Ocean State Innovate  

Ocean State Innovate: FOOD!

Ocean State Innovate brings together people from diverse backgrounds - who have deep passion and commitment to our state - to break down silos and make new solutions possible. Our 2018 theme is Food, where we will be taking on some of the challenges identified in the Rhode Island Food Strategy. Our goal is to support innovative solutions at the intersection of the themes of Health & Access, Economic Development, and Environmental Sustainability & Resiliency.

The Swearer Center at Brown University and Rhode Island’s Director of Food Strategy invite you to join us at an exciting, hands on event on January 19th and 20th to help tackle some of the thorniest issues identified in the Food Strategy Plan!

The event will run from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm on Friday, January 19th and from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm on Saturday, January 20th. The forum will be facilitated by by Brown alum Frans Johansson and The Medici Group, an innovation firm that specializes in helping organizations learn how to innovate. To see the Medici Approach in action, view the video below:

+ Event format

OSI leverages the Medici Approach to unite people from diverse perspectives and backgrounds who have deep passion and commitment to our state, to break down silos and create truly innovative solutions to pressing issues that face our communities. OSI’s success is dependent upon diversity in all of its forms; age, gender, ethnicity, geographic location, income, religion, industry, connection to food, etc.

Over the course of the first day, small teams of participants will develop, refine, and select ideas through Medici’s innovation process. The second day will involve final clarification of each group’s best idea and identifying a small executable step toward that idea. Finally, at the conclusion of the session, each team will determine the one idea they believe will have the greatest impact on the community, and present it to other attendees.

Through the partnership between Relish Rhody, the RI Food Policy Council, the RI Director of Food Strategy, and the Swearer Center at Brown University, there are a variety of opportunities for ongoing support for ideas that emerge from OSI.

+ Who should apply
  • Community leaders, community members, and high school and college students living and/or working in Rhode Island
  • People who are interested in working across boundaries to develop creative ideas for addressing local challenges - and ideally helping to put those ideas into action after the event
  • Anyone who loves food, innovation, human-centered design, systems thinking, or otherwise wants to think creatively about important issues impacting our community!
+ Why participate
  • You will get to learn an exciting innovation methodology, a way of thinking that can be applied to any challenge or hurdle you face
  • You will have the opportunity to contribute to positive change in our state
  • You will connect and collaborate with other community members to create innovative ideas with the potential of long-term sustainability and impact
+ How to participate
Participants will be selected to create a forum that is diverse and representative of the Rhode Island community.

Apply to participate

+ Roles (facilitators, conveners & steering committee)

The Swearer Center at Brown University will serve as the convener of the various stakeholders, organizations, students, and others who participate in the planning, execution, and follow-through of Ocean State Innovate. High potential projects identified and developed at Ocean State Innovate may be eligible for additional support through other Swearer Center Programs.

The Medici Group will facilitate the session, offering its expertise in supporting the development of innovative approaches and solutions across a range of sectors. The Medici Group’s founder, Frans Johansson, is the innovation thought leader who created and popularized the term “Medici Effect.” The Medici Effect is the result of the phenomenon that happened in Florence, when diverse concepts, cultures, and disciplines intersected, leading to one of Europe's most creative eras, the Renaissance. The “intersection” is where groundbreaking innovation happens.

The Rhode Island Director of Food Strategy is helping to strategize on the content of the convening – based on the issues discussed in the State’s recently-released Food Strategy. She will also provide guidance and support for projects that are developed at and emerge from OSI as they move into implementation.

The steering committee helping to shape this year’s event is:

  • Octavia Abell, Director of Strategy, Rhode Island Office of Innovation
  • Eva Agudelo, Assistant Director of Programs, RI Community Food Bank; RI Food Policy Council
  • Sue AnderBois, Director of Food Strategy, State of Rhode Island
  • Courtney Bourns, Senior Program Officer, Kendall Foundation
  • Alan Harlam, Director of Social Innovation, Swearer Center at Brown University
  • Chef Bill Idell, Assistant Dean, College of Culinary Arts, Johnson and Wales University
  • Kevin Jankowski, Director, RISD Career Center
  • Cristina Liberati, Grants Project Manager, Equal Exchange; RI Food Policy Council
  • Nicole Pollock, Chief of Staff, City of Providence
  • Liz Tanner, Executive Vice President - Client Services, Rhode Island Commerce Corporation
  • Mark Tracy, Chief Instigator, Ocean State Innovate & Founder, Yulupa