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Coming Soon! | Innovation Academy Preview

By: Ryan Randall

Orlando Inc. (Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce) is hosting the Innovation Academy on October 6, 2017 at The GuideWell Innovation Theater at Lake Nona. The one-day event will have a collection of Central Florida’s top 200 business members and graduating seniors from high schools in the area. The event is also part of Innovate Orlando, a week dedicated to industries and events, and geared towards celebrating the advancements in the region.

The event is an opportunity for those in the business sector to share information with other members of all experience levels. Each speaker will present a topic in a TED Talks-style manner, allowing for a few questions after. Speakers will discuss how new technologies are emerging in Central Florida and what the business community can do to best use them.

For Jim Thomas, executive director of the ORCC, being aware of new technologies is also something businesses can use to stay ahead of trends in the marketplace. Thomas noted eight technologies that could be beneficial (or disruptive, depending on utilization) for companies: artificial intelligence, augmented reality, block chain technology, drones, Internet of Things (IoT),
robots, 3D printing and virtual reality.

Thomas cited examples, including how block chain technology’s digital ledger could affect audit companies and how robots could revolutionize drug discovery and surgery in health care.


“That’s what I hope people can take away from it, because in the course of one day we’re not going to solve all these issues, but we can start to frame people’s minds about what to look for, how to look for it and provide examples of that,” Thomas said. “Then when they see that, we also want to have the conversation regarding how they look at innovation from an internal perspective and if they have processes in place to update their businesses.”

“During the course of the event, there will be ample opportunities for people to mingle, discuss what they heard that day, and talk about working together to maximize these opportunities.” – Jim Thomas

In addition to discussing new technologies companies should be aware of, event speakers will talk about the privatized space industry, simulation and modeling industry, health and wellness, as well as gaming and augmented reality companies. Thomas said that opportunities associated with the addition of the BRIDG facility will also be discussed.

Thomas noted that in previous years the event has been well received, especially because the speakers and topics discussed have brought attention to where industries are headed, such as space tourism.

“The goal is to take a day, get people focused, bring in speakers who are really leading in certain industries and have them talk about where these industries are headed,” Thomas said. “Next year is when space tourism really starts, and people don’t realize it’s coming and will have a huge impact on the region.”

Where We Are and Where We Are Going

One of the themes of the Innovation Academy is to examine the resources Central Florida has and where it needs to get stronger. Thomas hopes the event will also provide the opportunity for a collaboration of ideas between individuals, which will lead to companies being pitched to industry leaders and possibly even new business creation.

“We thought if we could get some great minds and business leaders in the same room talking about growing industries and new technologies, it could lead to good things,” he said. “During the course of the event, there will be ample opportunities for people to mingle, discuss what they heard that day, and talk about working together to maximize these opportunities.”

The Innovation Academy will be a multi-faceted event, as business owners, key industry voices and graduating high school seniors discuss topics designed to inform and prepare businesses for future changes to their industries. For more information on Innovation Academy and how to attend the event, contact Kellie Pinel at 407-835-2532 or Kellie.Pinel@Orlando.org

The Innovation Academy is presented by FAIRWINDS Credit Union and  Orlando, Inc.’s higher education supporters,
Webster University and Orange Technical College.

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i4 Business

i4 Business magazine has become one of the most trusted voices for and about the Central Florida business community. Each month through our print and digital platforms, we provide access to meet, to learn from and to learn about some of the incredible entrepreneurs and business leaders who are shaping our region.

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