PDMA Carolinas: Innovate Carolina Conference
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 Export to Your Calendar 4/23/2020
When: Thursday, April 23, 2020
7:30 Registration, Program 8:15 am - 4:15 pm
Where: UNCC Center City Campus
320 East 9th Street
Charlotte, NC  28202
United States
Contact: Susan Burek

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Diversity and Innovation

We all recognize that innovation is vital for the success of any business, large or small. Growing new revenues, creating new products and services ensures businesses sustain and grow, attracting new customers and generating new revenue and profits. If innovation is vital for success, how can we create conditions in which innovation can thrive? One important way to get more innovation, better ideas and better perspectives is to ensure diversity in the innovation team.

Our theme for the 11th Annual Innovate Carolina conference is Diversity and Innovation, and during our day long innovation conference on April 23, 2020 we’ll focus on why diversity is important, what diversity means in regards to innovation and how to think about creating more diversity for more divergent thinking.

Our speakers will represent both large and small organizations, as well as consultants and experts in the role diversity plays in innovation success.

Are you interested in speaking on this topic? Visit our call for speakers page.


Note: Early Bird Registration ends March 19, 2020. Early bird rate is $50. After March 19, rates vary from $50-100. Student rate is $25.

What you will learn

Diversity in this regard relates to a number of different definitions and perspectives:

  1. Diversity of experience: we know that people with more experience can often approach a problem constrained by past experience, while people with less experience may approach the problem with a “beginner’s mindset”.
  2. Diversity in roles: bringing together the technologists, the “creatives” and the human side of the equation adds different and valuable perspectives. After all, there’s a reason Human Centered Design is catching on
  3. Diversity in work experiences: Many companies have employees who have worked within the company for years. Blending long term employees with new employees and potentially people from outside the company introduce very different perspectives who see issues and challenges very differently.
  4. Diversity in risk profiles. Too often innovation teams drawn from one business function or completely from within a business share the same risk appetite, which limits innovation thinking. Drawing in different people with different risk attitudes can introduce new ways of thinking and broaden perspectives.
  5. Diversity in business functions: innovation teams are often more effective when they blend people from R&D, product development, marketing, finance and customer service, because these diverse perspectives address more of a customer’s challenge
  6. Diversity in cultures. The United States and Western Europe are going through tremendous demographic change. The consumer market reflects a significant amount of new migration and new customer segments. Understanding the differences in emerging customer segments by including people of different cultures, races or beliefs will open up new opportunities and limit investments in ideas that will face unexpected cultural hurdles.

Generally, we believe, the more heterogeneous the team, the more attitudes and perspectives are represented, the better the ideas will be.

In our conference we’ll hear from corporate practitioners, consultants and industry experts who have experience accelerating i. These speakers will address key issues that must be addressed to help speed good innovation and who have had success because of diversity on the team or who struggled until more diversity was introduced. We’ll learn from case studies and success stories about the value and impact of different approaches to achieve diversity of opinion, perspective and expertise and how that diversity led to better ideas.

These talks and panels will provide attendees the following important benefits:

  1. You will be able to identify any issues with diversity and team selection in your organization
  2. You will learn the qualitative and quantitative impact of ensuring diversity on any innovation project
  3. You’ll hear how other companies and organizations have increased diversity of thought or experience on their teams
  4. You’ll see the impact of adding more diversity to an innovation activity in the outcomes of new products, services and business models

Of course these concepts of diversity apply more broadly than innovation. Marketing, sales, product development and much more are equally accelerated by more diverse thought, perspective and experience. Innovators and product developers and managers will certainly benefit from understanding how to get more diversity of thought and experience on their projects and teams, but the impact of diverse thinking spans much more broadly.

Learn More

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