Public Release: 

National event to explore innovation models; showcase university innovation center

Case Western Reserve University Innovation Summit 2015: Models of Innovation on Oct. 26-28 will attract entrepreneurs, researchers, business and policy leaders and economic development professionals

Case Western Reserve University

CLEVELAND--Case Western Reserve University will host Innovation Summit 2015: Models of Innovation to explore the opportunities and challenges of various models of innovation at the global scale.

On Oct. 26-28, corporate leaders, entrepreneurs, academic experts and policy makers nationally will examine how diverse regions and industries leverage their strengths to fuel new companies, products, technologies and ideas.

Trends such as the maker movement, startup accelerators and community building are helping cultivate ecosystems of innovation that can improve economic opportunity and education, and create cultural amenities. Regions from Silicon Valley to a revitalized Rust Belt--as well as various industries--have created differing models that capitalize on these opportunities. The summit will explore the impact of these models and how they can be replicated.

The summit also will give attendees an opportunity to explore the first phase of Case Western Reserve University's think[box], one of the world's largest university-based innovation and entrepreneurship centers. The complex is the center of a dynamic innovation model that is helping to transform Cleveland.

"Innovation is now the primary way that we create growth, prosperity and environmental sustainability, and achieve social responsibility and national security," said Curt Carlson, former president and CEO of SRI International and a summit keynote speaker. "We need to get profoundly better in these spaces. So this conference really does hit one of the major issues of the world today, and it has an amazing lineup of some of the most seminal thinkers in this field."

World-renowned presenters and panelists will offer insight into emerging themes and provide examples of innovative constructs and partnerships. Confirmed speakers include:

  • Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari and Chuck E. Cheese;

  • Jim Clifton, CEO of Gallup Inc.;

  • Jeff Hoffman, co-founder of;

  • Dale Dougherty, founder and CEO of Make: Magazine;

  • Curt Carlson, former president and CEO of SRI International;

  • Cheryl Martin, founder of Harwich Partners and former acting director of the federal Advanced Research Projects Agency--Energy;

  • Craig Maxwell, corporate vice president of technology and innovation for Parker Hannifin;

  • Susan Helper, chief economist for the U.S. Department of Commerce;

  • And other top names in industry, community development, tech wizardry, venture capitalism and academia.

"What is really novel about the conference is its comprehensive approach," said Joe Jankowski, Case Western Reserve's chief innovation officer. "While the value of innovation is generally regarded, most practitioners fail to recognize the need for a multidisciplinary, connected approach. The summit will concentrate on this by exploring views and opportunities under lenses that expand beyond technologically advanced innovation drivers to include innovation in neighborhoods, education, sustainability and legal and capital markets."

Highlighting think[box]

As a special spotlight during the summit, Case Western Reserve will open the doors to the first phase of think[box], the centerpiece to its ecosystem of innovation. At 50,000 square feet, think[box] is one of the world's largest university-based innovation and entrepreneurship centers, and features a suite of resources to allow users to transform an idea into a market-ready product under one roof.

The newly renovated building houses ample collaboration space, top-of-the-line prototyping equipment, a fabrication workshop, business resources and intellectual property and legal assistance and even incubator space to grow promising startups.

"We've spent a lot of time developing think[box] and integrating it within our community," said Lisa Camp, associate dean for strategic initiatives at the university's engineering school. "That's part of what inspired this summit--we've created a model that works for us and we want to share that model with others. Think[box] isn't sector-specific or discipline-specific, but it does fit our region. We want to explore the intersections of innovation in different sectors and geographies to see where we can find new inspirations and processes that work."

Summit Agenda

During the summit's three-day agenda, speakers and sessions will explore such topics as:

  • The common themes of innovation that extend beyond sector and technological boundaries

  • The impact of geographic regions on innovation

  • The changing face of manufacturing, healthcare and energy nationally

  • The challenges and growth areas of financing early-stage ventures

  • How social entrepreneurship and grassroots groups are impacting innovation in our neighborhoods

Hot-topic, sector-specific breakout sessions running all day on Tuesday include: health care, design, social entrepreneurship and sustainability, education, capital markets, corporate innovation, advanced energy, additive manufacturing, the Internet of Things, university-industry partnerships and innovations in the legal sector.

Hands-on workshops on Wednesday offer attendees a chance to "Meet the Market" Shark-Tank¬ style by pitching their product ideas; get hands-on training in the trademarked "Vertical Innovation" process developed by global product design and business innovation firm Nottingham Spirk; see technological innovations in medical education; and academic makerspace explorations in conjunction with the Make Schools Alliance.

Register Now

Registration is now open--and attendees who register early can take advantage of a discounted registration fee of $425. (Registration is $475 after Sept. 1.) Registration includes access to all sessions and evening networking and social engagements, as well as breakfast and lunch for all three days.

The summit runs during a dynamic week of innovation events in the Cleveland area, including Cleveland Clinic's Medical Innovation Summit, the BioOhio Annual Conference and Cleveland Clinic's Nursing Innovation Summit. There are opportunities for attendees to join sessions across summits and participate in collaborative events.

Registration information, a full list of speakers and the conference agenda are available at Follow @cwru and #cwruinnovation on Twitter for additional event details.

Summit sponsors include the Burton D. Morgan Foundation, Things Remembered, Case Western Reserve University Office of the Provost and Case School of Engineering. To learn more about becoming a sponsor, contact Tiffany McNamara at or 216.368.0748.


Case Western Reserve University is one of the country's leading private research institutions. Located in Cleveland, we offer a unique combination of forward-thinking educational opportunities in an inspiring cultural setting. Our leading-edge faculty engage in teaching and research in a collaborative, hands-on environment. Our nationally recognized programs include arts and sciences, dental medicine, engineering, law, management, medicine, nursing and social work. About 4,200 undergraduate and 5,600 graduate students comprise our student body. Visit to see how Case Western Reserve thinks beyond the possible.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.