February 02, 2011

SIUC Synergetics conference set for April 7-8

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Innovation and sustainable development are key trends for businesses in the 21st century global marketplace, and an April event at Southern Illinois University Carbondale will offer insights into how to harness those trends and make them work for you and your company.

The symposium, “SIUC Synergetics: Where Innovation and Sustainable Development Meet,” is set for 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. April 7-8 at the Dunn Richmond Economic Development Center, 150 E. Pleasant Hill Road in Carbondale.

The SIUC Center for Innovation and the School of Art and Design are hosting the event to help businesses and professionals prepare for success today and in the future. The umbrella for the conference is based on the ideas and concepts of the late R. Buckminster Fuller, the sustainability proponent who taught at SIUC 1959-1971 and who once graced the cover of “Time” magazine.

Experts in creative problem solving, innovative team building, development methods for sustainable designs and bringing all of these tools together to create a workable business plan will contribute their expertise in this unique event. Participants will enjoy a variety of team-based workshops, special presentations and discussions with expert panels. The collaborative sessions will highlight various areas including consumer products, built spaces, artifacts and more. Those attending will interact with business peers and connect with SIUC research resources.

Speakers include:

• Steve Belletire, associate professor of industrial design at SIUC and former vice president of Joss Design-Chicago and design consultant to international clients including 3M and Whirlpool. An author and researcher, his concentrations include helping corporate new product developers incorporate sustainable design principles, strategies and metrics into new product processes.

• Diane Bunse, environmental specialist at Herman Miller, leads the ongoing development of the environmental management system through the western Michigan manufacturing sites for the furniture company. She also focuses on environmental communications directed at both internal and external customers.

• Larry Busch, associate professor emeritus from SIUC’s School of Art and Design and longtime co-organizer of the Great Cardboard Boat Regatta (www.larrybusch.net or www.CreativityCollege.org). With more than 30 years of teaching and research experience in design and curriculum, Busch emphasizes the importance of fostering innovative and adaptable problem-solving skills.

• Melissa DeSota, market developer for Steelcase, Inc., an international work effectiveness company. As part of their global environmental strategy and programs team, she works to enhance work environments to improve the quality of life for employees. Her experience includes developing and implementing corporate environmental strategy and helping clients with tool development and education within the work environment.

• Mark Victor Hansen, author, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and self-proclaimed “ambassador of possibility” is perhaps most famous as co-founder of Chicken Soup for the Soul Enterprises, Inc. He also established the Mark Victor Hansen Entrepreneurial Excellence Fund to help future business leaders and assist with faculty development. He is the 2000 winner of the Horatio Alger Award from the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans and the Northwood University Excellence in Education award.

• Peter Jones, innovation researcher, design consultant and managing director of Redesign, an innovation research firm based in Dayton, Ohio, and Toronto, Canada, that specializes in professional, value-based workplace designs and practices. He is also a managing partner at Dialogic Design International and a senior fellow in the Ontario College of Art and Design’s Strategic Innovation Lab University.

• H.F.W. “Bill” Perk, design professor and department chair emeritus at SIUC and member of the Buckminster Fuller Institute Advisory Board and the RBF Dome Not-for-Profit Board of Directors. His experience includes being part of the research staff for RAND Corp., Lockheed Electronics Corp. Systems Research Center, and ITT’s Data and Information Systems Division. He is co-founder and the first president for Associated Scholars Cooperative, president of ROMBIX, USA and a technology, ecology and public policy consultant for the energy company Equitech International LLC, and others.

• Jennifer Rice, founder of Fruitful Strategy, a company that helps businesses combine sustainability with profit and reputation. She has experience managing projects for companies in the European Union, Dubai, Southeast Asia and stateside. A consultant to small companies and large in a number of industries, she is also a sought-after speaker.

The $125 registration fee for SIUC Synergetics covers the cost of all events and sessions, meals, and a participant guide. Register online at http://www.innovation.siu.edu/synergetics/index.html. For more information, contact Jenni Janssen, assistant director of the SIUC Center for Innovation, at 618/453-7788 or by e-mail at jenni@siu.edu.