Disruption – radical change to the status quo – is accelerating and targeting everything: from business to education to health care to popular culture itself. This formidable force seems to be coming at us from everywhere but, to be more precise, it’s coming from people. The kind of people who look at our existing problems and needs in drastically different ways and are armed with a fundamental belief that powerful ideas can be created and driven, bottom-up, by passionate and dedicated individuals.

To better understand this rampant, industry-changing force of disruption and disruptive innovation, the Disruptor Foundation, and its annual Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards, are devoted to finding, interviewing and drawing attention to the people behind new disruptive products, services and approaches. Says the Disruptor Foundation’s co-founder, Clayton Christensen, a Harvard Business School professor who defined “disruption” and his ground-breaking theory of “disruptive innovation” in his 1997 book, The Innovator’s Dilemma: "We will need to crawl up inside and see what makes people tick." 

The importance of this line of inquiry is in learning the precise dynamics of disruptive innovation as a human process, to determine if we can deliberately fashion or be able to predict successful innovation for the future. While anyone can come up with a creative new idea, the key to successful innovation is in knowing what makes a successful change agent:  How exactly did these brave and bold individuals mobilize a movement behind their ideas and develop compelling business models that created new markets or new industries?  

“We are thrilled to be celebrating with Clay these remarkable innovators who are on the frontiers of disruptive innovation theory implementing new business models with stunning success,” said Craig Hatkoff, co-founder Disruptor Foundation and chief curator for the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards.

This year’s sixth annual ceremony, held on April 24, honored an incredible range of disruptive innovators who have changed the worlds of business, technology, travel, health care and philanthropy. The 2015 Disruptive Innovation Award honorees included:

Brian Chesky, co-founder of Airbnb, the trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations in more than 34,000 cities and 190 countries. Airbnb is the easiest way for people to monetize their extra space and showcase it to an audience of millions.

Brad Katsuyama, CEO, president, and co-founder of IEX – an equity trading marketplace that is owned and designed for traditional investors – mutual funds, hedge funds, and individuals. Brad is most widely known for his central role in Michael Lewis’ best-selling book, Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt. 

Dr. Bill Magee, founder and CEO, Operation Smile – has grown the largest volunteer-based organization providing free cleft surgeries in the world with over 5,400 volunteers providing over 220,000 free surgeries for children and young adults born with facial deformities in over 60 countries since 1982.

Jennifer Hyman, co-founder and CEO, Rent The Runway, a fashion company with a technology soul, is the largest fashion rental platform in the world, democratizing luxury for women everywhere in the sharing economy.

Reshma Saujani, founder and CEO, Girls Who Code, a national non-profit organization working to close the gender gap in technology and prepare young women for jobs of the future.