Student & industry leaders talk innovation

Fourth annual buisness summit sparks innovation

Thematic pannels at the summit included food, healthcare, leadership and venture capital.
Thematic pannels at the summit included food, healthcare, leadership and venture capital.
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Organizers of this year’s Innovation Summit aimed to push the “edge of innovation,” said Summit Committee Co-Chair Ali Husain.

A group of 11 Queen’s MBA students organized the fourth annual event, which was held on campus March 1 and 2.

“Our goal is to bring together industry leaders, corporate professionals, non-profits, and students alike, all people from the sphere of innovation together in one place,” said Husain, one of three committee co-chairs.

The theme of this year’s summit was “edge,” and it attracted about 190 attendees consisting of MBA students from across Ontario, business professionals and undergraduate students. The summit is the only one of its kind in Canada, and brings together business innovators from across the continent.

“I hope the summit generates new ideas to foster innovation in all types of industries,” Husain, MBA ’13, said. “I hope it makes you reflect on what innovation means to you.”

The summit consisted of four keynote addresses and 12 panels of discussion, with attendees each participating in four. For the first time this year, the summit was held entirely at Goodes Hall thanks to added space of the new building expansion.

This year’s summit included more guest speakers on each panel to increase speaker to participant ratio.

The committee wanted to recruit speakers who weren’t only experts, but approachable people who may become career mentors to the attendees, Husain noted.

“Conversations were rich because of different perspectives,” said speaker Christina Waters, MBA ’12.

Waters is a senior research and development business planner at Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.

“One thing that I love about this summit is that it’s not just about business. Unlike many other conferences that are centered on business, this one includes a variety of industries … for a wonderful mixing and blending of ideas,” she said.

Each panel was centered on a different theme, such as food, healthcare, leadership and venture capital. The panels consisted of three experts in the field, along with a professor as moderator.

Speaker and alumnus Ron Currie, MBA ’94, said he wanted to speak at the summit as a way to give back to Queen’s. Currie is the vice-president of communication and marketing at Saint Elizabeth Health Care, and he talked about new marketing innovation in healthcare, like crowdsourcing for ideas and solutions.

“It’s also a great opportunity to network and mix with people interested in business innovation and sharing ideas,” he said.

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