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Stimulating Growth With Innovation

In all corners of the world, business leaders turned their focus to innovation on Wednesday, 10 May, during the second annual YPO Innovation Week to connect and share inspiring stories of embracing change, disrupting conventional thinking and accelerating what’s next in business. The third-day agenda included both in-person and virtual events spanning the globe from New York, New York, USA, to Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the host city for The Art of the Start – Accelerating Your Start-up Growth.

“YPO Innovation Week is about learning and connecting, which is at the heart of our mission to inspire and develop lifelong learning and leadership,” say YPO members and The Art of the Start Co-Chairs Alan McLaren and John Papaloukas. “Our Toronto event is designed to introduce members to the 17 disrupters that most certainly will impact their business: artificial intelligence, G5 networks, employment in the future and augmented reality, to name a few. But we have also taken a practical approach by hearing from business leaders who have grown their business and dealt with some of the challenges that this type of disruption causes. Our members will certainly be shaken by the overwhelming change that is coming, but more importantly they will leave equipped to deal with it and thrive in this new environment.”

The program kicked off with an introduction from Ray Sharma, the founder of Extreme Venture Partners and XMG Studio, at One Eleven, Canada’s largest private venture accelerator. An afternoon session with One Eleven’s Managing Director and Entrepreneur in Residence Haroon F. Mirza focused on how to establish, scale and optimize start-ups. Michele Romanow, an engineer and serial entrepreneur who is the youngest entrepreneur to join CBC’s hit show “Dragons’ Den,” gave participants insight into her success as co-founder of multiple e-commerce and online financial service startups as well as a supporter of the next generation of entrepreneurial talent.

Disrupting the food and beverage industry

YPO members explored macro trends in food and beverages in a global conference call with member Michael Pavone of Pavone Marketing Group Inc., a food and beverage advertising and marketing firm whose quench reports uncover the newest innovations and advanced technologies shaping the industry. Pavone shared how the millennial generation’s holistic definition of health and wellness is driving a new “better for you” movement featuring hyper specialized diets and pharmaceutical foods that help consumers achieve their individual health goals.

“Technology under this umbrella not only assists us with everyday tasks but will anticipate our problems before they occur and are involved in ways in which we communicate,” says Pavone. Food brands are using augmented and virtual reality to engage with consumers directly and advancements in artificial intelligence are providing them with new tools to reach consumers at the precise moment they need a suggestion.

Innovation across the globe

Other events throughout the day tapped into the entrepreneurial spirit of business leaders with learning and networking opportunities to infuse innovation into their companies. Regional and chapter events took place around the globe from Frankfurt, Germany, and Durban, South Africa, to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and San Mateo, California, USA, covering topics from textile innovation to genomes and technology for all. Nearly 100 members attended the Global Digital Summit in New York, New York, USA, where digital marketing leaders delivered insights on the pressing challenges, leading-edge developments and actionable opportunities facing businesses today. Sessions touched upon the dominance of Facebook and Google as well as the future of traditional media.

YPO Innovation Week runs through Friday, 12 May. Check out www.ypoinnovationweek.com/schedule for a complete listing of events and registration information.

YPO is the premier global leadership organization for more than 27,000 chief executives in over 130 countries and the global platform for them to engage, learn and grow. YPO members harness the knowledge, influence and trust of the world’s most influential and innovative business leaders to inspire business, personal, family and community impact. Today, YPO member-run companies, diversified among industries and types of businesses, employ more than 22 million people globally and generate USD9 trillion in annual revenues.