Innovation Leadership Forum

The ILF Mission:

The ILF endeavors to promote events in the Philadelphia Region that create a new dynamic of collaborative innovation between the Private, Public and Academic Sectors. This new dynamic is to invigorate regional economic growth and opportunity. Collaborative Innovation is the most direct way to solve vexing problems and unravel the region’s true potential!!

Next Event: “How to Become a Great Preneur”

Nov. 14th (Philadelphia Universities DEC Center — 9 am to 2 pm)


This Event is in the Form of an Unconference!

What is an Unconference?

An Unconference combines the level of synergy and excitement present in a good coffee break with the substantive activity and results characteristic of a good meeting. It’s an event where incredible things happen as participants choose the topics and facilitate their own discussions. Ours in focused on becoming a great preneur.

Here is a link to a video about this unique event format: Unconference 101

What’s a preneur?

Preneur is from the French and means “taker” or “one who takes.” It’s become synonymous with taking advantage of or creating an opportunity. Its forms are seemingly endless. A person who takes the risk of starting a business or businesses is called an entrepreneur. An entrepreneurial individual within a large organization is an intrapreneur.  An enterprising individual that starts a venture not merely for profit but for inclusion of the communities that so far have been left out of the main stream would be called a sociopreneur.  You get the idea…

Whatever type of preneur you are or aspire to be, this is the event for you.

What’s in it for you?

That depends on what you put into it, because you and fellow participants determine the discussion and learning topics. For instance, if you are interested in finding out the basics of building preneurial skills, you can post that as a topic and see how many others share your interest. At the very least, you’ll get to explore what other great preneurs have done and how they think; find out what’s on the minds of your colleagues and what piques their curiosity most about preneurship; and hear a keynote address from a rock star of the preneur world.


Get Additional Detailed Information!

spinelliheadshotDr. Stephen Spinelli, Jr. – Keynote SpeakerStephen Spinelli, Jr. began his entrepreneurial career two years after graduating from college. He cofounded Jiffy Lube International, Inc. in 1979 under the leadership of his college football coach. Three years later, Stephen became a franchisee and remained a director of the company. He grew to become Jiffy Lube’s largest franchisee, and posted 39 consecutive profitable quarters. As Co-Founder of Jiffy Lube International and Chairman and CEO of the American Oil Change Corporation, Stephen helped pioneer the quick lube industry nationwide. Jiffy Lube became the nation’s dominant competitor with more than 1,000 service centers.  In June 2007, Stephen was named President of Philadelphia University, an institution that is a recognized leader in the architecture, design, engineering, business, textiles, and health and sciences fields.
Stephen is a unique Philadelphia resource, he’s been a thought leader, author, educator and administrator and a good friend of the ILF/GPSEG community. We’re very fortunate that Dr. Spinelli, as our first ILF keynote has agreed to kickoff our first conference/unconference.

For additional details click here!

This event is open to the Public!! Dr. Natalie Nixon — Unconference Moderator
Natalie is a hybrid thinker, comfortably synthesizing creative and analytical thought processes from design and business to arrive at innovative opportunities. At Philadelphia University she is an Associate Professor in the Fashion Merchandising Management program and Director of the Strategic Design MBA.  A practitioner and researcher of design thinking, she has 15 years of experience as an educator on the secondary and university levels and worked in the fashion industry as an entrepreneurial hat designer as well as in apparel sourcing for The Limited Brands in Sri Lanka and Portugal. Natalie’s research and consulting interests are in business design, experiential service design and applying strategies from the fashion industry to a range of sectors, utilizing style strategically to build brand distinction. She was certified by the National Charrette Institute at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design to lead charrette trainings; she uses the charrette methodology to lead ideation, opportunity finding and consensus building for a range of organizations.Natalie has led and moderated a number of Unconferences at Philadelphia University so we’re sure to get the benefit of her experience and wisdom on this format. We’re excited to have such a dynamic speaker/moderator for our first Conference (in the Unconference format).

Here are some quotes from participants:

“Great topic, venue and the presenters were terrific. Heard accolades from everyone after… all the way to through the parking lot.  Refueling stop for innovation highway.” Kevin Connor (Owner, Modern Strategic Branding + Communications)

“Great opportunity to get together with like-minded people”  Dr. Janice Presser (CEO, The Gabriel Institute, Creator of the ‘Technology of Teaming’)

“For a 1st of its kind event with GPSEG, it was a home run”. Thomas Nelson (CEO – Lodestar Corp).

“One of the most intellectually stimulating meetings in years!” Jim Pennypacker (Publisher and Editor-in-Chief at Maven House Press)

“Nice event…thanks”. Frank Rowe (Senior Vice President at PeopleMetrics)


GPSEG’s Innovation Leadership Forum is dedicated to the field of innovation management and the growing need to educate the public in one of the most discussed topics in the world. The U.S. has long held a leadership position in innovation but the rest of the world has caught up. Innovation is defined as “doing things differently and making it work.” This definition competes with many similar definitions – which is one of the challenges as there are as many definitions as grains of sand on the beach. We endeavor to uncover the mystery around this topic with a series of forums that are intended to educate, enlighten, entertain and stimulate your senses. We endeavor to have the thought leaders of the day speaking at a series of forums that will also include panel discussions and other interesting interactive activities. The first 4 major themes correspond to the “Pillars of Innovation” and represent the first series. They are:

  • Business Model Innovation “when the game gets tough, change the game” (held on April 4th, 2012)
  • Innovation Culture “developing and maintaining the DNA of the innovative organization” (held on Sept. 6th, 2012)
  • Process Innovation “the method & language of innovation, centering on improved decision-making” (held on Dec. 12, 2012)
  • Product/Service Innovation “the artifacts or output of innovation” (held on March 28, 2013)

The second series builds on the first series. Each of the 4 pillars can be found in these innovation themes:

  • Innovations in Healthcare “Philadelphia region’s unique innovation brand” (scheduled for October 3, 2013)  First in the second innovation series. We will be holding this forum at the University Science Center.
  • Role of the Public sector in Innovation “Cities have become the new Laboratory of Innovation” (February 27, 2014)
  • Design Innovations “The next generation of innovations” (May 29, 2014)
  • 2nd Career Entrepreneurs: Translating Corporate to Entrepreneurial Success “What is it about entrepreneurs that promotes innovation?” (October 27, 2014)

We have created our 3rd series…focused on most impactful applications of innovations in the Philadelphia economy:

  • Exploring Corporate Entrepreneurship (Intrapreneurship): How it Works “Philadelphia’s application of the   entrepreneurial skills and spirit to corporate environment in order to develop new markets, explore ‘white space’ opportunities and new techniques, processes and products/services.” Comcast will be hosting this meeting and highlight their approach to intrapreneurship. (May 13, 2015)
  • How to Becoming a Great ‘Preneur’.  This event will be presented as an ‘unconference’…allowing our attendees to decide the specific areas to explore in the breakout sessions…expect this to be a 5 hour event.   (Nov. 14, 2015)

We will be populating this site as more details are developed. We will be including links, articles and videos that will enhance the mission of the site and create a connected set of content.