Britta Riley

Innovation Culture Hacker

I have always had a sixth sense for trends and see them about 5 years out. Sometimes that means I see something going in a direction I don't like. I have pretty strong views on environmental and social ethics. Annoyed with the direction I saw social media and tech taking, I made a pact with myself more than a decade ago: "If you don't like it, fix it." That has led me to a career as a technology designer.

In my work, I often jump into the very nitty gritty details in new areas of science or technology. As a newcomer with a broad market view, I get to ask, "Why is this done this way?". Sometimes the answers give fascinating insight into the core of an area of innovation. Sometimes those answers let me see other areas where the technology would be a boon. Sometimes the answer simply does not make sense for today's world. I often find that the way things are done has more to do with the people and organizations involved than it does with real opportunities. I believe hacking the culture of innovation can create bigger change any single technology. I work to open up new markets that I think people and nature need now.

Social Entrepreneur

I have co-founded and run 5 companies over the last 10 years. My mom and I started, the first medical practice in Texas to abandon traditional health insurance system to focus on building a network of affordable care for the uninsured. Two of my once-promising flops were a time-management PDA app for women called Watchword (2003) and an environmental certification label for consumer grocery products called EcoScore, which was a finalist in the 2007 Stern Social Entrepreneurship Business Plan Competition. I co-founded & ran, a design consultancy for museums with my partner Rebecca Bray for clients like the Smithsonian, the Museum of Science and Industry, and the Whitney. My current company, was named one of the top 100 businesses to watch in 2010 by Entrepreneur Magazine. Windowfarms makes vertical hydroponic platforms for food growing in city windows in conjunction with a online citizen science web platform for with over 16,000 community members worldwide.

I make sculptures and participatory environmental art. My work has been exhibited internationally at MoMA NY, the Whitney, Kiasma Contemporary Art Museum Helsinki, Ars Electronica (2009 & 2010 and Japan), and the Venice Biennale of Architecture.

Twitter: brittariley


exhibition design mass collaboration social participation hydroponics nutrients ecosystems urban agriculture opensource culture food systems root systems foodies scientific collaborations engineering collaborations entrepreneurship women


Running startups ethics operating in high risk emerging fields engineering without a degree in engineering doing whatever it takes asking questions asking forgiveness saying no & motivating other people to get important $#!+ done