Innovate Extension Urban X

Creative ideas are frequently discussed in county offices, program team meetings, and in communities. Take your ideas to the next level and launch them at this year's Innovate Extension event! Last year, 23 teams (more than 150 people) participated in the inaugural Innovate Extension hackathon event and pitched their innovative ideas for funding. Dozens of Extension professionals also attended Ohio State's Innovate conference held the day before and were inspired by innovators in the OSU community and beyond.

Great organizations continually scan the horizon for both obstacles and opportunities. Navigating obstacles and taking advantage of opportunities often involves innovation. Innovate Extension is a great forum for fueling your creativity in ways that can lead to fundamental changes in what we do and how we do it. - OSU Extension Director Roger Rennekamp

Scroll for all 2017 Innovate event and activity details!

May 2nd

Virtual Ideation Work Session: "Innovation and Improvisation: It's All About Focus" (10:00 - 11:30 am)

Exclusively for Innovate Extension Hackathon Participants

Walk through the ideation phase prior to the hackathon! Teams will learn key brainstorming techniques and begin ideating during this interactive online work session. Change, innovation and the ability to be creative are key to success in teams and organizations. Improvisation can provide a template for thinking differently, staying flexible and collaborating on a radical level. Explore improv and techniques for creativity and effective brainstorming with Karen Hough, CEO of ImprovEdge. She’ll lead an interactive webinar session to help participants plan and lead improvisational brainstorming sessions that yield innovative solutions.

Karen Hough, CEO of ImprovEdge

May 16

Ohio State's Innovate Conference

Ohio State's Innovate conference, hosted by ODEE, builds a community of educators, administrators and thought leaders from The Ohio State University and beyond to share, explore and discuss technology-fueled approaches that advance teaching and learning. Schedule, keynote and session information can be found on the event website. You must register for the Ohio State Innovate Conference separately.

May 16

Optional MeetUp (4:30 - 5:30pm)

Exclusively for Innovate Extension Hackathon Participants

Join us in the Cartoon Room in the Ohio Union for an hour long work session following the OSU Innovate Conference! Continue prepping with your team, possibly meet your coach, and get feedback from creative coaches and other teams. If you did not RVSP for this activity when registering for the hackathon, you can still participate!

May 17

Innovate Extension Hackathon: the Main Event!

This year’s "UrbanX" Innovate Extension theme focuses on Ohio’s urban influence. Our state's unique urban-suburban-rural dynamics depend on Extension’s ability to develop new models and approaches. Rural and urban communities are interdependent, which makes it more important than ever for Extension’s work to flow seamlessly along the urban rural continuum. The goal for this year's theme is to bring together diverse teams interested in innovative impacts along this continuum. Teams should demonstrate diversity by including both rural and urban representation.

Hackathon Agenda: 8:30am: Registration, Breakfast, & Team Building | 9:00am: Welcome | 9:10am: Keynote Workshop | 10:30am: Work Session Begins | 11:30am: Lunch | 3:00pm: Work Session Ends & Judging Begins | 4:30pm: Awards & "Showcase of Excellence"

What to Expect This Year

  • Teams will once again spend the day ideating, planning, prototyping, iterating, and pitching their ideas for funding. In other words, "hacking!"
  • Keynote kick-off workshop
  • New sub-awards for the most creative concept, most diverse team, and many others!
  • Creative coaches from Ohio State, startup, non-profit, urban, rural, and national Extension communities.
  • A new, fun, and inspirational venue!

Innovate Extension Keynote Workshop

"Go With It: Embrace the Unexpected to Drive Change"

Every industry, every company and every leader is concerned about innovation. With the speed of change and competition, you must continually innovate to survive. Creativity, and the process of brainstorming, are how we get to innovation. Great inventions and improvements often start at the brainstorming table. This high-energy, interactive session will focus on the use of improvisational techniques as effective tools to increase and improve innovative behaviors for you and your organization. We will guide attendees through exercises that will demonstrate how they can use the art of improvisation to drive innovation. Improvisers play, think upside down and brainstorm more efficiently. Leveraging these behaviors propels people and ideas forward.

April Olt, ImprovEdge Facilitator

Dan Montour, ImprovEdge Facilitator


Roger Rennekamp

OSU Extension Director

Julie Fox

Associate Chair, Urban Metro Program Leader & Central Regional Director for OSU Extension

Jackie Kirby Wilkins

Northeast Ohio Regional Director & Associate Chair, Programs, OSU Extension

Ben Lewis

Program Director of Communications and Special Projects, OSU Office of Outreach & Engagement

Ryan Schmiesing

OSU Associate Provost, Strategic Planning and Office of Academic Affairs and the Executive Vice President

Jerry Thomas

Leader, Innovation & Change, OSU Extension

Brad Gaolach

Director, The Metropolitan Center for Applied Research and Extension, Washington State University & National Urban Extension Leaders (NUEL) Steering Committee Member

Jay Clouse

Startup Weekend Columbus Organize & Global Facilitator

Quintin Jessee

Director of Land Grant Brewing Company

Donte Woods-Spikes

Mentor for Transit Arts Program, Central Community House & Former TEDxColumbus Speaker

Unsure What "UrbanX" Encompasses?

Rural and urban communities are interdependent, which makes it more important than ever for Extension’s work to flow seamlessly along the urban rural continuum. Teams could focus on novel approaches to opportunities and obstacles such as:

  • new community engagement models
  • creation of networks, collaborations, and partnerships
  • recruitment and/or retention plans to broaden diversity in Extension
  • simple solutions for Extension’s approach to complexity in the metro areas
  • innovations that demonstrate Extension’s ability for rapid response to the 500 Cities project, Ohio County Indicators, or other emerging opportunities to demonstrate Extension’s ability to be relevant locally, responsive statewide, and recognized nationally.

Additional Resources for Teams

"Can't wait for the next one! This workshop has been one of the most useful events I have ever attended in my career here at OSU!"

What is "Innovate Extension?"

Questions? Contact Jamie Seger

By making time for innovation, we draw from our traditional Extension values of creativity and entrepreneurship to develop innovative solutions to Ohio's modern challenges.


Created with images by TeroVesalainen - "idea innovation imagination"

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