Program (PDF Only)

Breakout Sessions

Special Features

Key Leaders


Local Information


Call for Session Proposals

Preparing for the Conference


Download a copy of the printed invitation (PDF, 6544 Kb)


View the 2009 Exploring Innovation Conference site

View the 2008 Exploring Innovation Week site

Thanks to all who made "Exploring Innovation" a success! More than 200 participants and presenters attended.

View the proceedings from the conference, compiled by Innovation Labs Inc.

From May 2 to May 4, 2007, participants gathered at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel in the historic Central West End in St. Louis to explore innovation in community development finance. The focus was on promoting growth and sustainability by increasing access to capital.

What is innovation?

Innovation—taking something established and introducing a new idea, method or device that creates a new dimension of performance.

Innovation adds value.

What’s innovation got to do with community development?

A culture of innovation provides the foundation so that people can turn ideas into results and improve communities.

Innovation can be found in all industries, fields, locations and communities—not just in business, technology, engineering or the physical sciences.

The conference will explore the relationship between creativity, learning and innovation in organizations and how that relationship improves performance, increases access to capital and achieves scale and sustainability.

An Innovative Conference

The format will depart from the typical conference routine, which is usually tightly scheduled and allows little time for interaction and for building relationships. This conference will feature high-level presentations from keynote speakers, followed by facilitated, small group dialogues. Additionally, there will be creative options that depart from the standard case study/best practices approach for breakout sessions. We are also sending out a call for presentations, seeking those who have innovative programs to demonstrate at the conference.

Much research, thought and effort have gone into expanding the community development finance industry. Our mission is to provide fresh perspectives to those working to improve the microeconomic conditions of their regions, states and communities, particularly those related directly to community development.

Is this conference right for you? The target audience is participants representing all types of industries related to community economic development. These include investment, banking, finance, government, academia, nonprofits, legal, entrepreneurship and philanthropy.

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