Innovating for Humans with Brian McGrath Davis

July 7, 2021 | The Hatchery | Ben Garrett

What happens at the intersection of deep human concern and highly scalable start-ups? The Hatchery invited Laney Ph.D. alum, Brian McGrath Davis, to Emory Innovators to share some of the answers he has found through his fascinating career. 

Brian began his career in academia, where he earned five degrees, including his PhD from Laney Graduate School (Institute of the Liberal Arts, 2013). That academic curiosity translated into a unique approach to building businesses. As an entrepreneur, Brian has spent the last 14 years working in consumer startups. He was part of the early teams at Smilebooth and Scoutmob, managed Blakely Ventures for Sara Blakely, sat on the Leadership Team at Spanx, and cofounded biotech startup Supersapiens. He is currently building a consumer wellness startup in stealth. 

One of the guiding lights for Brian throughout his studies and his work is that "being human is hard." This recognition of the difficulty of life is the bedrock of empathy-driven innovation or human-centered design. Brian has always worked to try and understand the challenges that people are facing and developing solutions that make it easier to be human. One challenge that Brian has faced and had a great deal of insight around is the experience of imposter syndrome. He encouraged people struggling in this way (whether scholastically or professionally) to be honest with themselves about what they know and don't know; being bold about what you know and eager to learn where there are knowledge gaps. 

Brian had much more to share about the ways that non-business backgrounds can be a killer asset in the business world, how to spot opportunities to grow early in your career and much more. The whole conversation can be accessed through The Hatchery's Emory Innovators Podcast feed or via video on the Emory Innovators YouTube playlist. To stay up-to-date about The Hatchery's upcoming programs, subscribe to their newsletter.   

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