Top Innovation Conferences of 2024
Innovation conferences provide a unique opportunity to glean insights, build connections, and provide the just-right spark you need to jump-start your next ground-breaking innovation. Thankfully for marketers and innovators, 2024 has plenty of great ones to choose from.
Here’s a look at some of the top innovation conferences worth checking out in 2024. (Listed in chronological order.)
Expo West (March 12-16) Anaheim, California
70,000+ people will converge in Anaheim to get a glimpse of the latest natural and organic offerings in the food, beverage, health and beauty categories. This show-stopping event combines a massive 550,000 square feet of product exhibition together with rich education sessions to provide incredibly fertile ground for insights, inspiration and discovery of the latest trends, ingredients, technology, consumer tensions/need-states and category disruptors.
Shoptalk (March 17-24) Las Vegas, Nevada
Shoptalk offers the perfect intersection of retail, technology and innovation. Here, 10,000+ retail innovators and changemakers come together every year to create the future of retail and gain insights and perspective not found anywhere else. The event covers the latest industry innovations, technologies, trends and business models, as well as the rapid transformation of what consumers discover, shop for and buy—everything ranging from apparel and electronics to beauty and grocery. Attendees are promised to have unprecedented access to giants and trailblazers in AI, retail media networks, supply chain, logistics, store operations, marketing and more.
American Food Innovate Summit (March 26-27) Atlanta, Georgia
This summit brings innovators in the food industry together for networking, learning and collaborative discussions about how food is thought about, created, distributed and enjoyed. Attendees will have the ability to choose from several diverse topics to dive into as leaders from large companies share case studies and valuable lessons on innovation, technology, R&D and formulation. Event-goers will also get the opportunity to meet solution providers and attend rich networking events.
Supply Side East (April 16-17) Secaucus, New Jersey
Supply Side East is where health and nutrition innovators and industry professionals from across the globe come together to connect with suppliers and service providers, network with more than 3,000 industry experts, discover the newest and most innovative ingredients on the market, and dive into the latest science and trends in key categories like beverages, women’s health and healthy aging. If the dates for Supply Side East don’t fit your schedule, you can check out Supply Side West, October 28th through November 1st in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Retail Innovation Conference & Expo (June 4-6) Chicago, Illinois
Join 5,000+ senior leaders and experienced executives for inspirational discussions about the most pressing topics in retail, including the evolution of the customer journey, and how new marketing channels, community platforms and commerce technologies are embedding commerce into everything we do. The agenda for 2024 features 3 content tracks—Content, Community and Commerce—as well as a variety of innovative technology case studies. Whether you want to meet fellow industry leaders and organizations to accelerate business outcomes, stay ahead of emerging trends, connect with industry colleagues or advance your career, RICE 2024 promises to provide a rich, dynamic environment to explore promising new business possibilities.
Social Innovation Summit (June 4-5) Chicago, Illinois
This annual event brings top social impact leaders from around the world together for two days of top-tier programming, discussions, debates and unique VIP networking opportunities. The summit attracts leaders in technology, investment, philanthropy, international development and business to investigate solutions and catalyze inspired partnerships that are committed to disrupting history. Past speakers include Ja Rule, Al Roker, Shaquille O’Neal, Selena Gomez, John Calipari and Percy “Master P” Miller, as well as senior representatives from Tesla, YouTube, Nike, Lyft, Starbucks, PwC, Sephora and more.
Front End of Innovation Conference (June 10-12)Boston, Massachusetts
Going strong for over two decades, this long-running event has garnered a proud reputation for delivering diverse formats, first-look content and some of the brightest minds of the 21st century. This year’s summit will focus on helping innovators balance the need for both immediate-term growth and long-term resilience. Attendees will join innovators, R&D executives, commercial strategy experts and transformation teams from around the world to identify emerging trends, learn from industry leaders and build foundational networks that will empower them to forge growth and resiliency in ways that strengthen their organizations (and themselves) against future headwinds.
Global Summit—The Consumer Goods Forum (June 11-14) Chicago, Illinois
This event is hosted by The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF)—a unique CEO-led group that focuses on helping the world’s retailers and consumer goods manufacturers collaborate alongside other key stakeholders to secure consumer trust, drive positive change and redefine a collective future in the consumer goods industry. Conference attendees will have the opportunity to engage with hundreds of fellow CEOs and C-Suite executives from across the globe for a series of unmissable plenary sessions, networking events, special breakouts and more. This year’s summit will focus on a diverse range of topics including embracing AI, building more resilient businesses, decoding evolving consumer trends, championing DEI, implementing eco-friendly design, prioritizing human rights and establishing employee well-being programs.
TechConnect World Innovation Conference & Expo (June 17-19) Washington, D.C.
This unique conference brings together top applied research and early-stage innovations from universities, labs and startups with corporations that can help commercialize, adopt, buy, re-sell and invest in those technologies. The event covers a wide variety of sectors (including advanced materials, electronics, nanotech & microsystems, space technology, defense technology, energy, sensors, medical & biotech, logistics & communication, smart cities, data & AI, mobility/transportation, advanced manufacturing, and agriculture/food & personal care) and presents an excellent opportunity to meet key innovation players and stakeholders all in one place.
Creative Problem Solving Institute Conference (June 23-27) Buffalo, New York
Creativity breeds innovation and there is no better way to sharpen your creativity than by attending CPSI. The CPSI conference has been inspiring minds and elevating ideas for over 60 years—making it the longest-running creativity conference in the world. Attendees can choose from several experiential programs that will help them stretch their creative limits via hands-on workshops and inspiration from renowned speakers, giving them and their organizations the skills needed to stay competitive in today’s rapidly changing world.
Summer Fancy Food Show (June 23-25) New York City, New York
Summer Fancy Food Show (the largest trade-only specialty food event in the U.S.) attracts thousands of makers, buyers, brokers, distributors and other industry professionals for three days of product discovery, trend spotting, networking and business opportunities. In addition to seeing thousands of the newest and most innovative specialty food and beverage products on display, attendees have access to education and main-stage sessions that promise to provide rich insight into consumer research, product trends, transformational technological advancements and innovative marketing techniques.
Fast Company Innovation Festival (September 16-19) New York City, New York
The Fast Company Innovation Festival features a full slate of talks by big-name speakers, immersive hands-on workshops and Fast Tracks field trips—intimate, behind-the-scenes tours of some of the most dynamic companies in NYC. The flexible format of this weeklong conference allows attendees to craft their own inspiring agendas, mixing creativity, design, leadership, social good, tech and more for a uniquely customized experience.
Future Festival (October 1-3) Toronto, Canada
Billed as a place where the world’s top innovators come together to experience and create the future, this three-day, AI-infused conference is hosted by Trend Hunter and features engaging presentations, fresh data-driven insights, team workshops, trend safaris, personalized assessments and one-on-one consultations. The theme for this year’s event is, “The Year A.I. Changes You” and the agenda promises to help attendees immerse in the future, translate ideas into action, change the way they work and prepare to thrive in an AI-enabled world.
Groceryshop (October 7-9) Las Vegas, Nevada
Groceryshop dives into the future of grocery retailers (supermarkets, mass merchants, convenience stores, drug stores, club/warehouse stores, discount stores and ecommerce players) as well as the rapid changes in the production and distribution of consumer products including fresh and packaged foods and beverages along with beauty, personal care, household and health products. The conference addresses the evolution of how consumers discover, shop and buy these products in a digital age, including the latest innovations, technologies, trends and business models.
HLTH (October 20-23) Las Vegas, Nevada
This conference brings together more than 10,000 top-level leaders, innovators and pioneers from across the entire health ecosystem (payers, providers, employers, investors, startups, life sciences, policymakers and innovation centers) to push the boundaries of health and care by finding innovative solutions to the industry’s most pressing problems. The four-day event is full of mission-driven initiatives, unparalleled experiences with industry-leading speakers, learning sessions facilitated by top health and political leaders, and plenty of opportunities to collaborate and network.
IMPACT (October 23-25) Boston, Massachusetts
Organizers call this “the world’s most useful event for anyone working in strategy, innovation, design, R&D and emerging tech inside a large organization” (including private and public companies; nonprofits and NGOs; and government agencies). The event features fireside chats, workshops, case studies, breakouts and one-to-one meetings focusing on innovation best practices, emerging technologies and new experiments, and professional development. Previous speakers include senior executives from Google, 3M, Dole Sunshine, Lucasfilm, General Mills, Lyft, Kickstarter, Williams-Sonoma, IBM, Bose, Converse, Citi, Samsung, Tiffany & Co., Ford, Hain Celestial, Ralph Lauren, Kellogg’s, Walmart, NASA, Harvard Business Review and more.
Innovation Roundtable Summit (November 5-7) Copenhagen, Denmark
Started in 2014, the Innovation Roundtable Summit has rapidly become the world’s biggest gathering of innovation executives from large multinational firms—providing a unique setting for in-depth dialogue and valuable networking among corporate peers. Attendees experience three highly interactive days of peer-to-peer exchange and learning on key innovation topics, and can tailor their experience around eight different themes: Business Model Innovation, Intrapreneurship & Future Scenarios; Culture & Leadership for Innovation & Agility; Digital Innovation & Transformation; AI, IoT, Data & Emerging Technologies; Design Thinking, Customer Centricity & Front End; and Innovation for Sustainability Circularity & Net Zero. This already-largest-of-its-kind event has grown further to also include dedicated programs for corporate executives working in HR and Marketing. All three summits are held at the same venue and are accessible with the same ticket, facilitating cross-domain learning that promises to spark innovation and transformational growth.
Epic International Summit (TBD) TBD
The Epic International Summit brings professionals from a wide range of industries and locations together to disconnect from technology, disrupt the status quote and discover new ideas that will ignite professional, personal and social innovation. This event provides an immersive opportunity with a combination of experiential learning, pause, ingenuity and community engagement designed to spark creative leadership for the increasingly complex world. Here, attendees will have the opportunity to cross-pollinate with dynamic experts during interactive experiential sessions, exclusive interviews, focused panels and innovation awards—all purposefully designed to inspire and celebrate ingenuity.
Written by Adam Siegel. Adam is the editor of The Accelerator and a Senior Strategist at Seed Strategy where he draws upon his diverse experience in advertising, research, brand management, new product development and copywriting to help clients craft breakthrough innovation and brand strategy.