COIN Summit spotlights disruption of innovation

By: Marilyn Colter Monday August 31, 2015 0 comments Tags: Denver, 2015 COIN Summit, Gov. John Hickenloop, Michael Simpson, Sean Wise, Loretta McCarthy, OEDIT


DENVER -- Innovation is born of curiosity, collaboration, creation and community, according to speakers at the fourth annual COIN Summit held in Denver Aug. 24-25.COIN_logoUSE

COIN, the Colorado Innovation Network, was founded in 2011 by Gov. John Hickenlooper, who kicked off the event by urging attendees to imagine Colorado as an innovation center where businesses, government and communities collaborate to create a healthy community and environment.

Innovators cause disruption because they are discontented or uncomfortable with the status quo and lead the change that occurs in the world, according to Michael Simpson, author and serial entrepreneur. They create dynamic change because they are masters at asking questions and constantly seeking different ways to arrive at solutions, Simpson said.

Dr. Sean Wise, associate professor of entrepreneurship at Ryerson University in Canada, told COIN attendees that if a person is obsessive about an idea, has the skills to execute that idea and it satisfies a need, then he or she may well be an innovator.

But Wise said there are many other considerations. Not many innovative businesses will last for five years, he said, and the work to gather funding and do the “grunt work” is difficult. Wise, author of “Know When to Quit Your Day Job,” said one of the hurdles for entrepreneurs is in understanding how much opportunity exists in the world. Successful entrepreneurs should step up and reach out to young people to help open minds to new possibilities, Wise said.

Entrepreneurs, educators and venture capitalists are increasingly collaborating to build startup companies that will succeed. Loretta McCarthy, from the funding group, Golden Seed, said women business owners -- who have historically not received much venture capital -- are now benefiting from research that shows companies who include women executives or even have a women board member outperform companies who have no women executives, especially smaller companies.

Women entrepreneurs found 50 percent of new businesses but only 5 percent were funded by venture capitalists five years ago. In 2014, that funding had increased to 28 percent.

Speakers at the COIN Summit said they see a change in the way Americans will be working in the next 15 -20 years. Young people coming out of college now will be very different and will live differently. Milennials will change the work environment to include more flexible workplaces and fewer (or at least different) rules about dress, autonomy and jobs.

One scenario suggested that more than half of U.S. workers will be freelancers. They will work from home or coffee shops or restaurants or at the beach. They will collaborate more, live in smaller places and be more interested in the environment. They will be more involved in community and have much more autonomy in their health decisions.

Technology will free workers from tasks that are repetitive and allow them to think more to solve more complex problems. COIN speakers said robots will be useful but probably won’t be taking over those complex tasks, which may provide a better life for humans in carefully planned communities that will include a more stable economic environment and one that will be more healthy and interactive as people work together for a better life.

COIN is a privately funded organization and a division of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT).  


Marilyn Colter

About the Author: Marilyn Colter

Marilyn Colter is an award-winning journalist, author and university educator, published in literary, business, technical, and consumer magazines, newspapers, books and online publications. She has lived and worked in Northern Colorado almost long enough to be considered a Colorado native.