Over 300 people packed the lobby of the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts on November 6, 2008 to celebrate the creative, innovative, entrepreneurial spark in the Champaign-Urbana community. Participants lined up for the opportunity to jump on stage and pitch their enterprising ideas to enlighten the world and help with global challenges. The “What’s Your Big Idea” wall was also a hit, as community members, students, faculty, and staff posted fun ideas for changing the world or starting a company that could make a difference.
Professor Larry Schook, the Director of the Division of Biomedical Science, commented on the impact of events like Innovators Improv: “Our event at Krannert was great because it represents the impetus for moving together with the community. The University has an important role, not only as a global leader, but also in bringing together university and community thought leaders. I think that we heard a lot about intersections with the business community, social entrepreneurship, student organizations, and public service; Innovators Improv was a wonderful and exciting opportunity to showcase all the great ideas, innovation, and creativity that’s here in Champaign-Urbana.”
The Krannert Center for the Performing Arts provided the perfect venue for Innovators Improv to capture all things creative and entrepreneurial in the Champaign-Urbana community. Krannert Center Director Mike Ross discusses his vision for the enterprising change agents of the future: “For me, this event represents the intersection of creative thinkers from all over that I’ve always felt have been such an exciting part of the Illinois campus and community. When it comes to creative thinkers in the arts, sciences, humanities, social sciences, commerce, law, and education, we want to help bring these individuals together to discover how to make the world a better place. I think that one of the most beautiful things about being at the University of Illinois is that we are in an environment where the notion of collaboration and interdisciplinary thinking is in the DNA of the institution. I am very fond of saying that for over 100 years, the University of Illinois has been quietly changing the world; but I think it’s time to crank up the volume and make sure that people far and wide become increasingly aware that the score on the football field may change, but when it comes to the Nobel Prize the score is Illinois 23, Michigan 0.”