Innovation Nights – started in April 2009 as Mass Innovation Nights with a monthly event designed to help local innovators increase the buzz around new products and companies. Every month ten-twelve companies bring their new products to the event and the social media community turns out to blog, tweet, post pictures and video, add product mentions to LinkedIn and Facebook statuses, and otherwise help spread the word.
Held once a month, registration and networking at 6pm and presentations at 7pm, the live events allow local companies to show off local innovation (you must be local to participate as a product launcher). The Experts Corner team has one-on-one conversations with start-ups and entrepreneurs. Innovation Nights are held on site at various venues who donate their space, time and money to further the cause of local innovation.
In Boston, we’ve held events at the IBM Innovation Center, Microsoft NERD Center, MassChallenge, Clock Tower Place, Woburn TradeCenter 128, LogMeIn, Quincy Innovation Center, Google and more. In 2013, the organization celebrated its 500th product launch with a special event in May. Research conducted by the organizers shows that among the first 500 product launchers there were more than 20 mergers and acquisitions, the companies had collectively raised more than $600 million in funding (angel and venture capital) and created more than 600 new jobs.
Connecticut Innovation Nights (CIN) is a "stone soup" event. Remember the folk story of Stone Soup? A stranger or small group of travelers come upon a poor village. The travelers are hungry but everyone claims to have nothing to share. So the travelers create a fire, hang a pot of water over it and place a stone inside, telling one and all that they are creating "stone soup." Of course, it will taste better with a little something for flavoring, a carrot, a potato, maybe even a little piece of meat. Soon everyone in the village has contributed "just a little something" and everyone sits down to enjoy the wonderful feast. Innovation Nights are like stone soup. Someone has a space where the event is held, with tables and wireless. Other companies have new products to promote. Others are social media mavens who can create buzz. Still others donate a few hours of their time and expertise. Soon, everyone is benefiting from the wonderful event that the community has created together.