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KIN Global: Collaborating On Tomorrow

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“A relatively small amount of people can have a big impact.” Dale Dougherty, Founder of MAKE Magazine and CEO of Maker Media could not have expressed my thoughts any better. KIN Global, the annual conference put on by Northwestern University’s Kellogg Innovation Network recently took place from June 1st through 3rd in Miami.

Primarily set at the New World Symphony (with select sessions taking place at FIU’s nearby Miami Beach Urban Studios), this three day symposium covered a wide array of such topics as the future of healthcare in Africa, the necessity of entrepreneurial investment in India, and the incredible (and slightly terrifying) direction of cyber security, virtual reality and artificial intelligence—just to name a sliver.

IDM’s role was to run the social media campaign in the days leading up to, during and after the event. We were to stay close to the action, reporting as neutral observers. Sounded simple enough. Roughly four minutes into my first forum on agriculture, they had broken down my inner journalistic integrity. I was now ruthlessly impassioned. Though my content would convey no bias, I could not help but feel inspired by my surroundings.

The days were long, but far from tiring. I left each discussion with pure invigoration to make my own positive difference for our planet. Here were international thought leaders meeting to enact change through innovation—with nothing personal to gain from it. We had the pleasure to hear from the likes of British royalty, a former deputy prime minister of Poland, filmmakers, performers, CEO’s, founders, creators, advocates and even the 55th President of Mexico.

Each day held its own assortment of focuses with many topics sharply contrasting those that fell immediately after them. One moment, we were in “Redefining Beauty…and an Industry,” hearing about the remarkable Carrie Hammer and her game-changing eponymous clothing line that preaches ‘role models not runway models.’ In the next instance, we had Sir Robert Swan in “Update from the Ends of the Earth” wowing the audience with tales of his daring crossings of the North and South Poles, while simultaneously illuminating the very real threat of global warming. Though on the surface these presentations seem unrelated, they could not be more complementary. Both visionaries had successfully ripped off the handcuffs of societal conformity to make the world a far better place as a result.

We learned of rats used for landmine and tuberculosis detection, neuroscience applications for marketing, a 3D printer providing limbs for wounded Africans, and one particular session even went as far as to completely redefine what prosperity really means.

As an employee performing a function, I was enthused to see such active participation with the KIN Global Twitter account—the hashtag usage, the Periscope viewing, the retweets. Now as an individual with a conscience, I was relieved. Relieved to know that we have such real life superheroes coming together to conquer the all too prevalent problems that accompany a species as diverse as ours.

The summation of my emotions leaving KIN Global 2016 are truly hard to narrow down to one sentence. How fitting that the Kellogg Innovation Network’s Co-Founder and Executive Director, Robert C. Wolcott, PhD was able to do so with such ease?

“The advance of prosperity occurs through people like us envisioning a future and creating it.”

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