Hot on the heels of last month’s Creativity Forum featuring Dan Pink comes another Richmond first – focused on innovation in business.
The May 19 innovation event was born from the intersection of history, community and consulting – with a splash of passion and exuberanc e – when conversations between three of Richmond’s “big idea” guys turned into Richmond’s Innovation Celebration.
“It was through conversations with Mark Brady of Alchemy and Bill Martin at the Valentine that sparked this for me,” says Gayle Turner of Catch Your Limit Consulting. “Bill said that we’re not doing a good job – period – of selling the value of creativity and innovation in Richmond. And then Mark came along and pointed out that we keep searching for a national identity… but we continue to be a center that not only cranks out new ideas but also people who do things differently.”
Gayle took those powerful kernels into a discussion with Sara Dunnigan at the Greater Richmond Partnership. One thing led to another, and soon Gayle and Sara found themselves sitting with Ken Kahn of VCU’s da Vinci Center for Innovation and Andrew LeVasseur of the Virginia Productivity Improvement Fund creating an event centered on innovation.
Participants will spend a day not just discussing how innovation happens, but identifying all of the places throughout the Richmond region where it is already happening.
While there will be a handful of speakers throughout the day sharing ideas and perspectives, Gayle insists that it is the small group conversations that will make the day hum.
“We’re going to ask people to talk about what they are doing within their own organizations to foster innovation," Gayle says. "We’re going to ask them what they are seeing in the region, and who is really making a difference.”
Sara Dunnigan will speak to participants about a new tool to measure and monitor innovation across the region.
“One of the places that inspired us was Maine, which identified the things they felt are crucial for innovation in their state,” Gayle says. “What can we find that we’re doing well, but can do more of or pay more attention to around Richmond? Let’s start measuring those things, and let’s test them. If they make a difference, continue them. If not, do something else.”
One paradigm shift organizers are hoping to help create is one where the Richmond region not only begins to see the innovation right under its nose, but to support and encourage it.
“We do a lot of new things worthy of recognition in Richmond, but we don’t seem to acknowledge them,” Gayle says.
The May 19 Richmond Innovation Celebration may play a role in changing that. Registration for the event is open to the public, and details on the speakers and day’s agenda are on the website.