Opportunity Knocks!

March 23, 2011

Toby BarlowNobody who had the good fortune to attend the 2011 IDEA Conference: Detroit, came away unaffected.  Generously sponsored by Advertising Age and Crain’s Detroit Business and held at the Center for Creative Studies in the Taubman Center, the event delivered an overwhelming shot of inspirational juice for the approximately 400 entrepreneurs who attended this all day affair. The food wasn’t bad either.  Using a combination of video, panel discussion, an impressive list of ‘case study’ entrepreneurial success stories, effective audience participation, and ample time for socializing and net-working, the conference delivered on its premise with endless good ideas that will help unite people in a common cause to transform the metro Detroit region. I’m glad I took notes. I came home with a hand full of business cards and renewed confidence in the future of Detroit.

The pace of the presentations was fast and the content often riveting. Some of the ‘buzz words’ and ideas I took home include; crowd sourcing, eco-chic, achingly hip, twitter effect, world of transparency, social mission, the concept of Detroit as blank social and economic canvas, reality capitalism, the idea that everyone with a cell phone is a journalist, and remember to be careful about what you put in ‘the cloud’ because the internet never forgets.


Previous to this conference I confess to being skeptical about our homemade Chevy Volt. After the presentation by Tony Posawatz, GM’s main man in the Volt department, I became a true believer that GM is on the right path with this EREV  (that means …Extended Range Electric Vehicle).  Not be out done, Toby Barlow, from Team Detroit, the creative marketing arm of Ford Motor Company, gave a startling presentation on the behind the scenes work for reading the pulse of the car buying public and crafting a message they can relate to.

Another highlight of the conference was the presentation by Josh Linkner, founder and chairman of ePrize, the largest interactive promotions agency in the world.  Josh spoke in rational and straightforward terms


about the ‘creative process’ and acting as a change agent for innovation. Not only is Josh an accomplished jazz musician but Josh is also a NYT Bestselling author with his new book Disciplined Dreaming – A proven system to drive breakthrough Creativity .  I highly recommend spending some time to check this out on  his web site at www. joshlinkner.com/books.

Josh LinknerIn conclusion my advice is to watch Craine’s Business Detroit for next years event and register early.  I’m already looking forward to this when I hope to see and hear ideas about progress in urban agriculture and mass transportation.

See more photos from IDEA Conference: Detroit  www.elbinger.zenfolio.com/p155213949