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The Green Sheet, July 2015

What Sparks Stellar Innovation? Five Leaders’ Perspectives:

July 2015 marked the opening of the Innovation Wing at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Steve Jobs’ iPhone, Eli Whitney’s cotton gin, Thomas Edison’s light bulb and other breakthrough technologies were grouped not by industry, geography or era, but by their interrelated roles in the narrative arc of human progress.

Through the years, the business world has been instrumental in providing the funding, tools and competition for innovation to thrive. “You can’t separate American history from business history because business was there from the beginning, and it’s what builds the nation,” said museum curator Kathleen Franz, Associate Professor at American University.

Farshad Tafazzoli, TouchSuite

The National Retail Federation 2014 Gift Card Spending Survey found that gift cards have been the most requested gift item in the United States for eight consecutive years, and buyers spend an average of $48 per gift card. Gift card recipients can convert unwanted gift cards at gift card exchanges and kiosks, but a large number don’t use these exchanges.

When perusing online gift card exchanges one day, Farshad Tafazzoli, Chief Product Officer at ISO and technology provider TouchSuite, came up with an idea for a new type of exchange. This led to TouchSuite’s introduction of TouchSuite Gift Card Exchange in March 2015. It enables merchants using TouchSuite’s Lightning Payments POS systems to accept gift cards from 100 big-box retailers as payment for goods and services in their stores.

“We have three components to our strategy: increase customers’ foot traffic, transact efficiently by enabling gift card redemption while eliminating friction, and increase wallet share by getting more customers into your store and getting them to spend more,” Tafazzoli said.

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