Photograph: Julian Mackler / MACKME.COM

The 2012 Alva Award + Inventor Tony Fadell on the Creative Process


Great inventors – and great inventions – solve problems, address real needs, and make life better. When it comes to making ideas happen, no figure is more iconic. Which is why we decided to ask a bold question this year: “Who will be the next great serial inventor – possibly even the next Thomas Edison?” To recognize the next generation of world-changing creators, we decided to launch a new award in partnership with GE: The ALVA, which takes its name from the legendary inventor who inspired us: Thomas Alva Edison.

Now, we’re thrilled to finally share insights from the 2012 Alva Award winner, Tony Fadell, after welcoming him to our annual conference for an absolutely incredible presentation on his creative process.

Author of more than 100 patents, Tony Fadell embodies the spirit of the 21-century inventor. From the Sony Magic Link to the Philips Nino and Velo, and from the iPod and the iPhone to the Nest Learning Thermostat, Tony’s incredible creations have disrupted industries, introduced beautifully designed solutions, and changed the way we live.

After accepting the Alva from GE’s Linda Boff, Tony gave a galvanizing talk responding to a series of questions on creativity, prototyping, and battling self-doubt sourced from the creative community.

The Making of the Alva Award

The launch of our new Alva Award, recognizing remarkable serial inventors, also presented the creative team at Behance with an exciting design challenge.

We generate a huge range of print materials, motion graphics, and soft goods for the conference every year, but designing an award was something new.

Check out some behind-the-scenes shots of the evolution of the award below, and go to Behance for the full story of the award’s creation.

Photo: Parris Whittingham


Photo: Parris Whittingham



Photo: Julian Mackler / MACKME.COM


Photo: Julian Mackler / MACKME.COM


Photo: Julian Mackler / MACKME.COM



More insights on: Innovation, Iteration, Leadership

Jocelyn K. Glei

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As Editor-in-Chief and Director of 99U, Jocelyn K. Glei leads the 99U in its mission to provide the “missing curriculum” on making ideas happen. She oversees the Webby Award-winning website, curates the popular 99U Conference, and is the editor of the 99U books, Manage Your Day-to-Day and Maximize Your Potential.
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