on the possibilities. On a broad scale, our growth economically and on societal level continues to come from new ideas and people who continue to innovate.”

Marge Axelrad, senior vice president editorial/editorial director of Vision Monday then introduced the summit speakers who filled the day with discussions of the real trends and innovations affecting today’s optical business. The panel covering the “Innovation Mandate” featured Mickey McManus, president and CEO of MAYA Designs; John Shagoury, president of Eliza Corporation; and Bart Foster, founder and CEO of SoloHealth.

The reality that what was once science fiction is now science fact was clearly illustrated by the session on “Innovation and the Eye,” presented by Ramesh Raskar, PhD, co-founder of EyeNetra and associate professor at MIT Media Lab; Steve Willey, co-founder and CEO of Innovega; Barbara Barclay, general manager of Tobii North America; and Jim Little, VP of R&D for Second Sight. What’s next in e-commerce was covered in the “Digital Commerce Innovations” session by John Graham, general manager of Glasses.com and David Geipel, founder of Qwasi, Inc.

Closing out the day was a session on “Maintaining an Innovative Edge in Vision Care,” presented by Alan Ulsifer, OD, CEO, president and chair of FYidoctors; William “Buzz” Hollis, president and CEO of Doctors Vision Center; and Don Bye, VP of Optical Services for Shopko.

To read full coverage about the VM Summit and to view pictures of the day’s events, click here.