One Man’s Perspective on Why Innovate Raleigh Is Important

Innovate RaleighLast Thursday afternoon was the latest installment of Innovate Raleigh, Innovate Raleigh 2013: Building on the Past, Creating the Future.  If you are a newer reader to my blog, or just not sure what Innovate Raleigh is, you can get an understanding of it from previous post here and here.  Although I have been to several of the meetups over the past year or so, this event was, in my opinion, something special.  Most of the previous meetups were evening affairs that informed the community about some industry or something specific that is going on in Raleigh that is innovative in some way.  Typically before and after the main event, there was open networking and some good food and drinks as well.

Well, this one still had a great session of open networking and some great food and drinks from Bolt Bistro & Bar.  But that was the only thing that was the same.

The event started at 4:00 at 227 Fayetteville, a building that has been vacant for the last several years.  Now, I will admit that something occurring on a workday during normal work hours needs to be a big event, or people will generally not see the value of coming and will likely prioritize work over the event.  Well, people saw the value as there were over 200 people in attendance to listen to a number of “lightning round presentations”.  Topics included:

  • An update of the Innovate Raleigh initiative
  • Local entrepreneurial hot spots
  • Triangle’s new Digital Front Door
  • Arts and Creativity (including the new Nerds prduction that is looking at getting on Broadway)
  • NC State’s Springboard initiative
  • Rex Health Ventures Fund
  • The Rebirth of 227 Fayetteville
  • The Sharefile/Citrix move to downtown Raleigh.

Each session was like gold and all that were in attendance were fixated on the various speakers at the.

Afterwards, there were breakout sessions that people could let the moderators talk about a variety of topics:

  • What initiatives should be tackled at the next Raleigh Innovation Summit
  • Where do arts and creativity fit in to the equation?
  • How can we use open source to build an innovation community?
  • What can we do to better support entrepreneurs?
  • How do we attract more funding to the region?
  • How can public / private partnerships better serve our community?
  • What’s the big idea for Dix Park?
  • What community initiatives will make Raleigh an even better place to live?
  • How do we better tell Raleigh’s story?

You can review these topics from the Triangle Wiki site of the event.

Many of the over 200 attended at least one of the breakout sessions.  For those that did not, the topics of discussion were the same.  Afterwards the topics we continued through a myriad of conversations that people were having that ran through 7:00 and later.

So, why would over 200 professionals, local civic leaders, and entrepreneurs want to come to an event like this on a very cold Thursday afternoon?  It may have been the tasty adult beverages.  But, I think the answer is simple and profound at the same time.  They all want to focus to make Raleigh better.  Raleigh already gets a lot of national press coverage as being one of the “Best (fill in the blank) Cities in America”.  But all the accolades in the world do not mean a thing if the city, and its citizens, cannot rally and proactively make it the place to be for companies that are already here and those looking at moving to the area, economic growth and development, and, yes, innovation.

And without innovation, the rest of the world will fly by us at an alarming rate.

–J. Nolfo helps companies understand their market and customers though a variety of market research strategies. He has over ten years of experience of market research for strategic planning purposes. He is the Director of Research at Rhino Market Research. He shares his thoughts about market research and business concepts with his blog “The Rhino Crash Blog…Understanding Market Research in Business“. If you would like to discuss this blog or how J. can help you understand your market and customer needs, email him at


About J. Nolfo
Well...there is a lot to know. #Cx, #Analytics, #SM, Specialty #AgChem, #StL sports, & more. FT @BASFAgProducts. @Mizzou Alum. Supporter of the #Rhino. Tweets my own. #SMMW17 attendee....Dad...Hiker...Scouter...and so much more.

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