Eight Innovators to Watch in 2016

These thinkers are making fascinating developments in medicine, economics, art, music and more

Jeannette Garcia is pioneering recyclable plastics. (IBM)

We write about fascinating innovations all year round here at Smithsonian, which was why it was so hard to choose this select group of innovators to watch for 2016. But these scientists, musicians, artists and educators stood out even in a crowded field. Expect great things from them in the coming year. 

Grace Wardhana, educational app creator

(Kiko Labs )

When Wardhana found herself the mother of a tablet-obsessed child, she wondered why there weren’t more quality game-based tablet learning opportunities. So she launched Kiko Labs, which creates learning games based on principles of neuroscience. Kiko Labs' product, Kiko’s Thinking Time, was developed in collaboration with Harvard and Berkeley neuroscientists and is aimed at helping children develop executive function—the skills of memory, focus and self-regulation necessary for success in school, work and beyond. In October, Kiko Labs announced that Kiko’s Thinking Time will be offered in schools as part of an effort to improve school readiness for preschoolers.


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