Offering deep dives on trends, thought-provoking insights and unique networking opportunities, innovation conferences can be one of the richest sources of inspiration for any innovator. And the good news is that there are plenty of strong options to choose from again this year.
Here’s a look at ten of the top innovation conferences to check out in 2019 (listed in chronological order).
1. Epic International Summit (Jan 10-13) Ojai, California
Are you looking to grow your creative leadership skills? If so, then this annual four-day summit is for you. The Epic International Summit brings professionals from a wide range of industries and locations together for workshops, activities and sessions that ignite both creativity and innovation. This event stresses experiential learning and disconnecting from the fast-paced, over-complicated world (speakers and attendees are asked to go tech-free during the conference). You’ll hear from thought-leaders at organizations like Disney, NASA, Ancestry.com and more. Our very own Cherri Prince has even been invited to speak about key insights from Seed’s SheQ™ Study.
2. R&D Innovation Summit 2019 (March 4-5) Chicago, Illinois
Research and Development is essential for any business looking to create enduring innovation. Known as the conference that brings the world’s data community together, this R&D-focused summit will provide you with tools to implement innovation programs and insights to support your company’s future growth. Speakers from Allstate, Johnson & Johnson, and Lilly will cover a wide range of topics including: developing a successful R&D pipeline; establishing and improving processes; training and retaining teams to foster innovation; and leveraging inspiration from emerging industries.
3. Innovation Summit 2019 (March 7) Chicago, Illinois
Interested in harnessing the powers of artificial intelligence, block chain, quantum computing and other breakthrough technologies? Then you’ll want to make plans to join Fortune 500 leaders, policymakers, academics and disruptive entrepreneurs at the Innovation Summit where you’ll gain insights on how companies can leverage exponential technologies to shape progress. You’ll hear from thought-leaders at places like Airbus, Intel, Space Angels, The Economist and more about how to leverage the latest tech advancements to build an intelligent—and successful—company.
4. Retail Innovation Conference (May 6-8) Convene, New York
This conference, which grew more than 40% last year, brings together leaders from disruptive brands that are raising the bar in retail. Here, you’ll hear from senior-level executives at companies like Deloitte, The Home Depot, Wayfair, Boll and Branch and Ugg Australia as they share inspiring success stories, business insights and actionable takeaways. Plus, experience hands-on workshops and take advantage of open networking sessions to forge new connections in the industry. If you sign up for the All-Access Pass you’ll get VIP Access plus store tours on the Monday before the conference.
5. 99U (May 8-10) New York City, New York
Powered by Adobe, this vibrant conference with main stage talks, expert-led breakout sessions, hands-on workshops and organized networking events, offers one-of-a-kind live experiences that inspire creative professionals to bring their ideas to life. Oh, and this conference is known for its killer closing party at the Museum of Modern Art. So, if you are passionate about putting ideas into action and you like to have fun doing so, then you will love this conference. Be sure to sign up in advance as seats are limited.
6. Front End of Innovation Conference (May 14-16) Boston, Massachusetts
Seed Strategy is a proud sponsor of this year’s Front End of Innovation Conference. This three-day event takes place at the Seaport World Trade Center and offers unprecedented access to top innovators, tech evangelists, project and product managers, designers and R&D executives—connecting attendees with the people and insights they need to stay on top of trends, spark change and navigate new paths for growth. The conference features elite leaders at some of the world’s most ambitious companies (like Apple, Google and DowDuPont) giving talks geared towards merging company culture and innovation processes to excel in the marketplace. This conference is sure to leave you feeling inspired and ready to transform your thinking and your business.
7. Rise (July 8-11) Hong Kong
This legendary three-day conference is coined as, “the largest tech gathering in Asia” and Forbes calls it “the best technology conference on the planet.” A ticket to Rise actually gets you into 13+ independent conferences all under one roof. Each has its own stage, schedule, exhibition area, workshops, networking events and more, giving attendees (which come from over 150 countries) the opportunity to learn about every major industry touched by technology. Expect to see exhibitors and speakers from companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google, IBM, Mercedes-Benz and Microsoft, along with the latest superstar startups and more than 650 major media outlets from around the globe.
8. Future Festival (Oct 1-3) Toronto, Canada
Billed as a place for the world’s top innovators to prototype their future, this three-day conference hosted by Trend Hunter (a top trend firm) features engaging presentations, personalized innovation assessments and one-on-one consultations—plus the opportunity to engage in the same workshops that NASA used to prototype its mission to Mars. This conference will inspire you with next-level trends and consumer insights that will help you accelerate your future innovations. Plus, if you can’t make it to the main event, Future Festival is hosting one-day super sessions in several other locations throughout the year.
Here’s the list of Super Sessions:
New York (Jan 15)
Orlando (Jan 17)
Cincinnati (March 18)
Atlanta (March 20)
Seattle (May 13)
Minneapolis (May 15)
New York (May 16)
Berlin (June 27)
Los Angeles (July 15)
Philadelphia (July 17)
Chicago (July 18)
9. Harvest Summit (Oct 17-19) Sonoma County, California
Break out of industry silos and collaborate with a diverse group of leaders in technology, media, entertainment, food, wine and agriculture—all at one of the most beautiful places on the planet. This summit aims to facilitate the cross-pollination of inspiring ideas and a continuous exchange of transferable insights in order to spark innovation that can change the world. You’ll see attendees from a wide range of companies (including Nest, NBC, Impossible Foods, Instagram, PepsiCo, MGM, and Visa) and hear talks from leaders at organizations like Apple, Audi, Accenture, Google, Sales Force, James Beard Foundation and more. Joining innovators and influencers together with chefs, winemakers and artisans to discuss everything from raising capital, igniting transformational change and making a social impact, this inspirational one-day conference is sure to leave both your stomach and mind full… and happy.
The Harvest Summit is by invitation only. Click here to request an invitation or make a nomination.
10. Fast Company Innovation Festival (Date TBD) New York, 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.
So, which of these innovation conferences sounds the most inspirational to you? Will you be attending any of them? Are there any others you think we should add to the list? We’d love to hear from you—drop me an email or connect with me on LinkedIn.
Interested in seeing what conferences made our list in the past? Check out our previous favorites below…
Jeff Johns is SVP, Creative at Seed Strategy where he consistently delivers breakthrough creative at lightning speed across a wide range of best-in-class design practices: packaging, branding, shelf aisle optimization and advertising.
Edited by Adam Siegel. In addition to being the Editor of The Accelerator, Adam is a Creative Director at Seed Strategy where he draws upon his diverse experience in advertising, research and innovation to craft breakthrough creative and winning concept copy.