… we developed InnovatorsOC to bring action to those ideas.
In 2011, along with a group of dedicated volunteers, we produced the inaugural TEDxOrangeCoast program entitled Innovation Without Borders. The goal was to offer a unique platform to inspire, connect and start a conversation among the best and brightest. We welcomed over 1,500 guests to the one-day event. This initial success confirmed the need for bringing people together to innovate and break boundaries in our Orange County communities.
We quickly realized that sharing powerful ideas was not enough, to drive true change we needed to make these ideas actionable.
Producing TEDxOrangeCoast (TEDxOC) events was a rich learning experience and along the way we identified many challenges; the biggest being how to bring the community together for meaningful and long-term interaction that drove positive change in our communities. We identified hope and optimism as fundamental needs for a community to be innovative in solving their problems. Brainstorming with the TEDxOC volunteers, we felt it was important to make the experience more personal for the people living in the Orange County communities. Based on this thinking, we created InnovatorsOC (IOC).
The initial IOC mission was to promote innovation at all levels of community and facilitate conversations among Orange County leaders, innovators and visionary organizations with the goal being to recognize and develop innovation in business, arts, education, and community development. Twelve individuals and organizations in Orange County joined the IOC initiative. To kick off the work of IOC, we organized a private dinner reception on October 10, 2012 immediately following a TEDxOrangeCoast event. During the reception, IOC presented the first Innovator of the Year Award to Matthew Peterson from the Mind Institute.
Over time, it became apparent that the team had bigger ideas for IOC and wanted to move in a different direction than the work being done by TEDxOrangeCoast. It was decided to spin off InnovatorsOC and create a separate group that was focused on bringing ideas to action. The IOC team outlined their mission, wanting to ensure they were brining something new to Orange County. They explored opportunities to collaborate with like minded organizations, looking to build on synergies with others working at the community level. With the foundation of the organization in place, we launched InnovatorsOC. Our vision being to help social ventures in Orange County, both for profit or non-profit, become contributing and self sustained vehicles of positive change.
In 2014 we decided to broaden the scope and expand to Southern California. We are looking to work with early stage social ventures created by a younger generation of innovators, helping them grow and become self sustained.
Today an extraordinary group of selfless thought leaders, four of which have been part of IOC since 2012, constitutes the IOC founding partners and I could not be more proud to be a part of this team.