Each year the Carolinas PDMA hosts Innovate Carolina -  a one day innovation conference, to highlight innovation best practices and local innovation practitioners.  The 9th Annual Innovate Carolina conference will be held April 13th, 2018 at the NC Biotech Center in Research Triangle Park, NC.

We are issuing a “call for speakers”.  The Innovate Carolina team has drafted a theme and identified some of the key factors or components that we want to focus on for the event.  Any corporate practitioner, consultant, academic institution or other organization is invited to submit a request to speak at the event.  Our conference theme is:  Accelerating ideas to market.  Please read the detailed information about the conference theme below.


Conference Theme

“Ignite Your Innovation Vision - Practices Large and Small Companies Can Teach Each Other"

We hope to highlight larger companies that are innovating using techniques like lean, agile, lean startup, accelerators, incubators and other means.  We also hope to highlight smaller firms and entrepreneurs who are actively working with larger companies to help them accelerate innovation activities.



We are seeking a range of speakers who can address this topic, speaking on their experiences, lessons learned, case studies or other perspectives:

  • Corporate speakers can lead topics on using lean startup, or focused on accelerators, incubators or other means they’ve used to mimic or replicate the speed and agility of a small company
  • Consultants can speak on success stories, methodologies or recommended solutions that help larger companies innovate more successfully using lean, agile, lean startup or other means
  • Smaller companies can lead topics on how they work with larger companies to accelerate innovation.
  • Companies of any size can speak on what they’ve learned or success stories about working with their opposite (what large companies learned about innovation when working with small companies or vice versa)



The typical presentation or talk is approximately 40-45 minutes long and has a 5 minute Q&A session.  These presentations can take any form that the speaker feels is appropriate:  a lecture, a PowerPoint presentation, a panel discussion or even a workshop.  We do ask that the speakers focus on case studies, lessons learned, methodologies and other educational material that provides insight into the topic, and that the presentation doesn’t become a “sales pitch” for the company or a specific solution.


Other details potential speakers may want to know

Innovate Carolina typically attracts approximately 150 people.  The majority of the attendees are mid/senior management in a number of disciplines:  innovation, R&D, marketing, product management and product development.  They represent a number of industries and size of companies.  Forty percent or more have attended several of our events. 


The goal of the event is to provide an innovation conference that rivals the national conferences in content and quality, provide a means to build tighter networks in the Carolinas and allows us to highlight the great innovation work being accomplished here.

Another goal is to provide the attendees with practical information that they can use in their jobs and businesses, at a very reasonable cost and without having to fly to Boston or Chicago to attend.


Consultants are typically expected to sponsor (usually $1000) to speak.  Corporations have the option to sponsor to speak but we don’t require it.  Remember that the conference is a money raising activity for our chapter.  We pay for the building, the food, the marketing and other expenses that must be covered and use the remaining funds to conduct other events during the year.

Marketing/Past Performance

We are proud of our conference and are consistently complemented on the professional nature of the conference, both from participants and speakers alike. Visit our 2017 Conference site to see an example from the previous year’s conference.

How Speakers Will Be Evaluated

Speaking submissions will be evaluated by a team of Carolinas PDMA members who are active in the definition and development of the conference.  Special emphasis will be given to corporate practitioners who are interested in presenting their company’s successes or case studies.  Special emphasis will be given to companies or consultants who operate in the Southeast US (Virginia, Carolinas, Georgia).

We will evaluate speaking submissions based on their alignment to the conference theme, their expected benefit to attendees, and the expected educational or informational value.  All submissions will receive a response from a Carolinas PDMA reviewer.


Questions / Speaking Submissions

You are welcome to contact Jeffrey Phillips, Innovate Carolinas Content Chair, if you have questions about speaking opportunities or if you’d like to discuss your topics and ensure that the topic is relevant.  You can reach Jeffrey at jeffreydphillips@gmail.com.

Speaking submissions are welcomed anytime after November 28, and spots will be filled as we identify speakers that meet our needs and achieve a balance between the topics we’ve identified, and a balance between corporate and commercial speakers.