March 20–21, 2015
Open 2015, an educational event-cum-think tank for hundreds of student inventors hosted by VentureWell (formerly the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance), was held in Washington, D.C. Attendance increased nearly seven-fold from last year, providing both logistical challenges and nearly endless content- and format-expansion opportunities for the planning team.
One challenge that VentureWell faced was turning a flood of session proposals into a focused program. (Read our Pre Con profile at convn.org/pre-con-open15.) “We convened a design team of 12 staff members across programs, and curated the session content to make sure there were no gaps and [that there was] balanced and cohesive content,” said Jennifer Keller Jackson, VentureWell’s senior program director. “The design team met eight times before the conference.”
This year’s meeting featured a number of new presentation formats, including Ignite-style sessions where speakers held the floor for five minutes and had to use 20 auto-advancing slides. All in all, Open 2015 featured five Ignite presentations from students and five from faculty members, along with an Ignite trio that introduced another conference session.
2014: San Jose, California
2015: Washington, D.C.