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Photo by Robin May     
Morris Miller

Two dozen core collaborators have been meeting weekly at The Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce for months now, threading together the seemingly disparate series of events that will emerge next month as INNOV8 Lafayette, take two. Last year’s launch was clearly a success, earning Lafayette a high-five from U.S. Chief Technology Officer and special assistant to the President Todd Park, who tweeted en route back to D.C. after his INNOV8 visit: “Silicon Bayou — aka Lafayette, Louisiana — is the best kept secret reservoir of innovation mojo in America.”  

Big wow. INNOV8’s goal is to assemble and ignite Lafayette’s abundant assets for success in a 21st century creative economy, and Park’s tweet gave our community instant cred in the race. Although the CodeFest that specifically attracted Park to Lafayette was only one of dozens of events packaged for INNOV8’s launch, the aggregate obviously impressed the nation’s top techie.  

The beauty of INNOV8 is also a challenge for its all-volunteer organizers. Crafted as an umbrella that packages Lafayette cultural staples (like Bach Lunch) with dozens of other events produced by local business, education and governmental agencies, it requires elaborate coordination. We at IND Media are proud to produce two luncheon events for this year’s schedule (both as part of our lecture series sponsored by IberiaBank): the ninth annual Smart Growth Lecture and INDesign Awards, celebrating excellence in architecture and interior design with Lafayette’s new DDA Executive Director Nathan Norris as keynoter, and a collaboration with LEDA to present Xenex CEO and serial entrepreneur Morris Miller. They are slated April 19 and 25, respectively. The INNOV8 website effectively presents the entire eight-day roster in both posterboard and agenda format across four tracks: arts/culture, education, entrepreneurship and technology/health care. In addition to the events we’re producing, here are some opportunities that pique my interest:

•  Innovation Engineering Experience with Doug Hall, Eureka! Ranch CEO and founder of the new Innovation Engineering Movement with the University of Maine. Full day seminar on April 23 or breakfast only on April 22.

•  Fiber for Breakfast: Fueling Healthcare at LITE. The future of telemedicine with a real time demo, 8-10:30 a.m. April 24.

• The Launch Hour lunch series daily at AcA will explore multiple topics, from social entrepreneurism to a visioneering session for Lafayette young leaders to an entrepreneur panel power hour and more. Check website for the lineup.

• Food for Thought: The Business of Innovation breakfast features Vlad Dablia, scientist, tech adviser, entrepreneur and international business strategist, manager of the software portfolio for the Invention Development Fund. April 25.

• The Passion Series offers three short films about people who follow their passion plus a panel discussion with the filmmakers. April 24.

• The Lafayette Entertainment Initiative explores ideas on how to improve Lafayette’s entertainment industries, 9-11 a.m. April 23.

There is so much more so take a moment to explore INNOV8 offerings at innov8lafayette.com, and sync your calendar. Better yet, you can become a Friend for only 35 bucks and get a few extra perks, like a cool T-shirt that’s perfect for life here on Silicon Bayou.

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