Closing Plenary & Keynote

A talk by Eric Corey Freed, Melissa Kops and Nora Rizzo
CannonDesign, City of New Haven and Fusco Corporation

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About this talk

Build Back Better: How We Innovate Our Way to a New Normal

All of our design institutions (healthcare, education, workplace), were built around assumptions and conventional wisdoms that are no longer true. As a result, most of these facilities had to quickly pivot in order to continue to provide services during a global pandemic that disrupted every aspect of our lives.

As we look back at this strange period in history, what are the lessons we need to learn to move forward? As we look ahead at the future, what are the problems and questions we need to address in order to thrive? In this brand new talk for 2021, we’ll explore how the standard and outdated business practices are holding us back from innovating new solutions. We’ll examine the ways we eliminate or create blind spots to bold ideas and how to open up your company to engage in an innovation strategy to solve problems often assumed to be unsolvable.

Based on the insight we’ve developed working with Fortune 500 clients, we’ll share how organizations, companies, and municipalities can accelerate their plans for sustainability, climate, carbon, equity, or resilience, while addressing the organizational limitations of waste, inefficiency, and fear. Discover how to create an innovation roadmap to define the new normal for your company, customers, clients, and colleagues.

We’ll explore the ways that traditional business thinking and industry standards are holding you back, losing you customers, and destroying your competitive advantage.

Learning Objectives:

Objective #1: Uncover a “first principles” approach to defining the problems that need to be solved

Objective #2: Devise a plan to lead your team through an innovation strategy to achieve specific outcomes, such as achieving zero carbon

Objective #3: Explore how communications often block people from sharing their best ideas and solutions

Objective #4: Formulate a roadmap to implement your boldest vision and ideas for your company, customers, clients, and colleagues

Melissa Kops


Nora Rizzo


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