May 18, 2017 Innovation Summit explores disruption in the next digital age

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Delivering on its mission to create and foster connections that advance innovation and entrepreneurship, The Ohio State Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) recently brought together academic thought leaders, entrepreneurs, students and members of the business community for its first Innovation Summit since the center’s launch in 2015.

Focused on innovation and disruption in the next digital age, the event drew more than 150 individuals to the Fawcett Center for a day of interactive panel discussions, pitches by Ohio State student entrepreneurs, enriching keynotes and a design-thinking activity. The summit was sponsored by the family of the late Dr. W. Arthur Cullman, a respected scholar and nationally recognized expert in marketing who spent 30 years as a professor at The Ohio State University.

“The CIE was honored to work with the Cullman family on this event,” said Paul Reeder, the center’s executive director. “The foundational tenets of the summit and our goal as a center — to provide a forum where the perspectives from industry and academia can be shared and discussed — were at the heart of Dr. Cullman’s impact as an educator. The incredible speakers and participants, support of the Cullman Family and partnership of our founding members helped make the event a true success.”

2017 Innovation Summit

Opening remarks delivered by Fisher Dean Anil K. Makhija and Dr. Carol Whitacre, senior vice president for research at The Ohio State University, emphasized the role of Ohio State’s research and innovation in support of the university’s modern land-grant mission to improve the well-being of the state, regional, national and global communities.

The Innovation Summit drew on the insights of several faculty members at Fisher and across Ohio State, including Trish Gorman, senior lecturer in the Department of Management and Human Resources and an innovation expert at the CIE. Gorman spoke on how firms should strategize around digital disruption, create a more idea-tolerant environment and construct a portfolio of digital innovation activities.

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The 2017 Innovation Summit brought together academic thought leaders, entrepreneurs, students and members of the business community to discuss disruption in the next digital age.

Daniel Zantedeschi, assistant professor of marketing at Fisher who studies translational data analytics, participated in a panel discussion exploring the opportunities and challenges of digital transformation. The panel also featured representatives from CIE’s founding members, including Jeff Curran, director of innovation solutions at Fuse by Cardinal; Bruce Millard, vice president of digital and customer innovation at Safelite; and David Trimm, chief information officer at The Wendy’s Company. These innovation leaders noted the importance of creating a culture that fosters experimentation and rapid learning to create new sources of value.

Curran emphasized the importance of a learning, fail-fast culture and knowing when to stop a project.

“If the horse is dead when you dismount, you’ve waited too long to stop a project,” he said.

Huan Sun, assistant professor of computer science engineering and an affiliate with Ohio State’s Translational Data Analytics Discovery Theme initiative, discussed application of her research on machine learning and natural language interaction in customer service, health care and programming.

Dan Manges, founding chief technology officer of Root Car Insurance, took part in a conversation with Ryan Frederick, principal at AWH, and director of StartUp Grind. The wide-ranging discussion explored the idea of innovation versus process and product improvement, with Manges pointing to customer-centrism as a key component to successful innovation and entrepreneurship.

The Summit wrapped up with a design-thinking panel and activity led by Monica Weiler, of Stratos Innovation Group and featuring Ohio State faculty members, including associate professor of design and pioneering design expert Liz Sanders and David Staley, futurist and associate professor of history. Participants took part in an engaging introductory activity to 2D and 3D design-thinking tools to make sense of and give shape to the future.

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Summit attendees take part in a design thinking activity as part of the 2017 Innovation Summit, presented by the Ohio State Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

“The Summit was a perfect example of the collaboration and knowledge sharing that is creating a strong culture of innovation and entrepreneurship throughout central Ohio,” Reeder said. “The CIE looks forward to continuing this conversation and engaging with our partners to further deepen opportunities to nurture this vital source of economic growth.”

Launched in 2015, The Ohio State Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship promotes economic growth and workforce development throughout Ohio in a number of key areas, including corporate innovation, entrepreneurship, technology commercialization and social enterprise. The Center provides access to sponsored research for faculty, engagement with corporate partners, and the delivery of trans-disciplinary learning experiences for undergraduate, graduate and executive-level students.