2015 Forum: Next Steps



2015 Emerging Issues FORUM:

Next Steps:


What are the best ways to build North Carolina’s innovation capacity?  Over three thousand North Carolinians actively participated in the 2015 Emerging Issues Forum, Innovation Reconstructed. You wonderfully committed to moving North Carolina from the middle – where we now sit – to the top tier of innovation states.

Forum participants agreed on consensus strategic priorities to boost North Carolina’s innovation capacity: Form public-private leadership groups to drive the development of our innovation ecosystems; widen the innovation circle to include under-represented groups and places; and teach skills and behaviors that promote innovation to students and young adults.

IEI’s ambitious 2015 post-Forum program of work consists of new programs and initiatives responsive to these priorities:

  • Innovate NC: A Cross-City Learning Collaborative
    IEI is partnering with Forward Communities and other organizations to bring five NC communities beyond the Triangle and Charlotte into active, sustained collaboration focused on enhancing local innovation capacity.
  • North Carolina Civic Health Index
    Our new study of civic engagement in North Carolina, which emphasizes that high levels of civic engagement boost innovative capacity and economic prosperity, also implies the need to reach out to many demographic subgroups and rural communities. We plan to be all over the state over the next six months sharing the findings and the connections to innovation.
  • Thriving Rural Communities
    IEI is partnering with the Duke Endowment to help forty rural pastors expand the role of their churches as community anchor institutions by fostering social innovation and social entrepreneurship.
  • BB&T Discovery Forums
    With generous support from BB&T, IEI will visit six North Carolina communities over the next four months to host fun, upbeat events where diverse young adult innovators and social entrepreneurs share rapid-fire project pitches while forging stronger ties with each other.
  • LGFCU Emerging Issues High School Prize for Innovation
    Teams of high school students from across the state that channel their creativity and talent to address critical issues affecting North Carolina’s future economic competitiveness and wellbeing.  Our grand prize winning team receives $5,000 to put its proposal into motion.
  • Summer in the Commons
    We’ve set a target of hosting 1,000 youth and young adults this summer in our Emerging Issues Commons for facilitated engagement activities on the innovation issue.

Get involved! Each of these initiatives is designed to offer opportunities for direct engagement, and we invite you to join us. For North Carolina to continue to innovate to enhance our economic competitiveness, we need to work together, learn from each other, and take bold steps forward.

Many of you have already gotten involved:

What’s your own next action step?
Just before we closed the Forum, we asked participants to tell us, “What is the one thing you plan to do when you leave this conference?”  We got a tremendous response — you can sample some of these ideas here.

In her March 2015 Newsletter, IEI director Anita Brown-Graham invited innovators across the state to tell us about their work. We’ve plotted responses on the map below. Each pin on the map offers the contributor’s name, location, and summary description of their effort to expand North Carolina’s innovation capacity. [Note: Want to be included? Simply complete this brief survey!] [google_maps id=”7441″]

We thank our sponsors!
The Forum is only possible because of the exceptional generosity of individual, foundation, and corporate suppoters.  We extend sincere thanks to all for their investment in a better future for all North Carolinians through enhanced economic competitiveness.  Please see the full sponsor roster here.

Archived Forum resources:

We want to be sure you have access to the complete array of Forum resouces, so we’ve archived them below for convenient access:

(1) Watch the Forum presentations

Check out our Forum presentations playlist at our YouTube channel.

(2) Forum tools and resources (most were/are made available via the app):

(3) Info on the Forum app (which remains active indefinitely):

We used a great mobile app at the Forum.  We strongly suggested that participants install it on their phone, tablet, or laptop.  It is also possible to connect to the app via your browser.  The app was a critical source of information and a powerful participation tool throughout the Forum, and remains so after.  We used the app to vote, submit questions, and share ideas via surveys.  It was a one-stop source for up-to-the-minute Forum information (agenda and speaker info, maps, exhibitor and sponsor details, attendee roster, and more).  To install the Emerging Issues Forum 2015 mobile app:

Forum Program Book