Innovation summit set to tackle global challenges

A new conference focused on innovative sustainability could connect marcom folks with experts from other fields.

Back in February, we wrote about finding ways to future-proof yourself and your business. Colleen DeCourcy, global co-ECD at Wieden + Kennedy, suggested getting out of your comfort zone by hitting up some non-marketing-related conferences. So if you’re a marketer or creative looking for a cool new conference outside the marcom space, focused on innovation and sustainability, and looking for collaborators in different industries to make your company and marketing better for the world, there may be a new conference for you.

The Action Partners Global Leadership and Innovation Summit, held in Toronto Oct. 20 to 21, is slated to tackle topics considered to be radical game changers like climate change, and challenges delegates to rethink the issues. Organized by Action Partners, an extension of Rethink Sustainability Initiatives (RSI), the summit targets mainly professionals who do not specifically work in areas of sustainability, but rather business people in all industries who are keen on incorporating it and innovation into their corporate culture.

The summit aims to bring people together looking to advance society and business, not just economically, but socially and environmentally, says Yasmin Glanville, founder and CEO, RSI. It will see delegates do more than listen to speakers and presentations, but form groups to discuss solutions and steps for action.

“What this summit’s about is what can be done and what you can do, as an individual, and then having people in the room say, ‘I do this, who wants to partner with me?’” she says.

As consumers and decision-makers today want companies to be transparent, marcom professionals would be wise to work with partners who have expertise in areas of sustainability, innovation and leadership as they pertain to new world challenges, she says.

The summit would put marcom folks in the same room as thought leaders active at the crossroads of sustainability, entrepreneurism, trade, leadership and innovation – “from Fortune 500 executives to emerging innovators and social entrepreneurs, who are developing new solutions to some of this era’s biggest challenges,” she adds.

Moreover, the conference will address major technological and social shifts currently occurring and under-the-radar trends expected to emerge more prominently in the next three to five years, says Glanville.

The two-day event will tackle climate change and wild weather and its impact on things like energy, food and technology. For example, when considering energy and carbon emission reduction, which clean technology solutions can be employed and how can solar and wind channels be stored to be accessible amid volatile weather, says Glanville.

Speakers include Dianne Dillon Ridgley, a board member of Interface who was part of former U.S. president Bill Clinton’s sustainable development council, and Dr. Blair Feltmate, chair of the University of Waterloo’s Climate Change Adaptation Project, who will examine how infrastructure adaptation projects can assist Canadian cities with the social and financial costs of extreme weather.

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