InnovateUM 2017 to Explore Design Thinking

April 21, 2017

MISSOULA – Innovators, researchers and entrepreneurs will gather at the University of Montana on Wednesday, April 26, for innovateUM, an annual conference organized by the UM Office of Research and Creative Scholarship and the Broader Impacts Group. This year’s innovateUM explores design thinking – a process for solving problems and creating opportunities.

Elysa Fenenbock of Google, IDEO and Stanford and Steve Holmes, vice president of product integration and engineering for Intel’s New Devices Group, will lead keynote sessions at this fully booked event in UM’s Harold and Priscilla Gilkey Building. The day’s lineup also includes breakout sessions on locally applied design thinking, hands-on workshops and a design showcase.

“InnovateUM creates a lively environment where local and national thought leaders can exchange ideas and seed opportunities for growth and innovation,” said Scott Whittenburg, UM vice president for research and creative scholarship. “We envision innovateUM as an opportunity to spark conversations and make connections that will enrich UM research and creative scholarship and power entrepreneurship and growth in our state.”

 “We’re excited to bring people together from Missoula and from across Montana and the nation to explore design thinking, a process that all disciplines and economic sectors can use to tackle real-world problems,” said Holly Truitt, director of the UM Broader Impacts Group and spectrUM Discovery Area. “The day will be a dynamic celebration of innovation and change-making, with everything from world-class keynotes to a hands-on workshop in designing a joyful, high-impact life to a high-tech fashion show featuring pieces created at Intel’s New Devices Group and by innovateUM attendees. We aim to have fun and to wow while building collaborations and generating potentially transformative new ideas."

Although innovateUM is fully booked with over 100 local, state and national participants, additional spaces are available for “Becoming Innovation-Forward,” an interactive session from 1:15 to 3 p.m. in Room 015 of the Gilkey Building. UM School of Art Director Brad Allen, School of Art Professor Elizabeth Dove and Blackstone LaunchPad Director Paul Gladen will facilitate the workshop along with special guest Gordon Jones, founding dean of the Boise State University College of Innovation and Design and formerly of the Harvard Innovation Lab. Email Sara Bunton at to register for this session.

To learn more about innovateUM and see the full agenda, visit or join the innovateUM Facebook group at


Contact: Scott Whittenburg, UM vice president for research and creative scholarship, 406-243-6670,; Holly Truitt, director, UM Broader Impacts Group and spectrUM Discovery Area, 406-243-4828,