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)


An Innovative Conference

Exploring Innovation will provide hospitable spaces where attendees can have conversations that matter at a relaxed pace.

The typical conference is tightly scheduled and allows little time for interaction and building relationships. This conference will feature high-level presentations from a key leadership team, followed by facilitated, small group dialogues. There will be smaller group sessions with creative format options in addition to the standard case study/best practices approach for breakout sessions.

Innovation Café

Conferences seem to be shaped in large part by the way people think and interact. So, to make the conference more productive, we are going to change the routine!

The first day of the conference will feature conversations led by staff from Innovation Labs.

The goal is to work together in a carefully designed and managed day to discover how we can solve complex problems and create breakthrough solutions in a fraction of the time that ordinarily would be needed. The conversations will be in the Starlight Roof at the Chase—a wonderful space with a 128-foot wall of windows overlooking the green expanse of Forest Park.

The Innovation Cafe will include presentations on innovation in social networks by Andrew Hargadon (author of How Breakthroughs Happen) and on group creativity and collaboration by Keith Sawyer (author of the soon-to-be published Group Genius). Each presentation will be followed by discussions facilitated by staff from Innovation Labs. (See www.innovationlabs.com.)

Innovation in the Nation

Innovation in the Nation will be a panel discussion about what is happening on several diverse fronts affecting community development. The panel will be led by Saundra Braustein, director, Division of Consumer and Community Affairs, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

Panelists will include:

  • John Talmage, president, Social Compact
  • Robert Weissbourd, president, RW Ventures

Smaller Group Sessions

Breakout sessions will encourage interaction and plenty of time for discussion...we promise! The formats will offer a range of options from the opportunity to chat in an intimate setting or sit and listen to a presentation of recent research results. You'll be engaged, no matter what your style or mood. Topics will include measurement and evaluation, nonprofit capitalization, approaches to economic development, affordable housing, finance models and other community development issues.

Breakfast with Mark

Mark Pinsky of Opportunity Finance Network will coach attendees through a breakfast discussion intended to recall Wednesday's breakthroughs—ideas, discoveries, observations—and set the stage for the remainder of the conference.

Art and Science of Innovation Tour (presented in partnership with The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts.)

Community development professionals may find there is much to learn from how artists and scientists process ideas and produce outcomes. What are they thinking? What are they making? What does history tell us? What about individual style and influences?

The Art and Science of Innovation Tour will be a four-hour mobile learning workshop that will take us to important centers of creativity that encompass art, social enterprise, biotechnology and entrepreneurship. Watch this web site as details are announced.

Party by the Pool

On Thursday, break out of your box and talk about your ideas with colleagues during an early evening of food and entertainment on the terrace surrounding the Chase's beautiful outdoor pool. Then visit the surrounding neighborhood for evening activities and chatting.

Hospitality Room

Creating hospitable space is important to building new relationships. The hospitality room will be open on Thursday and Friday of the conference and provide inviting space with continuous refreshments, conversation, resource tables and creative mind teasers, games and exercises.

Frankly Famous Failures

What can we learn by looking at some famous failures? This session will illustrate how innovation is improved through learning from failure in community development.

Book Signing and Discussions

Get out of the hotel and cut a path to a neighborhood bookstore or coffee shop for a book signing and discussion with Paul C. Light, author of Making Nonprofits Work and of The Four Pillars of High Performance.

Participant Preparation

Conference registrants will receive a letter of confirmation with additional ideas about preparing for Exploring Innovation. Advance reading materials will be available on the web site.

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