Rhode Island: It's All in Our Backyard

Ideas Matter

November 7, 2014 by cgrosch

Ideas are powering Our Backyard’s latest surge of innovation the way rivers once powered the mills that represent Rhode Island’s original surge of innovation — the Industrial Revolution.

Our Backyard is fertile ground for idea-generating forums. Business Innovation Factory (BIF), TEDx, DESIGNxRI, A Better World by Design, and Pecha Kucha Providence are bringing hundreds of people together, all dedicated to inspiring the next wave of innovation.

BIF works to transforms education, healthcare and government systems through collaborative innovation. Celebrating the 10th anniversary of its annual summit, BIF has earned a reputation as one of the nation’s most renowned storytelling gatherings, featuring titles like “innovation begins with empathy,”  “the myth of connectivity,” and “you can’t tweet change.”

A Better World by Design brings a global community of innovators to Providence to reach across disciplines to build a better world. Presenters share stories, facilitate discussions, and teach creative skills workshops. This year’s conference attracted some 700 people from all corners of the world. True to its theme of Wayfinding, the conference encouraged attendees to “navigate new terrain, to process the unfamiliar.”

DESIGNxRI sprang out of our Make It Happen RI economic development initiative. Its inaugural 11-day Design Week focused attention on the fact that design-driven businesses play a key role in the state’s economy. Through a series of speaking programs, design firm tours, and networking events, the message is clear: Designers are problem solvers and solution finders.

Pecha Kucha Night Providence enables young designers to meet, show their work, and exchange ideas. Translated as “chit-chat,” Pecha Kucha is a concise and fast-paced presentation style in which 20 slides are shown for 20 seconds each (6 minutes and 40 seconds in total) while a presenter talks about those slides.

Regardless of the format, the common denominator is the goal of creating a conduit for the free and open exchange of ideas.