Summit Will Focus on Tech Innovation

For the first time, TechColumbus and a graduate student group at Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business have joined forces to host a summit dedicated to technological advancement in the region.

The summit, called Innovate Columbus 2011, will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on April 27 at the Ohio Union, located at 1739 N. High St.

In previous years, Tech Columbus and Innovation Fisher held comparable annual events: The TechColumbus Innovation Summit and “What If?,” respectively.

“We had two separate events, yet both had similar missions− bring new thinking around innovation and creativity to professionals and leaders across the region,” says Tim Haynes, vice president of TechColumbus. “We can have even greater impact by partnering on one event.”

Innovate Columbus is for entrepreneurs, creatives, futurists, researchers, corporate leaders and innovation teams from Ohio and across the United States, says Michael Bills, executive in residence at Fisher.

“Developed by senior business and innovation thought leaders, the event expects to draw more than 400 top executives and passionate practitioners to generate actionable strategies for tech-based businesses,” he adds.

A “fresh and eclectic mix” of leading-edge keynote speakers and experiential lab facilitators will share how they leverage innovation to create increased value for their companies and clients, Haynes says.

The summit’s keynote speakers are David Pogue, personal technology columnist for The New York Times; Sarah Lacy, award-winning Silicon Valley technology journalist and author; and Anousheh Ansari, space explorer and CEO/chairman/co-founder of Prodea Systems Inc.

The other four summit speakers are Phil Duncan, global design officer at Procter & Gamble; Drew Banks, head of marketing at Prezi; Tobe Cohen, vice president/general manager for performance nutrition at Abbott; and Bob Johansen, distinguished fellow at The Institute for the Future.

Attendees will participate in “innovation labs” during a series of hands-on, collaborative group sessions that explore idea discovery and innovation execution, as well as other value creation topics. Moderators and panelists for breakout sessions will include executives from several organizations, including Battelle, Guidewire Group Inc., Maketools, and Resource Interactive.

Haynes says he wants attendees to gain actionable ideas that bring greater impact to their roles, an expanded network of passionate professionals and leaders they can tap, and a sense of momentum and strength for “this new innovative thinking in the Columbus area.”

The region already has tremendous strengths and assets, from research and a large, aspiring student population to health care and information technology, he says, adding that the key to realizing the region’s potential is “about how we look at opportunity.”

Additionally, the amount of innovation capital invested in local seed-, early-, and growth-stage companies in 2010 −a record $307.56 million− indicates that Central Ohio’s earliest enterprises are attracting funding in a way they never have before.

An event like Innovate Columbus can be a catalyst for accelerated growth and increased competitiveness, Haynes says.

To register for Innovate Columbus, visit