Alabama Launches Innovation and Entrepreneurship Conference

September 12, 2011

Of the one hundred largest companies in the U.S. in 1917, only seventeen survive today.  The rate of new product innovation in consumer goods increases exponentially year over year.  Surprisingly, 95 percent of all technology ever invented was invented in the last five years.

Most people agree that an innovation strategy is critical to a company’s success, however many also say that it is easier said than executed. Innovation and entrepreneurship are vital to the state of Alabama’s economic development efforts.  Alabama has a proven track record in innovation:

  • Alabama built the rockets that took man to the moon.
  • Life-saving discoveries are being made in Alabama institutions.
  • New patents are being filed across the state.

On Sept. 23, 2011, Alabama Launchpad, a program of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama Foundation, will present the inaugural Innovation and Entrepreneurship Conference, a “Launchpad” to bring together and engage the various groups seeking to grow Alabama’s entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem.

The event kicks off at 8:30 am and will adjourn at 4:15 pm.  The cost to register is $150 if completed before Sept. 19th.   The following experts will provide keynotes or present topics ranging from Angel Investors in Alabama to Public Private Partnerships for Industry Competitiveness:

  • Rich Karlgaard, publisher, Forbes magazine
  • Sherwin Greenblatt: Director, MIT Venture Mentoring Service
  • Nick Bowman, vice president of engineering & technology, GKN Aerospace, North American Aerostructures Division
  • Jeff Garlock, chief engineer at Honda of America Mfg., Inc.
  • Jeffrey Phillips, consultant, OVO Innovation; author, Make us More Innovative
  • Tim Pickens, chief propulsion engineer & commercial space advisor, Dynetics; team leader, Rocket City Space Pioneers

Innovation is often stymied by fears of failure, especially in today’s economy when it is common to be risk averse and current core competency focused.  Tom Huff said “The practice of R&D involves making mistakes, realizations, corrections, and more mistakes. Trial and error is a fundamental part of the process. Too many managers in corporate America learn to avoid invention and new thinking because they have been convinced that their careers depend upon not making mistakes.”

Another reason that it is difficult to create and execute an organizational innovation strategy is due to the structure of many companies in which teams are divided into silos or separate business units.  Each is responsible for its own budget and resources, and is primarily focused on attaining departmental goals vs. overall organizational goals. When cross-functional teams are created to address company-wide initiatives such as an innovative strategy, conflict often ensues as each respective team member if focused on solutions that will benefit his/her team or unit vs. the overall company.

If you are a leader who is struggling to implement a company-wide initiative or to increase team member engagement, consider enrolling in the Dale Carnegie Leadership Training for Managers course where you will learn to:

  • Examine work environments and identify the current motivation levels
  • Identify motivation factors and tools to increase motivation among associates
  • Apply Human Relations Principles to build effective relationships and commitment levels

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Alabama, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in Huntsville, Alabama. We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter @DaleCarnegieALA.

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