InnovateUM to Celebrate Innovation, Change-Making

April 11, 2019

UM News Service

Last year, innovateUM brought together more than 200 guests.MISSOULA – The fourth annual innovateUM event, a celebration of innovation and change-making at the University of Montana, in Missoula and across Montana will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 16, at the DoubleTree Hotel in downtown Missoula.

During innovateUM, UM President Seth Bodnar, Mayor John Engen and Missoula Economic Partnership Director Grant Kier will share updates on new and emerging collaborations that bring together the city, UM and greater local community.

 “InnovateUM demonstrates that we are stronger when we work across geographic, institutional and disciplinary boundaries,” Bodnar said. “This collective work is necessary if we are going to continue addressing today’s most complex challenges.”

This year’s innovateUM is a collaboration between the UM Office of Research and Creative Scholarship and its Broader Impacts Group, the Missoula Economic Partnership and the Missoula Mayor’s Office.

 “Since it launched in 2016, innovateUM has created a space where the city, University and community can come together to champion innovation and collaboration across sectors and institutions,” said Scott Whittenburg, vice president for research and creative scholarship. “By partnering with the Missoula Economic Partnership at this year’s innovateUM, we’re intentionally exploring how higher education and economic development can work hand in hand to create opportunity and strengthen our community.”

 “Communities make positive change when we talk, think and dream together,” Engen said. “InnovateUM is about bringing enthusiastic people together to imagine how we can be better and what we need to do to get better. Seeds are planted every year in this conversation, and we’re beginning to enjoy the harvest.”

The event agenda also includes:

  • A keynote talk by Mathew Wendell with IBM Garage on creating innovative environments.
  • A keynote talk by Rachel Reilly with the Economic Innovation Group on the Opportunity Zone program, an economic development tool intended to attract private investment into economically distressed communities and promote social mobility.
  • A conversation about community-engaged filmmaking with members of the production team from the television series “Perma Red.” Panelists will include Johnny Arlee, a Salish elder and adviser to “Perma Red,” and director Maya Dittloff.
  • A live podcast hosted by Justin Angle, associate professor in the UM College of Business, spotlighting innovative UM and community partnerships tackling complex challenges and opportunities in Montana.
  • A lightning talk by Big Sky High School students sharing the big ideas that emerged at innovateHS, a partner event for 250 Missoula County high-school students hosted by UM’s Mansfield Center on April 15.
  • An afternoon panel discussion and breakout sessions focused on the potential for Missoula’s designated Opportunity Zone.

 InnovateUM is free and open to the public, but registration is required. To learn more and register, visit This year’s event sponsors include WGM Group, Blackfoot and Goodworks Ventures.



Contact: Nathalie Wolfram, UM Broader Impacts Group associate director, 406-243-4828,