Friday, March 16, 2012

Innovate Carolina Conference April 20

I'm pleased once again to write about an innovation conference that is near and dear to my heart.  Each year the Carolinas Chapter of the PDMA organizes an innovation conference, to highlight innovation in the Southeast.  In 2011 many of the attendees favorably compared our conference to the best innovation conferences in the US.  This year, our conference (April 20th, Raleigh NC) will be even better.

We chose as our theme "innovating under tight resource or financial constraints".  While it is evident that the economy is slowly improving, that fact alone doesn't mean that more resource or more money will be made available for innovation.  Yet every firm should be innovating, during the rough economic times and during the flush times.  We need to learn to innovate constantly, consistently, in good times and in rough times.

Please take a moment, review the conference site and sign up.  There are three really important reasons to come to Innovate Carolina:
  1. The Speakers.  We have an excellent line up of speakers.  Their firms span the gamut from financial services, consumer goods, industrial equipment, health care, high technology and much more.  They include small firms and Fortune 500 firms.
  2. The Networking.  Innovation works best when you exchange ideas with people on the periphery of your industry, at the edge of your knowledge.  Building networks with other innovators here in Carolina, across the country and around the world is vital to your success.  You cannot be an effective innovator sitting behind a desk.
  3. The Information.  You can learn a tremendous amount from the speakers we've assembled.  And, since this is a local, one-day event, the information is readily available, very practical and delivered in an inexpensive, efficient way.
We are fortunate to have as our keynote Stephen Shapiro, who I know and have heard speak.  Stephen is an innovation evangelist. He believes in the power of innovation and is a regular speaker on the topic, as well as being an author of several books on the topic.

Once Stephen gets the audience excited about innovation and its possibilities, we have a powerful lineup of companies from the Carolinas who are going to share lessons learned, success stories, tips and tricks, insights and other information about how they have created new innovations while working under tight financial or resource constraints. See the agenda here.  Those firms include:

  • Bank of America
  • Britax
  • Burt's Bees
  • Elster
  • Gilero
  • Milliken
  • Net App
  • Novant
  • Red Hat
  • Sealed Air
Beyond this notable line-up of excellent speakers, we also highlight innovation in the public and academic sector.  We are fortunate to have speakers from:

  • The North Carolina Department of Commerce
  • University of North Carolina
  • The Center for Creative Leadership

 Based on our experience in previous years and experience at other conferences, we provide plenty of time for networking.  This is an excellent way to meet other innovators who live here in the Southeast.  Your capabilities alone are limited, but leveraging a network of other innovative, creative people you and your organization can reach new heights.  The conference has opportunities for networking in the morning break, over lunch, in an afternoon break and activities immediately following the event Friday afternoon.


Every firm faces another tough economic year.  This may lead you and your team to believe that innovation isn't in the cards, since money, time and resources are tight.  History, however, shows us that many great products and even firms started out as new ideas during a downturn.  Microsoft, for instance, was founded during a recession.  Many great companies, including Dupont, were launched during the Great Depression.  As the economy improves and spending increases, customers will demand new products and services.  Your team needs to be working on those new ideas now. 

Learn about successful innovation programs and outcomes that are underway now.  Learn how to innovate under tight financial or resource constraints.  Return to your office after the conference with tools and methods to make your teams more innovative NOW.

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posted by Jeffrey Phillips at 5:48 AM


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