The View From #BOSSOI: Innovation Goes Beyond Technology
Last week I had the privilege of attending Bostinno’s Third Annual State of Innovation Forum (#BOSSOI) at the Westin Boston Waterfront. There were informative workshops, networking opportunities, and exciting panels, but perhaps most inspiring was the dynamic keynote presentation. Through a mix of speeches, fireside chats, video, and even a rap gig, our attention was drawn to three key influencers discussing aspects of Boston’s innovation: one timeless, one trending, and one TBD.
The push for diversity is an age-old topic that is relevant to just about every facet in life.
During her keynote speech, Startup Institute CEO Diane Hessan emphasized the importance of diversity in driving innovation, not just with gender and race, but with age and geography as well. Tech and innovation may be all about the “new,” but there’s still plenty of need for the invaluable wisdom of seasoned professionals. Boston may rank fifth in the Streetwise Innovation Index, but the rest of Massachusetts is not to be overlooked. In fact, three Massachusetts companies outside of Boston made the World Economic Forum’s 2015 Tech Pioneers List. Diane urged us to reach out and expand our capabilities through diversity. And then she rapped about it. This lady rocks. Well, no, she raps.
Workplace culture is the hottest topic in business today, but Jason Robins, DraftKings co-founder and CEO, sees it as more than just a trend. During his keynote, he highlighted company culture as the key to innovation. Staff structure and operational methods will ebb and flow in their effect on a company, but good culture will always drive success. Robins pointed out that “99.999 percent of great ideas do not come from the CEO or founding members of a company,” but from employees. For that reason, he believes in not just being receptive to employees’ ideas, but in creating an environment that encourages and invites them.
TBD: Boston 2024
Though it has yet to be determined, the mere idea of Boston hosting the 2024 Olympics has already brought its technology and innovation muscles front and center. Sharing his thoughts during the keynote fireside chat was Steve Pagliuca, chairman of Boston 2024 [and also managing director of Bain Capital and co-owner of the Boston Celtics]. The games themselves would enable Boston to showcase its tech talent, but the preparation beforehand will also yield several opportunities to raise awareness and promote advancement through seminars, job fairs, and conferences. In Steve’s opinion, no other campaign will enable an investment of this magnitude into the areas that will facilitate Boston’s growth, such as technology.
The BOSSOI keynote presentation was a powerful reminder that while innovation is all about the bleeding edge, the factors that influence it come from the past, present, and future, and while technology is oftentimes the manifestation of innovation, there are many channels doing important behind-the-scenes work.
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