Creativity & Innovation

Alumnus, adjunct professor, and acclaimed filmmaker Chico Colvard giving his IDEAS Boston presentation.

IDEAS UMass Boston

  • Thought leadership conference that brings together leading thinkers

  • Artists, surgeons, economists, and inventors share their next big idea

Telecom entrepreneur Eric Giler imagined a world where you never have to plug in a cell phone, laptop, or television. Financial strategist Daryl Collins said we could learn a lot from people who live on $2 a day. Anti-corruption crusader Lawrence Lessig said the United States needs to get back to its roots as a representative democracy that is dependent on the people.

Those are the kind of ideas shared at IDEAS Boston, the forum for top thinkers and innovators held each year at UMass Boston. The university took over the IDEAS forum in 2011.

“We see IDEAS Boston as another way we can foster the collaborations that help keep our region in the forefront of innovation and ingenuity,” UMass Boston Chancellor J. Keith Motley said.

Since 2004, the conference has gathered some of the biggest innovators from Boston and the surrounding region—artists, surgeons, geochemists, economists, poets, inventors—and asked them to speak about their big ideas.

“I cannot recall attending a conference with a more interesting, exciting and exhilarating group of speakers at such a beautiful location,” one 2011 attendee wrote.

“IDEAS Boston 2011 did not disappoint,” wrote another attendee. “The speakers were dynamic, provocative, innovative and humorous! (On Point’s) Tom Ashbrook is a host/moderator extraordinaire. A well-spent day. Thank you, Chancellor Motley and UMass Boston, for your commitment to enhancing the citizenry of Boston.”

Poet and activist Marjorie Agosín, who was one of 16 speakers at IDEAS Boston 2011, said she was honored to be among the featured innovators.

“I loved the spirit of the conference and the lovely people I met,” she said. “I also felt so proud and connected to our city.”

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