HUBWeek Shines a Light on Boston’s Thriving Innovation Economy

ILLUMINUS Exhibit, HUBweek 2015 | Photo Source: HUBweek.org

Boston is a city that often struggles with its outward perception. It’s sometimes seen as subordinate to New York City, its Northeast neighbor that’s both a media capital one of america’s largest markets; exciting, innovative companies have been known to leave for greener pastures out West; city leaders recently had to say no to one of the largest sporting events in the world, the Olympics, for reasons that ran the gamut from financial to infrastructural. Yet those who haven’t looked beyond the surface are missing out on a unique ecosystem that’s advancing the world in which we live on a daily basis.

Thankfully, those perceptions change next week. Sunday marks the beginning of the second annual HUBweek, a creative festival celebrating innovation at the intersection of art, science and technology. As we saw last year, HUBweek is a time for Boston’s true character and personality to shine through the veneer that outsiders have assigned to it.

For the economically-inclined and financially-minded of us, HUBweek is about more than culture: it’s an event that showcases the many brilliant minds, companies and emerging technologies Boston has to offer. As HUBweek becomes a staple of our calendars each year, we’ll see investment capital continue to grow in Boston. Our city won’t be regarded as a place that merely educates the bright and talented before sending them off to the bright lights of Silicon Valley. Instead, more of these people will choose to stay in our ecosystem, contribute to our economy and build the future.

In short, HUBweek is the festival that rewrites the narrative of Boston, in our own words.

With more than 70 organizations participating in HUBweek, and 50,000 expected attendees, HUBweek is a monster to navigate. If you’re like me, your time is both precious and short.. For those who need suggestions, here are the events that have me most excited.

Sunday, September 25

De-Stress Boston — 10am-12pm, Massachusetts General Hospital, Yawkey Building Lobby
Ever get a little bit too caught up in work, life and managing it all? I put a meditation room in the Placester office for this reason. But if you don’t have that, the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Mass General Hospital is kicking off HUBweek by teaching people how to manage stress and anxiety — not a bad idea on a Sunday.

Monday, September 26

Our Convention — 10am-5pm, Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate
This is exactly the type of event that can make a lasting change for those who consider themselves catalysts. Hosted by City Awake and The Boston Globe, 500 delegates ages 21 to 39 who were nominated by participating organizations will meet to build community and explore solutions to issues facing Greater Boston.

Faneuil Forum — 6–8pm, Faneuil Hall
Last year’s audience was gifted a surprise, intimate, concert by panelist Yo-Yo Ma. This year, Harvard philosophy professor known for his course on justice, Michael Sandel, will forgo the panel and engage the crowd directly in a civil debate on today’s most pressing ethical issues.

Tuesday, September 27

Expanding Opportunity in the Digital Age — 10am-12pm, MIT Media Lab
People always hear about technology companies in terms of money, but as anyone in our field knows, real success is all about building value for society and business. This event will bring you to MIT’s Media Lab, where business and civic leaders, researchers, entrepreneurs, students and workers will discuss how to broaden economic opportunity through technological advancement.

Collaborating at the Intersection of Art and Science — 3–4pm, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
For a short time, I lived in Florence, Italy, where I had a front-row seat to a moment in time when science and art first came together in a popular way. This event explores that phenomenon with a discussion about how artists and scientists collaborate to push innovation to its limits.

Women in Innovation Story Slam: Aha Moments — 4:30–6:30pm, Microsoft NERD Center
In the past few years, the technology industry has come under criticism for ignoring the female perspective. Boston is home to some of the leading women in science and technology roles around the world. In this exciting event, these women will speak to inspire others in the community and explain the moments that changed their careers.

Wednesday, September 28

A Systems-Based Approach to New Products, New Services, and a New World — 8am — 5:30pm, MIT’s Wong Auditorium
Have you ever looked to change a process for a better outcome or create a new product? If so, you could likely benefit from systems thinking, an approach that builds interdependent pieces into dynamic structures. Hear how to do it from the greatest minds in the field at MIT.

Explore the Emerging Worlds of Virtual and Augmented Reality — 1–5pm, Harvard Innovation Lab
Augmented reality goes far deeper than Google Glass or Pokémon GO, and virtual reality is more important than the Oculus Rift. Find out how these two technologies are already changing our physical world for the better at the Harvard Innovation Lab.

Next Generation of Ideas, featuring The Beantown Throwdown — 5–9pm, Hatch Fenway
I’ll be part of a panel to give students, startups and anyone curious about new ideas insight into taking an idea and developing a company around it. I’m excited to hear from teams that represent more than 10 local colleges and universities in a pitch-off format. Come get inspired (and please, say hello).

Thursday, September 29

Stories of Grassroots Change — 4–6pm, Atlantic Wharf
More than any other U.S. city, Boston has a history of driving monumental change from the grassroots level. That tradition continues today in the fields of education, healthcare, environmental conservation and equality. This event will feature stories from local activists about their change campaigns, and what inspired them to take up their causes.

Welcome to Boston, the IoT Hub of the Future — 4–7pm, LogMeIn
We’ve all heard that the Internet of Things (IoT) is coming. But did you know that Boston has a growing market of leaders in the space? LogMeIn is opening its office to talk about how IoT is changing the way we live, and what technology is in our near future.

Friday, September 30

Demo Day — 11am-6pm, Hynes Convention Center
Ready for some inspiration? Check out Demo Day, where leaders from the startup community fill the Hynes Convention Center to showcase what they’re up to across healthcare, social entrepreneurship, technology, consumer, retail and other industries. Check out their products and make connections with the people who are creating change at the ground floor. You may even find a new gig.

Saturday, October 1

Building the Hospital of the Future: A Kids-Only Minecraft Hackathon — All Day, The Museum of Science
It’s not every day that we turn technology over to the children, but some of the biggest names in Boston — the Museum of Science, Boston Children’s Hospital, Hacking Pediatrics and Microsoft — are doing just that for inspiration. In this event, patients from the Boston Children’s Hospital network will join other local youth to use Minecraft to reimagine what hospital spaces can be.

MIT Museum’s Idea Hub — 3D Printing and Design — 12–4pm, MIT Museum
By now, you’ve probably heard that 3D printing is revolutionizing the manufacturing industry and helping turn great ideas into great solutions faster. In this event, the MIT Museum is helping people get to know the technology by allowing them to design their own 3D sculptures.

Sunday, October 2

GlobeDocs Documentary Film Festival, Sacred Cod — 7pm, Coolidge Corner Theatre
Throughout the week, GlobeDocs is hosting a film festival that showcases the film and production talent we have in our area. If you have to choose one film, I recommend Sacred Cod, which reminds us what attracted people to the Massachusetts Bay in the first place: fishing. The film considers the current climate, and whether or not we risk losing cod in the region for good.

ILLUMINUS Exhibit, HUBweek 2015 | Photo Source: HUBweek.org

Whether you’re a skeptic, or you’re convinced that Boston’s ecosystem has more to offer than it gets credit for, do yourself a favor by taking advantage of HUBweek. Open your mind, meet new and exciting people, and have a voice in the creation of the future. I hope to see you while you’re out and about!