Innovate Carolina Network Forums

Innovation rising

Your inventive ideas, new projects or purposeful passions. How can you use the proven tools and methods of innovation and entrepreneurship to put them into motion? Join us for the Innovate Carolina Network Forums, a series of events that will bring the most effective strategies and tactics designed to help you make your ideas work.

This is your chance to connect with colleagues across campus, respected experts in industry and thought leaders from other institutions. Each month during the academic year, we’ll focus on topics designed for a mix of inspiration and information. You’ll walk away with a sense of the university’s strategic direction, practical how-to’s and personal connections.

Upcoming forums

How Crisis Sparks and Speeds Innovation

Wednesday, Oct. 7
9 - 10:30 a.m.
Zoom Webinar

Please join Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz and a community of fellow Carolina innovators on Wednesday, Oct. 7 for the 2020-21 Innovate Carolina Network Forum kickoff. We’ll explore how our campus, local region and society at large are confronting a convergence of crisis-level challenges: the COVID-19 pandemic, racial injustice, climate change, and others. We’re now called to innovate and find solutions to complex problems faster than ever. How are University problem solvers using the methods and tools of innovation to create positive and necessary disruptions at such a rapid pace? And how might we maintain a brisk and nimble approach to expand our future impact?

Previous forums: 2019-20

People, Programs, Tools and Technologies

Wednesday, Feb. 19
9 - 10:30 a.m.
Wilson Library (Pleasants Family Assembly Room)

At the next Innovate Carolina Network Forum, you’ll get the chance to connect with and learn about people, programs, tools and technologies from across the campus I&E network. After the forum, you’ll walk away with valuable insights that you can add to your own innovation toolkit – contacts and connections you can turn to when you need to solve problems.

Community-Engaged Innovation in Practice

Wednesday, Jan. 22
9 - 10:30 a.m.
Wilson Library (Pleasants Family Assembly Room)

The Innovate Carolina Network kicks off the year by exploring ways that campus programs engage with community organizations and partners to design innovations that help solve complicated problems. Join us at the first Innovate Carolina Network Forum of 2020, where you’ll learn from UNC-Chapel Hill faculty, staff and students who will share their own case studies and methods for co-designing creative solutions with the community.

Carolina Next: Innovations for Public Good

Wednesday, Nov. 20
9 - 10:30 a.m.
Wilson Library (Pleasants Family Assembly Room)

In 2017, UNC-Chapel Hill launched “The Blueprint for Next,” the University’s overarching strategic framework with two core strategies – “Of the Public, for the Public” and “Innovation Made Fundamental.” Join Provost Bob Blouin and Vice Chancellor Judith Cone at this month’s Innovate Carolina Network Forum to brainstorm together how the Innovate Carolina Network of partners can work to make sure these two core strategies are fully realized through our programs.

Idea-to-Impact Funding

Wednesday, Oct. 9
Noon - 1:30 p.m.
Graham Memorial (Kresge Foundations Common Room)

Join us at the next Innovate Carolina Network Forum to connect with several leaders from among the 25+ on-campus programs that provide funding to Carolina innovators and entrepreneurs. You’ll hear a panel discussion featuring programs that fund a wide spectrum of ideas: pilot programs, new technologies, startup companies, social ventures, entrepreneurship projects, innovative course redesigns, and more.Bring your questions, and our panel of funding experts will spark an interactive conversation about how our Carolina innovation community can design the most effective funding programs for the future: What are the obstacles to funding? Do we have the right funding mix for students and faculty? How do we maximize the impact of small-seed funds? What are some creative ways to supplement the dollars that people receive?

Innovation by Design

Friday, Sept. 13
9 - 11 a.m.
The Carolina Inn - Chancellor's Room

Please join us for the 2019-2020 Innovate Carolina Network Forum Series kickoff. Interim Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz will join us to launch a series of six events over the coming year that will engage your help in designing the next ways forward for innovation and entrepreneurship at UNC. Bring your ideas, your challenges and your creative energy, and we will bring experts in design-thinking who will help us all reflect on key challenges and initiate new strategies for tackling big questions: How do we develop the future workforce with an innovation mindset and skillset? How do we infuse research, expertise and entrepreneurship into the community? What’s the potential for building strategic partnerships for and through our work? How can we the theory and practice of innovaiton into all aspects of our work?

Previous forums: 2018-19

Diversity Thrives on Innovation

Thursday, Feb. 21
9 - 11 a.m.
Wilson Library, Pleasants Family Room

Innovation thrives on diversity; diversity of experience, diversity of background, diversity of academic discipline, and diversity of opinion. Join us to learn how innovators are embracing the power of diversity more than ever. Find out how you can get involved and take the next steps in making our innovation and entrepreneurial community more open and diverse. You’ll walk away with a better understanding of how we can work together to accelerate ideas that make an economic and social impact across the local community, state and beyond.

Storytelling: Data + Impact

Wednesday, Jan. 16
9 - 11 a.m.
Hyde Hall (University Room)

Storytelling is a powerful tool. A compelling story that draws connections, evokes emotion and uses data for support can be the key to transforming an idea into an innovation that makes a broad impact in society. Reserve your seat for the first Innovate Carolina Network Forum of 2019. Professional storytellers and data enthusiasts will join us to share real-world examples and advice for how you can craft powerful stories that blend hard data and the human experience across different media. Breakfast will be provided.

Storytellers Studio: The Science and Art of Communicating Impact

Thursday, Nov. 29
Time TBD
Location TBD

You’re working on an incredible program or idea. And you’re absolutely positive that people will be extremely interested in getting involved. Until they’re not. Why do some ideas and initiatives stick, while others get lost in the mix? Often, it’s a matter of storytelling. No matter how important your work is, people will never fully engage with your program unless you can explain what you’re doing in a clear and compelling way – and convey why it matters to them. The key is tapping into the fact that humans are hardwired to love stories. What are the secrets to telling stories that pique people’s interest and inspire them to get involved? How can you use data and visual storytelling to show the impact of your work? And how can you explain things that are complex in a simpler way so that everyone understands the real-world difference your work makes?

Registration opens soon

Talent: The Currency of Innovation

Wednesday, Oct. 31
Toy Lounge (Dey Hall)

Students in today’s Innovation Generation enter a workforce where changes in technology, processes and culture outpace our capacity to adapt. In this environment, emerging and established industries demand an innovation mindset and skillset —  in areas such as entrepreneurship, design thinking, creativity, idea prototyping, data and technology. How do we prepare students to be highly adaptable participants in an innovation workforce? What are the building blocks of knowledge and experience that will help them? And how can today’s professionals tap into similar learning modes to adapt their own journeys?

Innovating Together, For All

Wednesday, Sept. 5
8:30 a.m.
Gerrard Hall

Carolina’s uniquely connected I&E network and interdisciplinary culture has become a platform that students and faculty use to launch inventive ideas and solve big problems. Guided by the University’s strategic framework The Blueprint for Next, how will we build on success and scale innovation at Carolina to the next level? Join Chancellor Carol Folt to hear about UNC’s role as an innovation leader and where we’re headed. What key strategies and initiatives will the University pursue? How can we infuse the theory and practice of innovation into our everyday work? And what can we learn from innovation models adopted by other universities and private industry?