Ignite Innovation Nights - Building Your Innovation Community


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I gave this presentation at Ignite, June 1, 2014 in Las Vegas as part of the UP Summit. It talks about how we started Innovation Nights in the Boston region.

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  • Pre-event we use our “gaggle” to promote each product and the live event. Those tweets, LinkedIn mentions, and Facebook posts have a combined reach of 6 million, 378 thousand, 255. In addition, the events themselves and the post event postings generated another 10 thousands tweets, reaching another 6 million plus.
  • Yes, there’s a failure rate in all business. But 394 MIN alumni still in business is impressive.
  • 20 products or companies were acquired or merged
  • 91 of our alumni have since brought additional new products to market.
  • Ignite Innovation Nights - Building Your Innovation Community

    1. 1. We Do Some of Our Best Work at Night… And So Can You!
    2. 2. It was 2008/2009… • “U.S. Economy In ‘Shambles’ No Signs of Recovery Yet” • "Global Economic Shock Worse Than Great Depression" • "Financial Crisis Spreads Throughout Europe"
    3. 3. Innovation Days…
    4. 4. Innovation Nights… • In Boston area, MIN hosts a free- to-attend event featuring 10 new products every month. • Guests help spread the word using social media • The model is ‘frictionless,’ there is no cost to exhibit or attend. • Hosting locations get foot-traffic and sponsors connect with local community for visibility, new business and new hires.
    5. 5. Quick! Think of a product… Help local companies generate buzz for their new products.
    6. 6. How Do We Help? GUESTS represent a wide range of students, investors, entrepreneurs, and social media mavens • Learn about exciting local products and companies • Develop relationships and connections • Promote their own businesses and services • Support start-ups and local innovation with their knowledge and social media/community influence
    7. 7. Serious Reach 11,163 Tweets → 6,378,255
    8. 8. 394/500 Still In Business
    9. 9. 20 Acquired or Merged
    10. 10. 91 have since launched other new products
    11. 11. $700 million + VC, angel, investor, grants, and awards Photo by Janet Egan
    12. 12. Grass Roots ‘R’ Us… SPONSORS/HOSTS help defray the costs events and/or provide a venue, contribute event prizes • But still we have homemade signs • Make your own name badge • Ugly newsletter…and presentations
    13. 13. Newsletter? It’s Ugly too… Newsletter promotes the products, the next event and other community events…the competition. • Weekly to more than 10,000 subscribers • It’s all about the community • “How can we help?”
    14. 14. It’s a FREE event • Keep expectations low: • WiFi doesn’t work? • Food? • Weird table in the lobby? • No tablecloths
    15. 15. We’re Friendly… Think of a church social. New here? Raise your hand. Someone will come over to say “hello.” Jump up and tell us you’re hiring. Meet your neighbors.
    16. 16. • Physical program • A short hashtag • QR codes lead to mobile page • Not into social media? That’s OK too! Make it easy: Guests
    17. 17. • Detailed instructions • Checklists • An experienced guide • Attend an event first Make it easy: Exhibitors
    18. 18. Mass Innovation Nights • Every second Wednesday • Try new things but keep it consistent • Move around to get new audiences • Up to #MIN63 Consistency helps…
    19. 19. Your community: • Community involvement • Everyone helps • No carpetbaggers! Local Support for Local Products
    20. 20. You Can Do it too! @MassInno