Conversations in Innovation

At the Children’s Cancer Association (CCA), our community, from the families we serve to the corporate partners that support us, includes dreamers, doers, and achievers. For the last three years, we’ve had the honor of hosting Conversations in Innovation, where some of Oregon’s influential business leaders from a variety of industries come to discuss innovation in Portland.

Technology Makes My Life…

This year, Scott Burton, CCA board member and Cambia Health Solutions Director of Revenue Management and Portfolio Positioning, moderated the panel discussion around technology. Panelists and guests were faced with the ever-challenging question of how technology disrupts or enhances our lives.

Through the discussion, Pete Baker, VP Software and Service Group at Intel shared the story of a surgeon who uses technology to practice brain surgery through a VR platform. From LAIKA, Steve Emerson, VFX Supervisor, discussed how the end goal of visual effects today and visual effects 30 years ago hasn’t changed much.

John Simpson, Global Chief Marketing Officer at POSSIBLE , certainly utilizes technology in his job and life. He sees a world where technology compliments our lives. Similar to Kurt Huffman, Managing Partner, ChefsTable, he sees the opportunity for a counter-trend. People will crave human connection; handmade goods, and “old-school” ways of life. Can we have both?

Sadie Lincoln, barre3 co-founder and CEO, started barre3 workout classes to create a community and advocate for healthy lifestyles. The personal connection is important to their brand, but their online classes account for a significant portion of their business. Similarly, Kathleen Poe, Senior Portfolio Director in the Innovation Accelerator at Nike, sees how technology can force our hands into innovation for innovation’s sake and encourages her team to step back and understand if they’re truly solving a problem for their customer.

Parting Thoughts from the Panel

Those in attendance walked away with one important conclusion, technology is here to stay, and we have an opportunity to use it for good. We will be able to increase our efficiency, master our skills, and optimize our processes. The speed in which we engage with it will only increase, and this will make human connection all the more important. Multiple panel members emphasized the importance of putting human connection first, an example being enforcing a “no phone zone” for their family while at dinner. A time for connection and discussion. Panelists highlighted that self-awareness and thoughtfulness of how and when we use technology is vital.

Thank You

Each year the topic for Conversations in Innovation changes, but the purpose stays the same, to bring together a community of bright-minded people who want to make a difference! This event is free to the public, and while you’ll have to wait another year for your chance to attend, we have many incredible events that take place each month. Check them out and get involved!

Thank you to our panelists and our sponsor Washington Trust Bank! See you next year!