CROWN POINT │ Friday is “Innovation Day” as the search begins for new innovators in Northwest Indiana.
Ivy Tech Community College Northwest and The Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana announced its call for nominations for individuals and teams for The Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana Innovation Awards.
The 10th annual call for nominations kicked off in a news conference Thursday at the Purdue University's Research Center in Crown Point.
“To make it a 10th year, it is definitely indeed a celebration,” said O’Merrial Butchee, director of Gerald I. Lamkin Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center at Ivy Tech.
Butchee said the Society encourages nominations from every sector because “we believe that anyone can be an innovator.”
Ivy Tech Northwest Chancellor Thomas Coley said the Society has not only discovered that innovation is everywhere in the region but it has raised awareness of the importance of innovation to everyone.
New this year is a new team award called Accelerating Greatness. Up to two Accelerating Greatness awards will be given annually.
“The teams receiving these awards must make a significant contribution based upon our business model for innovation,” said John Davies, managing director of The Society of Innovators. “We define innovation simply as solving a problem in a new or different way.”
Davies said the Society’s Chanute Prize remains the preeminent award for team innovation.
Also new this year was a Young Innovators Video Challenge in which local high school students produced a short video about their own innovative ideas.
Ka’Lesa Dalton, a junior at West Side Leadership Academy, was one of the four winners chosen and said she was excited and that the award was “a blessing.”
Dalton, as were several other finalists and winners, is part of the ECIER Foundation, formerly the Don H. Barden Foundation.
“Without my ECIER family I wouldn’t be here,” she said.
Fellow winner Whitely Buck, a junior at Hammond Academy of Science and Technology, said she was surprised to hear the news.
“My teacher really appreciates it because it kind of started from a project we were doing and I decided to carry it forward,” she said.
Ni’Avia Wilson, a senior at Wirt Emerson, was a finalist in the challenge.
“I’m really excited to be here and I’ve met a lot of people I see as possible role models,” she said.
Student winners included Anita Flowers of Wirt Emerson Visual and Performing Arts Academy and Kaylee Slont of Chesterton High School.
Nominations for innovators are only accepted online at www.ivytech.edu/northwest. Nominations begin Friday and close at 5 p.m. July 7.