The Lilie Lectures

The Lectures bring together expertise and energies from across Rice and Houston in new and innovative ways. Each Lecture features the insights of an established entrepreneur or innovator on a question of interest to people working across a range of fields. The Lectures draw faculty, students, and administrators from across diverse areas of the university, often in new and interesting ways. The Lilie Lectures are free of charge and open to the public. The Lectures provide an opportunity for the exchange of questions and ideas between people who are innovating in many different contexts, and as such, often lead to new and shared insights.

Previous Lilie Lectures

Farzad Soleimani, TMC Biodesign Innovation Fellowship

Dr. Soleimani applies his extensive experience and leadership in health care entrepreneurship to ushering in the next generation of innovative startups.  Dr. Soleimani has served as the founding CEO of telemedicine company eTherapi, strategist and business developer for Hansen Medical (HNSN), co-founder of IGAN Biosciences and founder and CEO of product review platform Review2Buy.  He was as an early-stage financial supporter at Mohr Davidow Ventures and XSeed Capital Management. He has published a wide array of articles on health care innovation and currently holds numerous medical technology patents.  He earned his M.B.A., M.D., M.S., and B.S. from Stanford University, where he was also a member of the Stanford Biodesign Innovation Program, as well as the co-founder and executive editor of the Stanford Scientific Review (SSR).

Rakesh Agrawal, Founder, Snapstream

Snapstream is a DVR and search engine for businesses. It enables organizations to monitor television to find exact mentions of certain phrases or ideas.  SnapStream’s clients include ESPN, the NFL, and shows like The Colbert Report and The Soup.  Currently, Rakesh oversees the software company’s strategy, innovation work, and operations. Continuing to advance the next generation of SnapStream’s video capture, search and editing platform, Rakesh guides the team with expertise on software development, hardware solutions, and industry-specific workflows. Rakesh frequents all sorts of technology-focused events throughout the year to educate folks on the power of TV search in their everyday jobs.


Samantha Snabes, Co-Founder, re:3d

Samantha has served as an Entrepreneur in Residence and Strategist for NASA and is the founder of re:3D, among the world’s first affordable 3D printer for social change. re:3D is innovatively using 3D printing to democratize manufacturing, by making the process affordable and scalable in markets worldwide.  Gigabot is re:3D’s flagship technology which enables industrial strength 3D printing that can print objects up to 30x larger than competing desktop models – all at an affordable price. Re:3D serves over 40 countries and is exploring alternate materials and feedstocks with global leaders in material and life sciences.  She describes herself as a challenge seeker, committed to exploring the intersections of space and society.

Aimee Woodall, Founder, Black Sheep  Agency

Black Sheep Agency is a cause -driven brand shop focused on amplifying messages, accelerating impact, and making positive things happen for its clients and community. Black Sheep Agency has worked with people and organizations like the White House, Neighborhood Centers, Reliant Energy, JJ Watt, and the City of Houston.

Matt Harrigan, Co-Founder & Managing Director, Grand Central Tech

Rice University alumni, Matt Harrigan, started his career in international development at Booz Allen before transitioning to innovation strategy consulting at Fahrenheit 212. From there, he became a Product Manager at ESPN working across the full range of their mobile products, most notably overseeing their College Football App, Webby-nominated for Best Sports App in 2013. He is also the founder of Barebands a watch and apparel business launching this spring. He then co-founded Grand Central Tech (GCT), which is a startup incubator in New York City.  GCT provides a year’s worth of free office space to young startups, with the aim that the startups will stick around and rent the other 40,000 square feet of its coworking building, creating a hub for hot startups.

Doug Schuler, Associate Proffessor of Business & Publlic Policy, Rice University

Co-sponsored  by the Association of Rice Alumni

Professor Doug Schuler looked at the match between social interventions and the business, social, and political environment. He walked guests through several examples of failed social interventions, as well as some social interventions currently occurring in Houston’s food deserts for low-resource medical services in Malawi. His principal research interests are corporate political activity, public policy, corporate social responsibility and non-profit organizations.  Professor Schuler also serves on the executive committee for Rice 360 Institute for Global Health Technologies.

Robert Bilder, Co-director of  Tennenbaum Center for the Biology of Creativity, UCLA

Co-sponsored by the Moody, Rice’s Humanities Research Center, Glasscock School, and the Arts Initiative Fund

Dr. Bilder is a Clinical Neuropsychologist who has been actively engaged for over 30 years in research on brain-behavior relationships in health and neuropsychiatric illnesses. He has received many awards for his research contributions, served on diverse federal and international advisory boards, provided editorial service to many scholarly journals, and received major grants from the NIH, private foundations, and industry. His work has been presented in more than 200 publications and 400 scientific presentations.

Keith Sawyer, the Morgan Distinguished Professor in Educational Innovations, University of North Carolina

Co-sponsored by the Moody, Rice’s Humanities Research Center, Glasscock School, and the Arts Initiative Fund

Dr. Keith Sawyer is one of the country’s leading scientific experts on creativity, collaboration, and learing. After receiving his computer science degree from MIT in 1982, he began his career with a two-year stint designing videogames for Atari. He then worked as a management consultant on innovation technologies before he began his doctoral studies in psychology, where he studied creativity with Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.  Since receiving his Ph.D. in 1994, he has dedicated his career to research on creativity, collaboration, and learning. He has been a jazz pianist for over 30 years, and spent several years playing piano with Chicago improv theater groups.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Management, Claremont University

Co-sponsored by the Moody, Rice’s Humanities Research Center, Glasscock School, and the Arts Initiative Fund

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is Claremont Graduate University’s Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Management, and he is also the founder and co-director of the Quality of Life Research Center (QLRC), a nonprofit research institute that studies positive psychology, the study of human strengths such as optimism, creativity, intrinsic motivation, and responsibility.  Csikszentmihalyi received his PhD in Psychology from the University of Chicago, and has since served as the head of the Department of Psychology at the University of Chicago and of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Lake Forest College.He is known for his research on the experience of flow, a psychological concept he introduced in his best-selling book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (Harper Perennial, 1990).

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