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July 3, 2014
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In Aspen, Disruption Summit will follow Ideas Fest

There are plenty of ideas floating around Aspen this week, but Kevin Ward, of Old Snowmass, yearns for something a little more disruptive.

It’s nothing personal against the Aspen Ideas Festival, he said, but he thinks the Aspen Institute is missing an opportunity to bring in people responsible for truly revolutionary inventions, designs and discoveries that are changing the world.

So, Ward organized the Aspen Disruption Summit. The inaugural event will be held July 20 at the Aspen District Theatre. The event will feature speakers who are responsible for ideas that are disrupting the status quo.

“You can tell who were the disruptive thinkers in the past. Most of them got burned at the stake,” said Ward, who co-founded the Aspen Science Center with George Stranahan.

Ward wants to hold the Aspen Disruption Summit two or three times per year to showcase cutting-edge ideas in science, technology, design and engineering. The summit won’t feature big-name celebrities, he said, because most of the speakers are responsible for projects, inventions or ideas that are just starting to garner notice.

“They haven’t had time to become famous,” he said, adding that they will.

“It’s not about celebrity worship. It’s about idea worship,” Ward said.

One of the speakers is Geordie Rose, the founder of a company that developed a number of complex technologies and integrated them to create the world’s first quantum computers. His firm accomplished what 95 percent of physicists said was impossible, according to Ward.

He can hardly contain his excitement when he summarizes the accomplishment for a layman.

“To make it work, he had to make a core that cools a processor down so it’s the coldest place in the universe,” Ward said.

His goal is to attract people to the summit who attend the Aspen Physics Center barbecues and Aspen Ideas Fest. Those events supply the meat and potatoes, he said.

“I’d like to invite them to something new and strange,” he said.

An exception to the unknown speakers will be Robert Kennedy Jr., known for his environmental activism. He will speak on “Taking Back Our Environmental Legacy.”

Tickets are $159 for adults and $49 for students ages 12 to 17. VIP tickets for $199 include a speaker reception at The Limelight Hotel the evening before the event.

The full lineup and more information about the summit are available at

“It’s not about celebrity worship. It’s about idea worship.”
Kevin Ward
Founder, Aspen Disruption Summit

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The Aspen Times Updated Jul 2, 2014 09:08PM Published Jul 5, 2014 08:22AM Copyright 2014 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.