Inside Novetta’s Annual Innovation Awards at the Spy Museum

“’Beers for everyone when I get back to earth’ is the kind of spirit we want to capture at Novetta,” said Peter LaMontagne last month as Novetta held its annual awards event at the Internal Spy Museum for their Innovation Challenge.

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In a city surrounded by both government agencies and companies that state they “support and push innovation,” such a phrase is typically used as a tag line by those who wish to promote themselves, but rarely follow through with innovative results.  Novetta supports innovative minds within their company with a focus on innovation as a company culture.  Currently, the business is an industry leader in advanced analytics.

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The Innovation Challenge is a friendly, internal competition that provides an opportunity for Novetta employees to use their imagination and generate solutions that are novel, practical, and have market potential.

The ideas presented ranged from hedging parimutuel bets for horse racing, tracking people based on computer engine control units, gas layers provided for injuries to soldiers in combat, controlling a fleet of automated drones for agriculture, and more. Thirty-eight employees submitted more than thirty proposals. In the end, five proposals made the finalist stage.

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The finalists included:

  • Laura Dummer, “SocialBee: An Enhanced Social Network Analysis Tool Suite”.
  • Joy Smith, “The Future of Analytics Insights”
  • Bryan Finck and Andrew Harmon, “Cloud Based Commercial UAS Fleet Management PaaS”
  • Ali Aslam, “Sensors as a Service”
  • Henry Mlodozeniec, Dimitri Roberts, and Jason Lester, “Social Safe: A Mobile Application for Social Network Security”

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Finalists enjoyed dinner while a quick overview of one another was presented. Judging was done by previous winners, and a former CIA Science and Technology director. After a tense wait for the announcement of the $10,000 award winner, it was Laura Drummer who won with her proposal of SocialBee, a system that would combine social network analysis and natural language processing in an automated format. This system is a forward-leaning proposal in a linguistics analysis.

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