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PART 2: First “Knoxville Innovation Bootcamp” set for January 24, 25 and 26

Pedal(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the final article in a two-part series setting the stage for a new initiative focused on utilizing design thinking to help business executives grow their companies.)

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

Jay Morgan is committed to making more innovators.

“Innovation happens where innovators are,” he says. “It’s a great strategy for impacting a community.”

During his years in Memphis, Morgan was so committed to this concept that started the Memphis Innovation Bootcamp (MIB) in addition to his role as Vice President – Global Innovation for Merck Consumer Care.

“We used the Stanford curriculum (Stanford University Design Thinking Bootcamp) and involved loaned executives from area corporations,” he explained. Launched in 2012 and held two or three times a year, the three-day program focused on community problems, but it also exposed participants to design thinking.

“MIB also connects local businesses, organizations and governments with local and global resources to establish a network of robust Design Thinking programs,” Morgan writes on his LinkedIn page.

In his last corporate role as Vice President for Global Innovation and Design at Bayer HealthCare, the Memphis resident was spending most of his time traveling the globe. Morgan decided it was time for an exit strategy, and Knoxville seemed like a logical next home, based on daughters still in school here.

“I Googled design thinking in Knoxville and found almost nothing,” he says. So, fresh from nine months to recharge his batteries, Morgan and three local businessmen – Mark McComas, Scott Buchanan, and Brad Greene – have partnered on two new initiatives. One is Pedal which has an office at 902 North Central, while the other is a Knoxville iteration of MIB.

“Pedal uses the toolset of design thinking to help visionary leaders re-imagine their business, products, and services to thrive in a rapidly changing world,” Morgan explains. “Agility is the new ‘innovation.’ Agile businesses are resilient and adaptable. Design thinking is a framework, not a blueprint. We want to equip Knoxville to make itself a better place.”

The Knoxville Innovation Bootcamp (KIB) is “powered by, but separate from Pedal,” Morgan explains. “Its (KIB’s) mission is creating innovators, not innovation.”

KIB will hold its inaugural bootcamp on January 24, 25 and 26 at Pedal Studio.

“It’s an intensive, hands on introduction to design thinking (where participants will be) working on real problems,” Morgan says.

He’s again using the Stanford model, and the themes/focus by day are:

  • January 24 – Empathize and define the problem.
  • January 25 – Ideate, prototype, and test.
  • January 26 – Pitch and take it back to implement.

“We will have three facilitators for each six participants,” Morgan says. They are Justin Couch, Aaron White, and himself. Cost is $1,500 per person or $1,250 for five or more from the same organization.

Those wanting more information can click here.


Tom Ballard

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer,
Pershing Yoakley & Associates. P.C.

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