April’s birthstone is the diamond, which is fitting as it is also the first full month of the Major League Baseball season and baseball, of course, is played on a … diamond! While that may be sheerest coincidence, there is nothing coincidental about the fact that the following conferences are happening in April and every one is a true diamond-like gem.
Foremost forums upcoming
• Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference (April 8 – 11, 2014; Boao, China). Conference supports the organization's mission of being "the most prestigious and premier forum for leaders in government, business, and academia in Asia and other continents to share visions on the most pressing issues in this dynamic region and the world at large." Representative topics include: Real estate dialogue – economists versus developers; green energy – public-private partnership; financial reform and innovation – risks and opportunities; and the future of the Internet.
• Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship (April 9 – 11; Oxford). Event is self-described as the "premier international platform for advancing entrepreneurial approaches to solve the world’s most pressing problems." Forum does so by uniting social entrepreneurs with essential partners "in a collaborative pursuit of learning, leverage and large-scale social change." Representative topics include: Water, food security, climate change, education, human rights, social equity and emerging social business models.
• Fast Company Innovation Uncensored (April 10; New York). Self-described as "a day full of provocative thinking and great workable business ideas," the program aspires to "give attendees live access to top business visionaries and the companies to watch," with many of the latter found on the Fast Company Most Innovative Companies List. Program addresses such topics as: Creativity in the corner office; sports in the digital age—transforming the fan experience; and mobile, media, and the age of change.
• PSFK Conference (April 11; New York). Conference is self-described as a platform to "bring together the world's leading creative thinkers with both established and emerging business leaders to bring to life the conversations that take place daily on psfk.com." The program features speakers from the worlds of art, technology, design, marketing, and media, with the goal of "creating an environment where disparate ideas can come together in new ways to fuel work that changes the world for the better." Representative topics include: How to design technology so it becomes natural; how the United Nations is using social data to spot disasters; and the city as a social platform. 2014 theme: "Connecting the Unexpected."
• Simmons Leadership Conference (April 23; Boston). Event is self-described as the "world's premier leadership event for women" with a goal to foster "an enduring tradition of dialogue and discovery among ever-growing audiences of business and professional women." Event addresses such topics as leveraging leadership opportunities; global healthcare; and responsible leadership. The 2014 theme is "Jumping the Curve."
• Social Venture Network (SVN) Spring Conference (April 24 – 27; San Diego). Conference convenes members and guests to "discuss ways in which [members] can collaborate to produce sustainable economic opportunities – locally, nationally, and globally." One session typically focuses on SVN's current activities and strategic plans. Other representative topics include: Creative ways to use social media to do good; crafting messages that expand markets and customer base; and dispelling myths about impact investing and strategic philanthropy.
• Milken Institute Global Conference (April 27 – 30; Beverly Hills). Event focuses on the major economic, financial, business, technological, and policy issues currently facing the world. Speakers include Nobel laureates, CEOs from top global companies, senior elected and appointed foreign and US government officials, philanthropists, academic leaders, and high-level executives in the American and foreign capital markets.
• Ceres Conference (April 30 – May 1; Boston). Conference focuses on "the integration of sustainability into business strategy and long-term shareholder value" for an audience of corporate executives as well as representatives from labor, public policy, and the investment community. Representative topics include: The advantages and challenges of federal climate legislation; the environmental, social, and financial benefits of sustainability; and the economic opportunities afforded by the global corporate transition to energy efficiency and lowered carbon footprint. 2014 theme: "The Future Is Now."
• 99U (May 1 – 2; New York). Event takes its name from the adage regarding genius, that it is the result of one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration. The conference's mission is to "shift the focus from idea generation to idea execution [by bringing] together some of the world's most productive creative visionaries and leading researchers to share pragmatic insights on how ideas are brought to life." Representative topics include: How to create a product people love; key insights on making ideas happen; learning to embrace risk and take action quickly; and innovating in the real world.
• MIT Sustainability Summit (May 3 – 4; Cambridge, MA). Summit is self-described as bringing together "students, engineers, business leaders, academics, environmental activists, and public servants to look at the current successes, emerging solutions and new paradigms that can lead us to an environmentally and socially sustainable future." Representative topics include: Challenges in scaling social enterprises; sustainability transformation of large organizations; and adoption of transportation alternatives. 2014 theme: "Coastal Cities – Sustainable Futures."
Noteworthy conferences beginning agenda planning this month
• South by Southwest (SXSW) has issued a call for speakers for its Eco event scheduled for October 6 – 8, 2014 in Austin, with a proposal submission deadline of April 25, 2014. Event has a self-described mission to "evolve the environmental conversation beyond rhetoric and towards solutions" by bringing together executives and thought leaders from academia, government, and the private sector to focus on a creative cross-sector approach to solving environmental and sustainability challenges. Representative topics include: Cross-sector partnerships; global food security; smart grids; and climate change issues.
• Sapling Foundation will begin developing the agenda for its TED Global event taking place October 5 – 10, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro. Event was designed to be "like TED, but with an even stronger focus on really big world-changing ideas." Program focuses on "dreams from the intersecting worlds of science, business, globalization, invention, and creativity." 2014 program will also examine "topics interesting to anyone who watches the global south as it rises in influence and power."
• Knowledge 4 Innovation will begin agenda development for its European Innovation Summit being held November 17 – 20, 2014 in Brussels. Summit focuses on "the key innovation drivers that have to be given more strength and emphasis," with an aim "at identifying what needs to be done to bridge the innovation gaps and overcome the innovation barriers, which renders an innovation friendly climate impossible, or indeed, less possible then in the leading innovation strong economies." Program addresses such representative topics as: A vision for innovation in agriculture; towards a European innovation partnership in transport; regional innovation smart specialization strategies; and standardization system evolution leading to innovation empowerment.
• Maeil Business Newspaper & MK Inc. will begin developing the agenda for its World Knowledge Forum scheduled for October 14 – 16, 2014 in Seoul. Forum focuses on the "search for the 21st Century wealth creation equation," addressing such topics as the impact of fund capitalism; US policy toward North Korea; innovation as a factor in corporate growth; building global brand leadership; and creation of online distribution channels.