Society of Innovators holds First Ever All-Members Meeting

A meeting of the minds took place on the evening of April 20 at the NIPSCO headquarters in Merrillville, but they weren’t there to discuss power and energy. This meeting was the First All-Member Meeting of the Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana, and these 190 creative thinkers came together to discuss innovation throughout the region.

It’s no secret that Northwest Indiana has its share of innovative thinkers. Innovation has been part of the fabric of life in the region since history’s revolutionary glider adopted by the Wright brothers took to the skies over the dunes in 1896. The mission of the Society of Innovators is to discover and honor innovative thinkers across the seven counties that make up the Northwest Indiana region. This meeting was meant to bring these Members together to network and plan how to further the region’s reputation as one of the country’s centers of innovation.

The keynote speaker of the event was Ivy Tech Community College President Sue Ellspermann, Ph.D. Ellspermann posed the question to all those in the room “How might we?”

“It is not the question ‘How should we?’ or “How must we?’, but ‘How might we?’ that drives innovation,” she clarified.

Ellspermann went on to add that failure is not something that should be feared. It is a necessary part of the creative process. There will be failed ideas before success is reached, but those failures should be celebrated, as they help innovators to achieve greater heights.

After the keynote address, the Society of Innovators, which is a project of the Ivy Tech’s Gerald I. Lamkin Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center for Excellence, along with NIPSCO, SMDG, LLC and Ivy Tech Chancellor Thomas Coley presented Ellspermann with an award of appreciation for her assistance with launching the first-ever All-Members Meeting. The attendees were then put into groups and asked to answer some questions about what the Society of Innovators could do to better involve Members in future events, as well as how the Society could spread the news of innovation in Northwest Indiana to even more people across the country and the world. Several groups noted that more Member networking events, like the one taking place, would be appreciated.

The evening was emceed largely by NIPSCO Director of Economic Development Don Babcock and SMDG, LLC Chief Operating Officer Brandon Griffin, both of whom also serve as Co-Chairs and Governors at the Society of Innovators.

For more information on how the Society of Innovators is honoring innovation in Northwest Indiana, visit


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