Reflecting on IDSA Central District Conference 2017

By Matt Czach, Senior Lead Industrial Designer

Bryce Porter and I recently attended IDSA’s Central District Design Conference, “Innovation Is a Team Sport,” hosted by University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (UC DAAP). The Over-the-Rhine setting was an ideal location to discuss innovation, Midwestern rejuvenation, and the link between community, creativity and economic growth. Traditionally a working-class neighborhood, Over-the-Rhine is one of the most intact urban historic districts in the U.S and is currently experiencing a cultural renaissance.

IDSA Central District Conference - Cincinnati’s College of Design

The conference started at 1 p.m. on Friday and wrapped with beers at Rhinegeist Brewery on Saturday evening.  Throughout the event, I noticed a common entrepreneurial thread in many of the speakers’ stories. For example, there was a memorable account of a successful start-up that went against the grain to invest in the Appalachian region of Ohio, creating valuable jobs in an area painfully devoid of employment opportunities.

The majority of conference speakers had an Ohio connection, and it was exciting to represent Tekna and our Michigan contribution to the Central District. The event provided many resources and takeaways, including coverage of M West Challenge, an organization working with west Michigan schools, businesses, and local investors to host business plan “pitch weekend” competitions.

When we headed back home on Sunday afternoon, we felt fully inspired and ready to seek out new challenges in our own Central District backyard. Thank you IDSA and UC DAAP for hosting this engaging event—we look forward to the next conference!

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