Innovate Carolina Conference Seeks to Accelerate Ideas to Market

Innovation News Startup TechWire
by David Dean Menzies

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. -- As news broke recently about Triangle startups raising $66.7 million in venture capital in the first quarter of this year, members of the startup community began debating how to turn the tide more toward Q4 2016’s tidy $117.4 million. On Friday, April 21 this debate will switch to practical instruction as entrepreneurs examine ways to bring their innovations to market more rapidly at Innovate Carolina, a one day conference focused on new techniques and tools used in product design and development. Innovate Carolina is an annual event for a cross-section of the innovation community such as independent engineers and designers as well as those from established companies as well as service providers working with startups. It is sponsored by the Product Development Management Association (PDMA) Carolinas Chapter.

“About a decade ago we found out the Georgia PDMA chapter was hosting a one-day conference; two days later we put together Innovate Carolina,” Jeffrey Phillips, organizer of the event and consultant with OVO Innovation, said. The idea, according to Phillips, was to create an educational conference on par with national events, full of insights into best practices and networking opportunities.

Startup TechWire 2017 Sponsorships Now Available“We wanted to build something you could drive to, participate in, then drive home and put some of the things you’ve learned into practice the very next day,” he explained.

Things to put into practice from the 8th version of the event revolve around accelerating innovation. Much of the focus is on the front end; how should innovators handle idea generation, do a better job spotting needs, and understand customers better. Also of importance is how ideas should be moved through the production cycle more efficiently.

This year's conference features Andy Cohen, a popular TEDx speaker, author and international thought-leader and teacher
Andy Cohen
This year's conference features Andy Cohen, a popular TEDx speaker, author and international thought-leader and teacher at Duke University, NYU, Cornell and internationally at ISB (India), the Qatar Leadership Center and the CKGSB (China). Trig Innovation's Ty Hagler and Justin Nifong of NK Patent Law will co-present “Digital Ideation and Provisional Patents: Risks and Rewards of Accelerating the Fuzzy Front End” examining a new approach to making creative teams more effective while reducing the cost and time surrounding ideation, the formation of ideas or concepts.

Other presentations cover topics such as crowdfunding; communicating with stakeholders; using prototypes to convey value proposition; shortening the innovation pipeline; creating a culture to accelerate innovation; implementing a company-wide agile management and innovation system; speeding-up commercialization; commercializing B2B products; and using diversity of thought to delivery innovation.

Innovate Carolina takes place at the NC Biotechnology Center. For more information on speakers, breakout sessions, or to register visit

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