Leading by example, Innovision 2017, an event designed to promote and inspire innovation and new ideas, was in itself a new idea with a very different approach to the typical conference format. A highly interactive, educational networking opportunity, Innovision 2017 offered executives an environment of professional education and development paired with brainstorming, focus groups, and a casual, more intimate setting for bringing together solution providers and industry leaders to explore, technologies, tools and best practices.
While this is not a new conference, Innovision 2017 was planned and built off of the success of past events sponsored by i3 International, a global brand that provides digital video solutions to protect businesses and drive their bottom line. The Innovision conference in the past has been held every two years and had been more closely aligned as an i3 client and user group forum “on steroids.” This year’s event saw i3 partner with a small group of solution providers that co-sponsored the event and together, transformed the format into a world-class conference.
Vy Hoang, EVP of sales and marketing for i3 International, explained to attendees the mission and purpose of the event. “We wanted to reach out and put together a select group of best-in-class, non-competing solution providers and together, look at ways to inspire thought leadership, innovation and collaboration around both our collective, current solutions, as well as new ideas and new concepts for new solutions, and facilitate a sharing of these ideas and general best practices for the industry as a whole.”
With a kickoff reception on Monday evening, what would typically be a 60- to 90-minute cocktail reception for a quick meet-and-greet before the conference launch the next morning, this opening reception was a three-hour event in its own right. The reception was held in the beautiful courtyard of the Hyatt Pier 66 in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Along with great food and entertainment (including both a Grammy nominee and a former America’s Got Talent vocalist), the evening motivated attendees to connect and work as teams. Introductions were made in preparation for friendly competition that would soon come. A diverse group of professionals from across a variety of retail sectors came together quickly, breaking, and perhaps even melting the ice, to set the tone of engagement and cooperation that would serve well in the two days ahead.
Tuesday morning the bar was set exceptionally high with the opening keynote speaker, Craig Kielburger, co-founder of Free the Children and We.org. With a host of incredible stories, Craig shared his journey that began when he was just twelve years old. At that time, a group of kids his age came together to begin to raise money and awareness for the exploits of child slavery, human trafficking, and other such injustices around the world. What he started would later become a global movement. Inspirational and often funny, Craig left the crowd humbled by his amazing accomplishments and inspired action to not only support his cause—but any cause, in following both your heart and your mind when you believe in doing the right thing.
While a tough act to follow, the rest of the day Tuesday did not disappoint, with group discussions around millennials and the transformation of business and management styles through the variety and complexity of our multi-generational workforce; as well as discussion that stimulated the entrepreneurial leadership and innovative thinking that drove the spirit of the event. In the interim were roundtables and focus groups driving even more brainstorming.
Tuesday night saw the entire group come together for an i3 signature event called the Craze. While past Craze events have varied in theme, this Brazilian Carnival edition brought an evening of entertainment that partnered great food, samba and salsa music, professional dancers and even a little flame-throwing with networking and events that saw the teams from Monday night battling it out with dance and other contests throughout the night.
While many did not participate in the 6 am run on Tuesday morning, participation was better on Wednesday as a run to the beach and sessions at waterfront workout stations led by Vy from i3 got the blood pumping for another jam-packed day. Speakers included an outstanding kick-off keynote from AmyK Hutchens, whose leadership strategies and think tank workshops have helped drive success in businesses around the world. Her infectious energy and exceptional insights boosted the tone of innovation and laid a path for inspiring those “Eureka” moments that would stay with attendees long after the event was over. Dr. Ashley Lesko rounded out the day with exercises in managerial excellence, encouraging an introspective approach and collaboration of experiences between attendees to help inspire change and creative thinking in managing a diverse cast of characters in our own businesses.
Also announced Wednesday was the successful fundraising goals that were shattered in raising both awareness and money dedicated to help not just two, but three, women from Calcutta who had been destined for a life in the sex trade. These women will now benefit from learning new skills in manufacturing jewelry and other crafts to support a dramatic change in their future and that of their families.
The event closed Wednesday evening with an inclusive, semi-formal event with world-class entertainment, food, and more dancing. The closing event brought to mind the concept of Work Hard, Play Hard, as the group relaxed the mind from two intense days of thought leadership, absorbed new ideas and celebrated the new connections made possible by this exceptional event. Traditionally an event that has been held once every two years, with this year’s success, will we now see an Innovision 2018 instead? Stay tuned to find out.
LP Magazine’s EyeOnLP team was in attendance for all the festivities. Look for a video recap of the event in the coming week.