One of the greatest business leaders and innovators of our time resigned last week. The news of Steve Jobs stepping down as CEO of Apple left us looking with uncertainty for a new generation of leaders.
We believe in Jobs; he inspires us. In a blog post entitled, "A little empty," author and entrepreneur Seth Godin shared, "I guess this is how a sports fan felt when Joe DiMaggio retired."
We never know where great ideas are going to originate. While many of us would be happy to come up with just one amazing idea, Jobs seemed to be filled with them and was destined for everlasting greatness. With eager anticipation, we would speculate about how his vision might change our lives for the better in the future.
So, as we look further down the bench of a company like Apple, we ask ourselves, "Where do extraordinary ideas come from?"
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We founded the IdeaFestival based on the assumption that ideas are everywhere. With ideas, we create the future. Much of the mesmerizing innovation we are witnessing in the 21st century emerges from the intersections of many disciplines — science, the arts, business, design, technology, education, medicine and more.
Unfortunately, most people have little opportunity to get out of their fields to learn how to integrate, and apply important ideas to their area of interest.
The goal of the IdeaFestival is to bring together people with diverse backgrounds, knowledge and perspectives to discuss and explore entrepreneurship and innovation. Getting out of the everyday routine paves the way for bold ideas.
You can network with global, national and local influencers; hear phenomenal presenters share their ideas and achievements; participate in vibrant, forward-thinking activities; and learn about innovative companies that are socially responsible and making a difference.
The 2011 IdeaFestival is bringing several thought leaders to Kentucky to showcase, discuss and connect important ideas across an array of disciplines, including:
■ Aneesh Chopra, the United States chief technology officer and assistant to President Barack Obama.
■ Aubrey de Grey, a scientist and editor-in-chief of the journal Rejuvenation Science and co-author of the 2007 book Ending Aging.
■ Elizabeth Scharpf, founder of the global Sustainable Health Enterprises.
■ Physicist and author Leonard Mlodinow, a writer for the television series MacGyver and Star Trek: The Next Generation and co-author with Stephen Hawking of the recent best-seller The Grand Design.
The IdeaFestival is an excellent professional development opportunity for businesses and organizations, and leading companies can leverage the event to nurture and develop talent and spark new ideas among employees with varying levels of experience.
For example, in past years, executives at Signature HealthCARE have encouraged every employee to participate in the event. As a followup, employees throughout the company shared new ideas and made a positive impact on the way they do business.
The IdeaFestival is accessible to a broad cross-section of people, not just "technology types." From young children to senior citizens, the event is designed to appeal to all who hold an interest in learning and broadening their horizons.
It attracts early adopters who want to be exposed to new ideas and new ways of thinking, such as entrepreneurs, business and community leaders and young professionals.
Not only does the IdeaFestival demonstrate that Kentucky can be an innovation hub, but it also affords Kentuckians the opportunity to experience a vibrant intellectual exchange in their metaphorical backyard.
You never know where the next great innovator will find inspiration.
Jobs grew up in the apricot orchards that are now known as Silicon Valley, and he still lives there with his family. Perhaps, an inspired Kentuckian will experience a similar fate in the Bluegrass.