Tuesday, October 1, 2013

iKC: The Unconference...No Agenda. No Panels. What Fun!

Written by Perry Puccetti, iKC Ambassador

Hot, emerging metropolitans with business activity focused on innovation and entrepreneurialism, such as Kansas City, are not overnight sensations. Rather, they are the result of years of investment in time, money and hard work. Here in Kansas City a vibrant and dynamic business ecosystem has been evolving for some time now; one that is sustainable and diverse, representing a unique synthesis of Silicon Valley innovation and Midwest values.

iKC: The Unconference is an open format conference focused on increasing “collision density” in the region. By creating “serendipitous collisions, which organically introduce innovators, entrepreneurs, investors and connectors to each other to share ideas,great things will happen.

Here in Kansas City, we do not need to ask for anybody’s permission to be successful.

As a venue for peer-to-peer learning, collaboration and creativity, iKC helps serve as part of a broader catalyst by helping to attract, supporand sustain the types of resources, and talent, necessary for our healthy business ecosystem; a complex blend of industry, academia and capital investment.

Recent events such as the Forum at the Middle of the Map FestivalBig Kansas CityTech CocktailiKC and many others convene companies of all sizes and sectors to exchange their ideas and spark inspiration. These events also exemplify Kansas City’s  evolving business ecosystem and unique approach to business. It is no longer sufficient for one company to lose at the expense of another; we believe that the exchange of ideas, creativity and innovation will lead the way to the future.
Here in Kansas City, we believe that business success is much more symbiotic; I win; you win; we win – we believe in the “New Reality” of “we, versus me.
It does not matter what kind of business you are in, the size of your business, or where you are in your professional career. You can learn to be a better entrepreneur by attending iKC. Entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley have found that one of the keys to adapting to a constantly changing business environment is to stay flexible – the core focus of our region’s inaugural “unconference.
As an Unconference, iKC has no agenda and no panels; rather the focus is on the interaction between attendees. Here are a few things that Silicon Valley does very well, that we should embrace:

Trust and credibility. iKC is an opportunity to remove social barriers and turn a random discussion into a business opportunity. Be bold! The rate of innovation increases when success is mutual.

We versus me. You cannot innovate alone. Have the humility to seek out long-term, win-win collaborations with others.

Pay it forward.  This phrase says it all. Mentor, share your knowledge, extend your network, share your ideas; your reputation will be the better for it.

Listen. Ask questions and learn from those around you. You cannot hear the next great opportunity knocking if you are doing all the talking.

Start from a position of “yes!” Not all ideas will pan out; however, the fear of failure is the fear of innovation.  
iKC: The Unconference is less about inspiration and motivation and more about great ideas, taking action and ultimately, achieving the “New Reality KC. As Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh has said, “Create the opportunity for meaningful collisions, and then just watch as the best things unfold.”

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