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As Creative Indiana‘s first local celebration of World Creativity and Innovation Week simmered to a close, “innovation” was being re-sparked elsewhere in Indiana. On Tuesday, April 23, Indianapolis organization Centric hosted the 2013 Indiana Innovation Awards Kickoff and Creative Indiana just had to be there. The Indiana Innovation Awards are an opportunity to recognize creative and forward-thinking businesses and organizations throughout the state of Indiana. The awards are an open-nomination event, meaning anyone can submit a nomination for the business/organization of their choice, and even though the awards are based in Indianapolis, nominees and winners come from all over the state. Past winners have ranged from start-ups to major companies including People for Urban Progress, Whirlpool, TinderBox, and The Institute for Affordable Transportation. This year’s Kickoff event was a great opportunity to meet the faces of Centric and its already strong community of supporters.

The Indiana Innovation Awards Kickoff, held at Indy’s startup work-space The Speak Easy, attracted everyone from curious first-timers to one of last year’s award winners Delta Faucet Company. The evening began with nametags and introductions over snacks and drinks; when the warmth of chatter and smiles was at an optimal level, the lights were dimmed and keynote speaker David Crosswhite of ITC Business Group, LLC addressed the crowd on the “Principles of Innovation”. A great take-away from Crosswhite’s shared experiences was a lesson on the ‘conventions’ about a business. “Before with get to ‘it’, we have to know what ‘it’ is. What ideas, practices, and pre-conceived notions already exist for the business or product?” explained Crosswhite. Innovation can come from the most unlikely, and sometimes the most obvious inspirations, but a company can miss out on the clues if they don’t look backward before looking forward.

The true rallying cry of the Kickoff, as with all Centric events, was to start conversations and share. Centric board member Deryl Sweeney explained that one of the reasons Indiana is not generally recognized for its trailblazing innovations is because the innovators aren’t talking about it. “The Midwest is too humble” said Sweeney, “Let’s talk about innovating successes, great ideas, failed ideas. We can all learn and work better if we share these ideas.” This is why Centric was created, to bring together the creative minds of the community to share in what they do: what works, what has not worked, and what they would like to work. Centric hosts luncheons around Indianapolis  on the last Friday of each month to encourage people to meet up and get talking. The meet-ups facilitate not only the sharing of ideas, but the opportunity to share resources, support one another, and develop new relationships/partnerships. Anyone can attend and get involved, and judging by the varied crowd in attendance to the Indiana Innovation Awards Kickoff, no business is too big, too small, or too different to be welcome.

This event was very inspiring for Creative Indiana, founded in Bloomington, INon August 2011 with the mission of “Unleashing the Power of Creativity in Community, Business & Education.”  Creative Indianakicks off the fall with the I.D.E.A.S. Network, Bloomington’s local version of collective conversations about innovative and creative practices in our community. The name I.D.E.A.S. is an acronym for our plan of action: Initiate, Develop, Evaluate, Activate, and Sustain ideas. At these meetings we will not only talk about ideas but discuss how to turn good ideas into great ideas and, furthermore, into reality.

The purpose is to network with other innovation seekers or enthusiasts. Guests include advocates for creativity and innovation along with anyone tired of the same old ineffective answers in business, education, community or personal challenges. IDEAS Network will encourage competency in creative process and thinking by facilitating guests to use their own ingenuity to provide new insights and ideas. Both guests and sponsors benefit from this interactive dialog. I.D.E.A.S. Network will be held monthly at various locations inBloomington.

Because of our common goals, Creative Indiana is proud to partner with Centric in promoting the Indiana Innovation Awards. The deadline for submissions is July 26, 2013. Award winners will be announced at the Centric Innovation Conference September 12th 2013.  Creative Indiana will not only be there, but we hope to bring plenty of Bloomington nominees with us. The nomination phase is now open; to enter your business or organization (or nominate another) please visit www.indianainnovationawards.com.

In the meantime, keep an eye on our website Creative Indiana for upcoming news about the I.D.E.A.S. Network. For more information contact Ladi Terry at 812-219-4493 or ladi@successworkonline.com

Helpful Links:

Indiana Innovation Awards
Creative Indiana

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