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IFT FIRST Innovation Lab

Wednesday, July 13th at IFT FIRST – A day to travel or a can’t-miss experience?

The last day of a conference is often the dreaded timeslot no speaker wants to be assigned.  Data shows our Wednesday sessions saw >50% drop in attendance over the previous two days of the event.  Instead of continuing to schedule sessions that everyone dreads, how can Wednesday, the last day of IFT FIRST, send attendees home with a bang and become a can’t-miss experience of the event? This year we are reconceiving the schedule, leaning into what IFT does best: connecting experienced and curious professionals you’ll only find at IFT FIRST to collaboratively imagine the future of food and beverage.

This engaging and interactive experience will focus on real-world product development scenarios, challenging even the most experienced food professionals to think bigger and bolder. The goal is for attendees to leave IFT FIRST feeling energized, inspired, and more well-connected. 

Wednesday Keynote

Cultivating Curiosity: The Key to Unlocking Innovative Solutions to Complex Problems
Time: 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. CT
Location: McCormick Place S100 Ballroom

How curious are you? When it comes to solving problems, how often do you challenge your own thinking? Do you follow the same process every time?

When solving problems, we often jump to solutions so quickly that we miss the mark because we haven't taken the time to find and solve the "right" problem. Flexing our curiosity muscle helps us view complex problems from multiple perspectives, leading us to new and exciting solutions.

Join us for an interactive session where you will learn six curiosity mindsets and how they can shift your thinking to help you uncover the obvious or see something new. If you're willing to activate your curiosity, you can test your new skills with our immersive, hands-on IFT FIRST Innovation Lab taking place immediately following the session!

IFT FIRST Innovation Lab

Time: 10:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. CT
Location: McCormick Place S100 Ballroom
Consumer personas and real-world problems will be inspired by the rapidly advancing world of proteins!

All innovations stem from an idea; an idea for a product extension based on new data, an idea for a new technology application based on a recent publication, or an idea that will transform food as we know it today based on a chance interaction with an expert at a conference. For that idea to transform into a true innovation, it must be discussed, analyzed, questioned, or built upon by other passionate individuals who come to the table with their own unique set of knowledge and expertise. The IFT FIRST Innovation Lab is a choose-your-own-adventure experience that will help you spark new ideas in the field of proteins. Based on real-world consumer personas and problems, you can explore the Inspiration Station to see what sparks a new idea, visit the Curiosity Lounge to challenge your thinking and other participants, then bring your idea to life at the Creation Station where there will be the chance to have your idea sketched by a graphic artist.

Mimosa bars and light snacks will help keep the ideas flowing. Now, are you curious? Come see what it's all about!

How to Participate:

Active Participant

  • Take an idea you already have, something you’ve been brainstorming on for a while, or something that was sparked from your earlier experiences at IFT FIRST, and take it through the experience!
  • Select a consumer persona and go through the experience form start to finish with a new idea sparked from the Inspiration Station.

Curious Explorers

  • The ‘Stop By’: Grab a mimosa and take a few minutes to see what this new experience is all about! Jot a thought or idea down on the Wonder Wall, or just browse and get back to your day!
  • The ‘Idea Catalyst’:  Help other participants refine or expand their ideas. Pop around the stations to ask interesting questions, share unique knowledge or experiences, or help someone on their journey from start to finish! 
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