Boston is preparing to host the Front End of Innovation Conference (FEI)—a premier innovation conference that industry executives rely on to stay on top of trends and create effective innovation roadmaps.
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 spark change and navigate new paths for growth.
Burke and Seed (a proud sponsor of this year’s conference) will be well-represented in Beantown with Cherri Prince, Chris Faldetta, Thania Farrar and Roxanne Sachtleben all looking forward to being among those in attendance.
I was fortunate enough to catch up with this fabulous foursome to get their thoughts prior to their trip.
What made you decide to attend the Front End of Innovation conference?
Chris: I really love that the conference has six different focus areas that will allow me to immerse in challenges and solutions from many different angles. Plus, this broad perspective is going to attract an amazing mix of people from across the industry, which is sure to breed a great cross-pollination of ideas.
Roxanne: For me, this conference is an excellent opportunity to hear great stories of growth mindsets, disruption and innovation. I’m going for these stories—their origins, tensions and the creative solutions they’ve produced.
Thania: Personally, I want to hear the latest approaches to innovation from people in the trenches. I’m super interested in hearing about how larger companies are keeping pace with smaller, nimbler players—and how those nimbler players respond.
Why is it important for Burke and Seed to be there?
Thania: Attending FEI provides great context for us as we seek to understand the challenges our clients face and allows us to find new paths to growth.
Roxanne: It’s imperative that Burke & Seed keep a pulse on the state of innovation to stay at the forefront of breakthrough ideas, techniques and methods—especially in today’s fast-paced, omni-channel world. When we know how to effectively push boundaries, we can better enable our clients to do so as well.
Chris: I totally agree, Roxanne. We’re constantly innovating our approach to innovation so we can successfully address the challenges our clients face—like how to differentiate in saturated categories, how to scale niche ideas, how to move quickly without sacrificing quality, etc. FEI brings some of the brightest innovators together to share stories—what better way to glean inspiration for how to do just that?
Cherri: Exactly! The theme of this year’s conference is having a “Growth Mindset.” At Seed, this means not resting on the way things have always been done. We know we must keep learning, growing, applying and connecting with others in innovation that have that same frame of mind. The speakers and topics at this year’s conference look like they will deliver on this in spades.
Which topics or trends will get most of your time and attention?
Cherri: It could be that I just watched Brené Brown’s Netflix special, Call to Courage, three times this past weekend, but I’m fascinated with her idea of “vulnerability” being the birthplace of creativity and innovation. This means running toward more risk, more uncertainty and more emotional exposure. I will be looking for stories and cultures filled with courage to test this hypothesis.
Chris: Oooh, I haven’t seen that one yet—I’ll definitely have to check it out! Personally, I’m really interested in Steve Wozniak’s presentation on the Future of Technology, for obvious reasons! And, I’ll be diving into a few of the design thinking sessions as well. I’m a big believer in a hands-on approach to identifying challenges and solving problems.
Roxanne: In terms of trends, I’ll be listening for insights around agility, applications of AI, and human-centered approaches—all of which are relevant across each of the industries I work with today.
I also want to go beyond the many success stories. I want to hear about what parts of our industry need new successes. From improving the concept test to scaling initiatives to where innovation stalls out–topics like these provide fascinating, thought-provoking opportunities to transform what is today into what could be tomorrow.
Any last thoughts or other things you are looking forward to?
Roxanne: I’m looking forward to spending time with some of my colleagues as we converge from around the U.S., seeing old acquaintances, and meeting new ones. And leaving Boston inspired for what’s next!
Cherri: I am a big believer in synchronicity and that there are no coincidences in the universe as long as you keep your heart and mind open. I’m most looking forward to hearing that gem of an insight in a presentation, seeing the old friend I haven’t seen in years and having the great conversations that will lead to something amazing. The hope and faith in the unpredictable. And maybe a lobster roll or two!
Adam Siegel is the Editor of The Accelerator and 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.