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


Lessons from a Chicago Innovation Summit by Nheeda Enriquez

2510458878_6e28d9ba64_mI just spent the weekend visiting family in Chicago, reminiscing over my time in graduate school at the Institute of Design.  This past May, the school was integral in putting on an Innovation Summit, bringing together innovation celebrities and city business leaders, including BusinessWeek‘s innovation guru, Bruce Nussbaum, Steelcase Chairman Robert Pew, and Exelon CEO, John Rowe.

I can’t wait for the day Charlotte hosts a conference like this.  Design thinking in business is just starting to seep its way into the city’s fabric, especially with programs like the Innovation Institute at the McColl Center and (hopefully in the) the newly forming Creative Industries task force at the ASC.

Unfortunately, I didn’t attend the Innovation Summit in person, but here’s a great place to catch all of the video.  If you’ve got a half-hour to be inspired, be sure to watch Doblin‘s Larry Keeley; his classes at the Institute of Design were challenging and thought-provoking, and I am always re-energized by his presentations.

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Innovation in the news by Nheeda Enriquez
photo via charlotte magazine

photo via charlotte magazine

This week, Charlotte’s put some focus on local innovators and its impact on our town.  Charlotte Talks hosted three Innovation Leaders on its program on Tuesday.

  • Monty Montague – Co-founder and Design Principal, BOLT Group
  • Paul Wetenhall – President, Ben Craig Center Business Incubator, UNC Charlotte
  • Barbara Spradling – Director, Innovation Institute, McColl Center for Visual Art

Also, Charlotte Magazine’s August issue is dedicated to local “Geniuses” that “will change this city forever.”  Though the stories aren’t on the magazine’s website yet, some of the individuals featured include PreGel‘s Gelato King Marco Casol, soccer innovator Akbar Majeed, and the Know Your Farms‘ Christy Shi.