I’ve been involved* these past two years with a creativity conference in Oklahoma, now called the State of Creativity Forum. This conference has energy to spare, it feels like an accelerating fire of innovative energy.
Last year’s event (for a summary look at this post) exploded with dynamic speakers, cultural, and artist happenings. Even the governor, Mary Fallin, was there to support the notion that creativity and innovation is how Oklahoma moves forward. This year features Sir Ken Robinson and Peter Diamandis of X Prize fame — and that’s just the start. It’s all taking place November 13th in Oklahoma City. By all means, if you want a great taster, or even a major feast of creative stimulation, this is the conference for you — register now before they fill up. Follow this hastage on Twitter for the on-going skinny: (#SoCF12).
Here’s why you should register, in a word, value.
As I’ve noted in this space before, it’s interesting how ‘creativity’ conferences tend to be organized. In my view, nearly all of them are a bit exclusive. That is, they’re expensive — for registration fees, travel, and time off work. That means, generally, only people with high level jobs, or who work for themselves, AND have a pretty healthy bank account can go. This is unfortunate because it leaves people out who can really use creativity and innovation tools, like middle level managers, or educators. If you are an educator, say a high school teacher, or a leader in the the non-profit sector, you probably won’t be attending a creativity conference in spite of high interest and real need. The other organizational aspect of these conferences is that creativity and innovation are not always equally balanced; they tend to be more of the former and none of the latter. This is not so with State of Creativity. There is due attention paid to providing a fascinating balance of strategies for creative cultural nurturance AND direct innovative business results. This is a conference that works for everybody interested in creativity and innovation.
The State of Creativity Forum has a model that accelerates creativity, innovation, and economic growth. The model works like this:
- a reasonable to low registration fee ($150!)
- a one day event that allows locals and regional people to attend without a hotel expense
- solid corporate and government sponsorship to support the effort
- a balance of creative culture and innovation process content
This model works — the number of participants these past years was 1000+. This is remarkable — most creativity conferences are 350 or less. Even commerical innovation conferences don’t reach this level of participation. I’d call that success and the reason is this is an incredible value. I’ve been told that people are coming from Europe and all over the states in addition to heavy Oklahoma resident registration. But there’s more…diversity.
The participants includes educators, artists, inventors, students and entrepreneurs — in addition to business people, consultants, corporate innovators, investors, and venture capitalists you might expect to see. So, the model for the conference has created a diversity that is admirable — and valuable. Its inclusiveness inspires the kind of networking and informational exchange that contains a bit of magic. The kind of magic where an inventor meets a marketing geek and they have lunch with an angel investor who introduces them to a university professor, who just so happens to have a technology that helps the inventor connect some dots…you get the picture. Things get created, even start-ups, and new business ideas move forward faster — economic momentum accelerates. That’s why this conference is such a good idea. It helps participants to create things in the real world, and in Oklahoma especially.
Imagine a prairie fire racing across the countryside — that’s the speed of innovation Oklahoma is accelerating with this conference.
Speaking of creating things, there are two new additions to the conference this year. One is a series of pre-conference courses called the cSchool Bootcamp (four 90 minute courses for $295). These are taught by local masters in various aspects of creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation. A special luncheon also includes a guest speaker I know will be a big hit, Cyndi Burnett (who’s with the prestigious International Center for the Study of Creativity at SUNY Buffalo). The second new addition is my own post-conference workshop, Innovation Roadmap ($250) which is a roll up your sleeves work session for innovation planning, suitable for entrepreneurs or corporate innovators. Come to my small group session if you want to create something real time (to register contact: firstname.lastname@example.org).
I hope to see you at the conference!
* Full disclosure: I’ve had a minor role in shaping this years event.