Innovate LIVE is a festive convergence of Local Innovators, Visionaries, and Entrepreneurs, which made its inaugural launch in April of 2015.

Over three days, social entrepreneurs, community organizers, and artistic creators converged in coffee shops, patios, and classrooms to explore the next wave of innovative ideas that are transforming our local communities.  Sustainability, cooperation, the new economy, and the arts were the lenses through which we explored local opportunities for change and evolution.

And we explored “anti-innovative” ideas too — as local farmers from Polyface Farms to Project Grows reminded us that nature and its needs can and should inspire our actions more than the simple allure of the “new.”

The open-air format included interactive workshops hosted by successful entrepreneurs, keynotes from regional change-makers, funding forums for new projects, and laid-back evenings for odd minds and young ideas to mingle.

With the City of Staunton as the original funder of the concept, the Staunton Creative Community Fund as fiscal agent, Mary Baldwin College as an early partner and lead volunteer team, and many more regional organizations and entities joining the evolving Innovate LIVE coalition, I was excited to serve as the organizer for the event.

A retrospective on the weekend, in the words of those who were there, is included below.