RIT featured in global thought-leadership event exploring innovations shaping the future economy

Disruptive Innovation Festival hosts GIS and university speakers from Nov. 9-16




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Rochester Institute of Technology and the university’s Golisano Institute for Sustainability are playing key roles in a global event bringing together international thought leaders focused on innovation in support of a shift toward a regenerative economy.

The Disruptive Innovation Festival, sponsored by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, is an all-access online event featuring worldwide experts, entrepreneurs, business leaders, makers and doers who are exploring innovations shaping the future economy.

Eight presenters from the Golisano Institute for Sustainability (GIS) and from across RIT will be prominently featured during five presentations from Nov. 9-16. Over a three-week period that began Nov. 2, the virtual festival is offering a wide range of more than 200 live-streamed sessions, videos and interactive events.

“This is a very exciting and exclusive opportunity for RIT and GIS,” said Nabil Nasr, associate provost and director of GIS and one of the festival’s notable presenters. “This online event is being produced by a world-leading education and change agents in the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which is challenging the linear ‘take, make and dispose’ model of the economy as it advocates for a more prosperous, restorative regenerative economy.”

The Disruptive Innovation Festival, launched in 2014, is exploring the many innovations shaping the future of the economy, including design innovation, systems thinking, 21st century science, materials and energy, new business models, entrepreneurship, the sharing economy, and the “Internet of Things”—the network of physical objects embedded with electronics, software, sensors and network connectivity enabling these objects to collect and exchange data.

“This event explores the big-picture themes that will drive new markets and new value in a future economy,” Nasr said. “These themes are foundational in all research and academic programs at GIS.”

Participants from around the world can attend these sessions running across multiple formats and time zones as part of “big top tent” or “open mic” programs during the festival. The sessions are self-organized, online events created by universities like RIT, institutions, businesses and individuals based anywhere in the world. Sessions are curated by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation team.

Not only do students who register for the festival have access to innovative thinking that is directly relevant to GIS programs, they also have the chance to enter a competition that is being run across 20 universities worldwide as part of the festival. The college with the most people to register using the university’s code will win a 3D printer. In addition, one of its students will have the opportunity to serve an upcoming internship at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

To register and see the complete schedule of RIT speaker sessions is a two-step process: 1) go to https://www.thinkdif.co/big-top-tents/rochester-institute-of-technology and register, 2) once registered, enter the RIT referral code DIF2015RIT to your profile.

More than 10,000 attendees took part in the inaugural Disruptive Innovation Festival last year. For the full schedule, go to www.thinkdif.co. Sessions will be archived through Dec. 20.

The online event also is being promoted on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Earlier this year, RIT became a Pioneer University within the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Higher Education program, joining a select group of universities worldwide. RIT joined the program as a result of its pioneering research and teaching on the emerging concept of the circular economy, which refers to an industrial economy that is restorative by intention and eliminates waste through thoughtful design.

About the Ellen MacArthur Foundation

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation is a charity established in 2010 with the aim of accelerating the transition to a circular economy. The four main areas of work for the Foundation are Business & Government, Education & Training, Insight & Analysis, and Communication. The festival is an initiative run by the foundation’s Education team.

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