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Knoxville Business News Tennessee Mountain Scenery Background
March 07, 2024 | Tom Ballard

Second day of planning for GAME Change continues in Knoxville

A key milestone through May is to identify the appropriate individual who can serve as the GAME Change Chief Executive Officer.

After outlining some ambitious goals before Wednesday’s “GAME Change Workshop” ended, Ian McClure opened Thursday’s “GAME Change Summit” by asserting that the leadership team believes “we can become the innovation hub for circular economy manufacturing.”

He’s the Principal Investigator for the University of Kentucky-led initiative that was one of 44 selected by the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a $1 million investment under the federal agency’s “NSF Regional Innovation Engines Development Awards” program. Among the core partners from the Volunteer State are Launch Tennessee, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee Board of Regents, Tennessee State University, University of Tennessee campuses in Chattanooga and Knoxville, and Vanderbilt University.

During the session held at the Marriott in downtown Knoxville, McClure reported on feedback received from the NSF review panel. One was to reduce an overly ambitious proposal that had five focus areas down to two: digital integration technologies and circular manufacturing. That has been done as have several other suggestions including:

  • Building a synergistic plan for the region;
  • Emphasizing on-the-job training as part of the workforce development component;
  • Adding industry and community representatives to GAME Change’s leadership; and
  • Including DEIA (diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility) metrics, something that the leadership team has adopted.

Two that are still being worked on are including more community organizations from growth centers, frequently referred to as the bigger cities, and involving the venture capital community.

McClure said that other accomplishments included:

  • Developing a communication, outreach and branding plan;
  • Activating a Resource Recovery (RR) Task Force with the goal of planning for an RR marketplace; and
  • Adding three contractors to help with activities.

One of those newly engaged contractors – Orange Sparkle Ball – was actively involved in Thursday’s breakout sessions. It is an Atlanta-based accelerator that creates organization and community-focused innovation programs, runs data-driven pilots to demonstrate proof of the future state, creates multi-faceted communication strategies to stakeholders, and develops environments that support progress toward key metrics or key performance indicators.

A key milestone through May is to identify the appropriate individual who can serve as the GAME Change Chief Executive Officer.

The next summit will be held in Q3 in Louisville, KY.

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