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10 New Products, Services Recognized at Chicago Innovation Awards

The 10th annual Chicago Innovation Awards recognized the 10 most innovative products and services introduced in the Chicago region during the past year.

Also honored at ceremonies Tuesday night at the Harris Theater:

  • Miles White, chairman and CEO of Abbott Laboratories, who received the Visionary Award. Abbott has won more Chicago Innovation Awards than any other firm.
  • Beau Wrigley, fourth-generation leader of the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, who received the 2011 Distinguished Innovator Award. Under his leadership, the company grew to $6 billion in sales from $2 billion and expanded its reach to 180 countries, assisted by his highly innovative approach to bringing new products to market.
  • Second City, the Chicago-based leading brand in improv-based sketch comedy, whose owner and CEO, Andrew Alexander, accepted the Spirit of Innovation award; the troupe entertained at the awards event.

The ten winning products and services were: Red Frog Events; Navman Wireless’ Qtanium; Illinois Tool Works’ Global Capless; Tripp Lite’s SRCOOL12K Portable AC unit; Elkay’s EZH20; World Bicycle Relief’s Buffalo Bicycles; Appolicious; Callibra’s Discharge 1-2-3 Composer; Trustwave’s Trustkeeper; and Narrative Science.

They represented the full range of innovation in the Chicago region and the diversity of its economy. The winning products included Tripp Lite’s breakthrough approach to cooling data centers and networking environments to Red Frog Events’ way of combining high-energy athletic events and good humor. The region’s burgeoning high-tech innovation community was represented by Trustwave’s cloud-based security system, while World Bicycle Relief uses a low-tech approach to bring transportation and small business opportunity to the developing world.

“The Chicago Innovation Awards shine a bright light on the creative spirit of the Chicago region,” said Thomas D. Kuczmarski, the awards’ co-founder (with local journalist Dan Miller) and senior partner and president of the innovation firm Kuczmarski & Associates. “The recognition of and support for innovation in the Chicago region is growing fast and living up to its promise as the most powerful economic engine of the new economy.”

This year’s awards drew more than 400 nominations, a record, and more than 1,400 attended the full-house event.

Recognition of the region’s vibrant start-up community came through the Chicago Innovation Awards’ expanded Up-and Comer Program, in partnership with J.B. Pritzker and Matt McCall of the venture capital firm New World Ventures.

The Up-and-Comers recognized were: Power2Switch; Tap.Me; FeeFighters; Alltuition; Nexvu; Eved; GiveForward; Clean Urban Energy; Excelerate Labs; and Technori.

The awards’ Gold Sponsor was Wrigley and Silver Sponsors were Comcast Business Class, Cisco, Disney Institute, Spigit, Google and Edelman.

For additional information on the Chicago Innovation Awards and tonight’s winners, please visit www.chicagoinnovationawards.com.

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