Day of Innovation to showcase innovation in all sectors of the economy

Centric, an Indianapolis-based think tank and innovation hub, is hosting its fourth annual Day of Innovation on Oct. 13 at Butler University. Day of Innovation is Indiana's only full-day innovation event that brings together leaders and practitioners from all backgrounds and sectors.
This year’s event focuses on the intersection of play and innovation, featuring keynote presentations by Stephanie Chen, research and insights lead at HP; and Brady Gill, director of play at Camp Grounded, among others.
“As the ‘innovation group,’ Centric is always thinking about how to be unique and create events that break a bit from the status quo,” says Jason Williams, Centric's executive director. “Play is a theme that is very relevant to innovation. More and more studies are discussing the importance of play in creativity and innovation.”
The day-long program also includes hands-on workshops for participants, including two led by startup Cincy stalwarts. Tim Metzner, founder and partner at Differential, will talk about leveraging technology to encourage growth, and MORTAR co-founders Derrick Braziel and Allen Woods will discuss their experience reframing community redevelopment.
“I have seen growing connections in the innovation, startup and even faith spaces between Indianapolis and Cincinnati, and I'm increasingly excited about that,” Metzner says. “There is no shortage of amazing, forward-thinking people doing great work in both towns, but combined, I believe there's even greater potential to move both, and the Midwest, forward. I have been looking for any reason to spend more time in Indy, as I believe relationships and connections there will bear significant fruit in the coming years.”
Williams agrees: “There isn’t a sense of competitiveness between the Cincinnati and Indianapolis startup communities, but too often everyone focuses on how to be like Silicon Valley and worrying about brain drain. There is a strength in numbers here in the Midwest, and we will all do a better job if we link arms and share resources.”
Winners of the 2016 Innovation Awards will be announced at the Day of Innovation. Over 60 applications were received and eight winners were chosen. Past winners cross all industries and sectors, and have included Delta Faucet, The Indianapolis Zoo, Octiv (TinderBox), People for Urban Progress, Whirlpool, Brackets for Good and Vortek Surgical.
“We recognize that innovation happens everywhere,” Williams says. “Not all innovation is technology or a product. It could be a business model or a unique partnership.”
The Excellence in Innovation Award, recognizing an Indiana community leader that has demonstrated successful innovation over the course of his or her career, will also be awarded at the event.
“Today more than ever, innovation is the key to survival and long-term success,” Williams says. “Those who have the aptitude for identifying opportunities, creative thinking, problem solving and risk taking will elevate the economic base within our state and lead to global recognition of Indiana as an innovation leader.”
Centric’s Day of Innovation and monthly workshops are open to anyone, and they strive to offer programs that reach across different sectors, from the food industry to intellectual property, and that will draw a mix of attendees.
“We attract many corporate innovators, but also nonprofits, startups, academics and the economic development community," Williams says. “Anyone responsible for their organization’s innovation, business development, product management, leadership or marketing efforts would be a fit for the event.
“Centric strives to produce programming at Day of Innovation that not only inspires, but also that attendees can take back to their office and apply. We want to equip innovators with tangible tools and resources that will make them better at innovating.”

Read more articles by Julie Carpenter.

Julie Carpenter has a background in cultural heritage tourism, museums, and nonprofit organizations. She's the Executive Director of AIA Cincinnati.  
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