May 23, 2013
Innovation Interview: Mark Maassel

What is innovation?

Looking at things or processes, in new ways which yield advances in society.

How is innovation part of your life?

Encouraging entrepreneurs, striving to create an entrepreneurial “atmosphere,” working to develop a funding network, providing resources to address management or strategic issues.

Who (or what organizations) do you admire for innovation?

A. If you are a boat manufacturer who invents a plastic that dissolves in water with no harm to the environment, what do you do?  Create Monosol which makes the film that surrounds things like the packet of soap we all throw into our washer or dishwasher.  And, which continues to develop new patents every year.

B. If your dad is a firefighter a number of years ago who sketches out a nozzle that puts the correct amount of water on the fire without a large line of people to hold the hose, what do you do?  Build a company, Task Force Tips, which is a world leader in firefighting equipment and which creates numerous new patents every year.

C. If you want to own and operate gas stations, a highly competitive market, what do you do?  Create a culture among your team that is heavily focused on the customer and their experience and call it Family Express.

In all of these examples, they have implemented a number of other innovative approaches to competing successfully.  Also, all are active in their communities.


In April and May, Indiana Humanities is exploring the topic of “innovation,” as part of its Spirit of Competition theme. This post was written by Mark Maassel. Mark serves as the President and CEO of the NWI Forum, a group focused on growing good jobs in the 7-county Northwest Indiana region in harmony with the environment.  He is also active in a wide variety of nonprofit and public organizations with a strong focus on education and workforce training.  He currently serves as the chair of the board of directors for Indiana Humanities.


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