Bend tech CEO Preston Callicott has been thinking a lot lately about innovation, and not only in the software industry.

Callicott, owner of the web development firm Five Talent, sees Bend as a place where innovation is happening throughout the community and in all kinds of industries. He thinks Bend deserves more credit for its innovative spirit, so he’s organizing an Innovation District, which could host a startup accelerator or incubator. He partnered with the Bend Chamber of Commerce and Opportunity Knocks to create the first Innovation Day.

The event is happening Tuesday on the Oregon State University-Cascades campus. Tickets are $75 for the general public and $25 for students. They cover meals, drinks and a full day of small-group discussions led by local business and civic leaders.

“We have some phenomenal examples of innovation,” Callicott said.

One tech executive, Dan Vetras, CEO of Kollective, will host talks about innovation in technology, but the rest of the lineup comes from industries such as hyper-local food, outdoor products and education.

Among those expected to attend are Kelli Sparks of OSU-Cascades, Scott Allan of Hydro Flask, Shannon Sbarra of Volcano Veggies and 25 others.

“It’s not a sales pitch. It’s not a pitch deck,” Callicott said. Instead, five to 10 attendees will gather at one of 15 tables to spend 20 minutes discussing themes such as innovation in customer and market intelligence and company culture. Callicott will participate in discussions about the Innovation District.

Callicott said Innovation Day’s organizers wanted the format of the event itself to be innovative. Attendees won’t spend the day with the same group of five to 10 people. “We’re switching up the five to 10 people, so you’re constantly mixing the conversations up,” he said.

Attendance will be capped at 150 people, Callicott said. He said he expects the crowd to be broad-based — “people who are invested in the future.” And he hopes they go home inspired by the spirit of innovation. “It’s about passing on these concepts of innovation. I’ve found something I can implement in my life, my work and community.”

— Reporter: 541-617-7860, kmclaughlin@bendbulletin.com

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