Biologists, technologists, and students walked through the rain and into a modern, rectangular building with transparent windows last Wednesday morning.
The 14th Annual Tech Briefing, a series of talks on topics ranging from ultrasound-guided invasive procedures to student laboratory space to self-administration of insulin, was hosted by the Winston-Salem Chamber on October 28 from 8:00 a.m. -10:00 a.m. in the Center for Design Innovation (CDI) on 450 Design Avenue.
The tech briefing was a way to bring a group of entrepreneurs together to present on various innovative ideas relating to biology and technology. “It brings creative ideas and companies to the attention of the community at large. Many people in our local community aren’t aware of all of the advances being developed here,” said Jill Atherton, the Vice President of Economic & Community Development for the Winston-Salem Chamber.
This event was sponsored by Cook Medical, BB&T, Allegacy, Center for Design Innovation, DataChambers, Kilpatrick Townsend, The Small Business and Technology Development Center, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.
The Center for Design Innovation is a multi-campus research center within the University of North Carolina system with modern interior with large windows and concrete floors. Its goal is “to catalyze economic transformation of the state’s Piedmont area,” said the primary CDI website. The CDI hosts the UNC School of the Arts, Winston-Salem State University and Forsyth Technical Community College.
The Center for Design Innovation is an extension of the Innovation Quarter, located in downtown Winston-Salem, and is an area for Winston-Salem students to learn and innovate through advanced digital technologies.
Ten speakers presented at the tech briefing and over 200 business professionals came to the conference, said Atherton.
“The Center for Design Innovation (CDI) has the ability to bring businesses together to discuss and innovate on issues affecting them,” said Atherton. “I think CDI has the potential to help companies rethink the way they are creating- to think outside the box.”
Audience member Barry Self, the Project Manager with Forsyth Tech Process Improvement, said that he believed the Winston-Salem Chamber opened the doors of the Center for Design Innovation so that the people of the Winston-Salem community could see the interior of the building.
The topics of the presentations varied with the technology involved. Dr. Kahlil Bitar invented a strategy to help the problem of fecal incontinence which effects 6.6 million people in the United States. “I thought the fecal incontinence innovation was very innovative and encouraging because I have an elderly father who has had challenges with this issue,” said Atherton.
Other presentations solely focused on the students of North Carolina institutions, such as the Science Skills Laboratory (SSL) idea presented by speaker Dr. Cheryl Burrell. The SSL is a facility that makes it possible for students to complete the laboratory requirement in a flexible environment at Forsyth Technical Community College.
“Life science companies are growing at a rapid rate in North Carolina. With SSL, students can come at any time when they are open and available,” said Dr. Burrell to the audience. “Instructors always present and there in person.”