The Practice of Innovation partners are all proven, successful practitioners in their areas of expertise.  To us, innovation and value creation are not just theoretical topics to be studied and talked about.  Rather they must be applied successfully if they are to be deeply understood.  Our partners have spent their careers as innovators working internationally in many different business areas.  Our goal is to bring this expertise and experience to our clients so that they too can be more successful.


Leonard Polizzotto, Ph.D.

Dr. Leonard Polizzotto
Dr. Leonard Polizzotto>

Senior Executive, Innovation and Business Development Expert, Speaker

Dr. Len Polizzotto is widely recognized for his uniquely successful business development abilities.  A centerpiece of his professional activities has been the study, application, and teaching of innovation best practices. As part of this work he has made many important contributions, including the “Three Cs” for helping identify new business opportunities and “Value Factor Analysis”  for maximizing the value of new products and services.

 Until 2014 Dr. Len Polizzotto was Draper Laboratory’s Vice President responsible for new programs, leading efforts to leverage Draper’s capabilities to solve new important international needs. He was responsible for establishing Draper’s Bioengineering Center on the USF campus in Tampa, a Multichip Module Facility in St. Petersburg, establishing Draper’s energy business and leading two medical consortia. One, IMEDS, was focused of developing systems to provide real-time decision support to clinicians at the bedside in the ICU. The other was aimed at developing quantitative biomarkers for PTSD.

Prior to joining Draper in 2007, Dr. Polizzotto served for six years as Corporate Vice President for Business Development at SRI International, a world leader in contract R&D, services where he established a center for proteomic drug development in Harrisonburg Virginia and a center for oceanographic research in St. Petersburg Florida. He helped develop and teach workshops on innovation to company executives throughout the world. A 25-year tenure at the Polaroid Corporation preceded this, concluding with the assignment as Corporate Vice President for New Business Development. In this role, he helped develop a number of new consumer products.

Between corporate experiences, Polizzotto directed the Center for the Globalization of Technology and taught courses in electrical engineering and design at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. In the past eight years, he founded one and led another high tech start-up, both in the biomedical area.

Polizzotto is a Charter Fellow in the National Academy of Inventors. He received his Ph.D. in visual sciences, combining electrical engineering, perceptual psychology, and ophthalmology, from Tufts University. He earned M.S. and B.S. degrees in electrical engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and he completed The Executive Program at the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business. He holds eleven patents and is the author of articles on human color perception, digital imaging, microphotography, and innovation (as well as two books on drums set instruction).

Currently, in addition to being a partner at the Practice of Innovation, Polizzotto is the sole proprietor of CIRA Associates LLC, working in energy, bioengineering, and innovation for Draper Laboratory, Northeastern University, Remcore, and others.


Steven Schlossstein

Steven Schlossstein
Steven Schlossstein

(609) 815-4568

Entrepreneur, Senior Financial Executive, International Business Specialist, Author, Speaker

Steve Schlossstein is an internationally acclaimed author, former business executive with J. P. Morgan and past strategy consultant with extensive experience in global markets, trend analysis and strategic planning. His particular professional expertise is in the Far East business and commercial markets.

 As an accomplished author, Mr. Schlossstein wrote the highly acclaimed The End of the American Century (1989) and Trade War (“Greed, Power, and Industrial Policy on Opposite Sides of the Pacific”), an American Library Association “Best Business Book” of 1984 and a bestseller in the Japanese edition (1985). He has written two novels dealing with the business environment and social change in Japan: Kensei (“The Sword Master,” 1983, an Avon bestseller in the US) and Yakuza (“The Japanese Godfather,” 1990), about the Japanese underworld. His fifth book, Asia’s New Little Dragons (“The Dynamic Emergence of Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia”), was published in 1991. His sixth book and third novel, The Jiangxi Virus, appeared in 2002; it is a complex tale of bioterror, in which a rogue colonel in the Chinese Army threatens the United States with a lethal virus. In 2004, he released a cyberspace thriller set in New York dealing with deadly threats from the Russian Mafia and Internet fraud titled, which was the first in the Peter Dawkins series.

In 2005, he published a new non-fiction work about Islam’s failed economic strategies titled Endangered Species: Why Muslim Economies Fail, with lessons for the Middle East from East Asia’s dynamic transformation. In 2007, he completed a long historical novel titled Dreams Denied, set in Charleston, S.C., in 1866, during Reconstruction. In 2009, he published a novel about political corruption in modern Africa, set in Nigeria and New York, titled The Black Widow, the second in the Peter Dawkins series. In 2010, he released his third Peter Dawkins novel, about murder on the deadly intersection of American politics and religion, titled Do Unto Others, currently under development as a screenplay. In fall 2011, a collection of his recent essays, which he wrote originally in Japanese, appeared in Tokyo as 城石放送協会 (Shiroishi Hōsō Kyōkai, the Schlossstein Broadcasting Network). His English-language translation of this work appeared here in 2012 as Moving Violations: A Contrarian Coda. In late 2012, he compiled and edited a collection of humor titled Facetiae. His newest book is a comic novel of aging and death titled Twilight Ridge (“Drop In. Drop Out. Drop Dead.”), the screenplay for which is done and copyrighted. His columns and articles have appeared over the years in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Dallas Morning News, The Trenton Times, The Chicago Tribune, Business Tokyo and International Economy.

In his role as strategy consultant, Mr. Schlossstein’s last client was the Sarnoff Corporation of Princeton. He served as Sarnoff’s Senior Advisor International, with authority and responsibility for its global business, which he quadrupled during his 4-year consulting assignment there. In 1995, he was co-founder, President and CEO of the Interactive Health Network, Inc. [HealthNet], a joint venture with Sarnoff that developed a working prototype for enhanced medical and health information in digital video format targeted at then-emerging interactive television (ITV) systems. While at Sarnoff, Mr. Schlossstein managed a wide range of new applications for Asian corporate clients in the fields of solid-state technologies, telecommunications, computing, information technology, advanced display systems and the Internet.

He was profiled in a special issue of Fortune magazine in August, 1991, as one of “25 Americans who help the U.S. win,” and was featured in a lengthy review of interactive technology in The New York Times on September 7, 1994. An active public speaker at corporate meetings, conferences and conventions during his business career, he was a client of the Keppler Associates speakers bureau of Washington.

Since 1982, as founder and president of his Princeton-based strategy consulting firm, SBS Associates, he designed, negotiated, and implemented strategic assignments for American corporations in the Far East. He has particular expertise in the dynamic East Asian markets, from Japan, Korea, and Taiwan in northeast Asia to Singapore, Thailand, and Indonesia in Southeast Asia, as well as in the advanced economies of the European Union.

From 1969 to 1982, Mr. Schlossstein was an executive with J. P. Morgan & Co. of New York, with assignments in New York 1969 to 1971; in Hong Kong as representative 1971 to 1972; in Tokyo, from 1973 to 1977 as vice president for corporate business development; and in Düsseldorf, Germany, from 1977 to 1980 as vice president and general manager. (He was Morgan’s youngest-ever overseas representative and foreign branch manager.) Back in New York from 1980 to 1982, he was the vice president of Morgan’s merger and acquisition department responsible for new business in Japan and East Asia, and achieved some of the first acquisitions by Japanese firms in the U.S. market at that time.

Born in 1941, Mr. Schlossstein received a B.A. in history and philosophy from Austin College in Texas in 1963; he was its distinguished alumnus in 1990. He did graduate work at the East-West Center, University of Hawaii, 1964~66, including work under Prof. Hisaharu Kugimoto of Tokyo University, completing an M.A. program in Japanese history. In 1984, he completed the Advanced Management Program at Columbia Business School. He speaks and reads fluent Japanese and German and has passed the Foreign Service Institute’s Advanced Course in French (Niveau Supérieur 2). Steve resides in Princeton with his wife, Martha; they are the parents of two adopted Korean children, Claire (30) and Peter (29) and are active supporters of the arts in New York and Philadelphia.

He is a former member of the Princeton Public School Board (1987~89); a past candidate for the New Jersey State Legislature (1991); a former board member of the Advisory Council of the Department of East Asian Studies, Princeton University (2002~06); a past board member of the Princeton Public Library Foundation (2004~06) and a charter member of its Expansion Committee (1989); a former benefactor of the Manhattan Institute in New York; a former fellow of the Foreign Policy Research Institute of Philadelphia; a benefactor and former Board Member of the Mercer Street Friends Center in Trenton, New Jersey; a former Leadership Council Member of the Princeton Medical Center Foundation; a benefactor of Spence-Chapin Services to Families and Children, New York; and a past benefactor of the Seattle Biomedical Research Institute (SBRI), which has recently won patents for its genetically attenuated sporozoite vaccine, a leading candidate in the race to eliminate malaria. He is a member of the University Club of New York City, which has the largest private library in the United States.


Thomas Furst

Thomas Furst
Thomas Furst

CFO, Start-Up Formation, Innovation Best Practices, High-Tech Manager, Speaker

Furst is a CFO Level Executive, delivering high impact, innovative, financial leadership as a business consultant, interim CFO, and Board Director.  Furst takes on, and solves, some of the hardest problems his clients face. For 18 years, until 2014, Furst was Chief Financial Officer of SRI International, which Business Week described as, “A breeding ground for blockbusters.” The Washington Times said, “As chief financial officer for SRI International, Tom Furst oversees one of the great economic engines of Silicon Valley. Since its founding in 1946 as the Stanford Research Institute, SRI has been at the epicenter of worldwide technological development.”

His key business strengths include:

  • Driving innovation, collaboration, profitability, and growth
  • Instilling innovation as a process that can be learned and repeated
  • Creating and improving business plans
  • Crafting multiple business models to support integrated goals
  • Producing performance metrics and reporting tools supporting goals
  • Assessing progress against goals and strategies; framing course corrections
  • Refining capital structures based on organizational needs
  • Providing internal leadership, through a CFO/COO presence

Additionally, Furst is an expert in broad aspects of U.S. Federal Government contracting:

  • Anticipating, managing, and resolving constructive changes to contracts
  • Designing financial and indirect rate structures to support competitive strategies
  • Project management
  • Business development

More specifically he helps clients by providing value to:

  • Founders: Writing compelling business plans; preparing successful funding presentations; sharpening strategies, value propositions and business models
  • Boards: Adding an experienced financial voice to discussions and decision making; focused on achieving strategic targets and assuring compliance. Furst is team oriented with a positive, collaborative temperament
  • Executive Management: Increasing corporate financial strength without adding long term employee cost – engagements are crafted to the client’s needs, providing a “go to” resource focused on action and results – a “strategic surge” capability

Current engagements include:

  • Chief Financial Officer; U.S. Flare Management: Core executive leadership of a start up with a goal of applying turn-key technology integration solutions to reduce the flaring of natural gas at the wellhead
  • Business Strategy Consultant; The Bob Hoover Project (Kilo Foxtrot Films): supporting the creation of, and e-commerce distribution for, highly anticipated and critically acclaimed aviation documentary staring Bob Hoover and Harrison Ford

Board positions have included:

  • Averatek: Silicon Valley start-up with disruptive new flexible circuits technology
  • Sarnoff Corporation: private $100M/yr revenue, contract R&D and commercialization firm (400 staff)

Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President at SRI International from 1987 to 2014

In additional to being responsible for all financial matters, Furst was effectively SRI’s COO. He was a core member of SRI’s commercialization process and internally, SRI’s Commercialization Board. This decision-making body provided financial resources and reviewed pitches, value propositions, business models, management teams, product offerings, beachhead markets and potential clients. The Commercialization Board determined what projects would receive internal seed funding and when teams were ready to be introduced to venture capital partners. Siri, spun out from SRI, was VC funded and subsequently acquired by Apple. SRI participated in both the A and B rounds. Siri is an example of SRI’s commercialization success, which had an excellent M&A exit.

In addition, while at SRI, Furst was instrumental in the:

  • Financial turn-around of SRI International, a globally recognized company creating high-impact innovation that had previously been in financial trouble.
  • Development of a corporate architecture to assure long-term success, through leadership as both CFO and COO-like functions in SRI’s diverse, complex, and geographically distributed organization. That required leading strategic planning, goal setting, and performance measurement to assure stability, strong growth, and continuous profitability.
  • Leadership of financial and administrative functions, including finance, accounting, treasury, risk management, internal audit, facilities and real estate, environmental health and safety, and security.
  • The planning and execution of a 63-acre, 1.4M-sq. ft. campus modernization initiative, as project leader.
  • Design and implementation of SRI’s unique innovation process.

Furst was the Senior Financial Executive at Booz Allen Hamilton for their World Wide Technology Business (WTB), which included their Federal Government contracting operations.

Vice President of Financial Operations at PRC. First progressed from Division Director of Contracts, through Division and Group CFO positions, to Corporate VP for Financial Operations with a major professional services contractor to the Federal Government with over $500M in annual sales. PRC was later acquired by Northrop Grumman.

In addition, Furst previously held management positions at HBR Singer and RCA.

Furst has a BS in Economics from Villanova University and an MBA from The College of William & Mary.