It happens here: Consumer-centric Innovation in Charlotte and beyond


Charlotte gets a massive dose of design thinking in April by Nheeda Enriquez

photo via sirconferences

I wanted to quickly highlight a handful of design+innovation events in the Queen City before they sneak up on us!  Who knew we were such a hotbed?!

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3 assumptions I had about BarCamp that were totally wrong by Nheeda Enriquez

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What fun!  Not knowing what to expect, I attended the first half of BarCamp Charlotte today over at Area 15.  Reflecting on my newbie experience, I realized I arrived with a few assumptions, all of which were handily proven wrong.

1. I thought the informal nature of the setup would be frustrating. I’ve been working in a corporate setting where meetings and agendas are arranged months in advance.  But in this format, participants pitch whatever topics they want to talk about, either as an expert presenter or as a discussion leader.   Then the rest of us vote on which ones we want to see.  Despite a few logistic glitches, I found this free-wheeling format to be invigorating and liberating.  And wonderfully innovative.

2.  I assumed the topics would only be about SEO and/or social media. Not so. Though there were plenty of extremely relevant sessions about those things, the floor is open to many others.  Like the kid who taught folks how to make balloon animals.  Or setting up photo-voltaics in your home.

3.  I figured the average age of the participants would skew young. Boy, was I wrong on that one.  Of the 200(?) or so folks at the event, there was a wide range represented.  The mix in the room was impressive: small business owners, enthusiasts, and random interested friends (like me) of all levels of expertise and backgrounds.



Upcoming (and past) events about new ideas in Charlotte by Nheeda Enriquez

I’m highlighting two events that focus on Charlotte folks sharing (pitching?) their innovative ideas for everyone else to absorb.

1.  The Charlotte chapter of the American Marketing Association (CAMA) is hosting a Donny Deutsch-style “Big Idea” meeting at Dilworth Grill on Oct. 20th at 6pm.  The panelists include some local heavyweights:

• Julie Rose (Moderator): WFAE News Team
• Louis J. Foreman: founder and chief executive, Enventys
• Winn Madrey: executive vice president, Topics Education
• Jim Bailey: founder, CEO and president, Red Moon Marketing

2.  The second is BarCamp Charlotte, over at Area15 in NoDa on October 17th, all day.  BarCamps have become known as an “unconferences” where sessions are decided on the day of the event and an open-source mentality is required.  (I’ve never been to one before, so I’m looking forward to it.)

Finally, I’m just now getting around to it, but the SocialFresh folks posted some post-conference material from their Charlotte social media event back in August for those of us who didn’t get to sign up in time!  There’s a lot of interesting stuff in there, check out Spike Jones’ presentation on movements vs. campaigns.