A weekend of inspiration: learn about the future from the people creating it By Jillian Chandler | Photo courtesy Think Big
The Think Big Festival—which brings the community together to learn about the future and what’s possible—returns to downtown Coeur d’Alene this April. Showcasing and celebrating local entrepreneurs and creators who are building remarkable products, companies and technology—right here in our area—the event aims “to inspire the community to think bigger, dream about how they might help change the world, and showcase those who are writing better stories for their lives,” shares Kirsten Rowley, community lead for the Innovation Collective Coeur d’Alene, which puts on the event.
This weekend-long festival features activities for the public, speaking panels with guests from leading tech companies and change-making startups, and a street fair with vendors, inventors, tech displays and other businesses as a chance for the town to show off what they’re doing and creating.
“We’ve seen crowds of over 500 participants, and we expect it to be as big—if not bigger—for 2023,” says Kirsten. “We would love to see even more people there in celebration and support of our wildly creative community.”
Spanning a variety of different activities and events for the community to experience and attend, it all begins Thursday, April 13, with the Sunset Reception, a cocktail party to allow Innovation Collective members and their guests to meet new like-minded people and kick off the fun. Next is the VIP Think Tank on Friday, April 14, where big thinkers and doers in town are solving problems in robotics and AI. Later that evening, there’s the Tech Carnival street fair to showcase local entrepreneurs and creators, along with their products and inventions, for the community to interact with and experience. (Those with displays that are interactive, innovative, and original creations can apply to be a part of the Tech Carnival by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.) This street fair will also have food vendors (such as The Village Bakery, the Burger Dock, Rivaura Winery, My Sushi Sensei, and High Society Brewing Company), local education institutions, nonprofit organizations, and a wide variety of startups ranging from industries such as virtual and augmented reality, robotics, AI, cybersecurity, app development, and so much more!
There is sure to be something interesting for everyone, and all ages are welcome for the Tech Carnival, which is free for the whole community.
On Saturday, April 15, there’s the Speaking Series (tickets can be purchased through Eventbrite for $45) with a panel of industry leaders, venture capitalists, founders, CEOs and others discussing their insights about the future. In past years, guest speakers have included people from companies like Amazon, Tesla, Microsoft, Google, Airbnb, Johns Hopkins, Mayfield, and more! This year’s lineup of industry leaders, though yet to be released as of press time, is sure to be just as impressive.
“Afterward, we award one person or company with the ‘Rutan Confidence in Nonsense Award,’ which recognizes who has the craziest big idea in town that is now viable and growing,” smiles Kirsten.
The Think Big Festival will conclude on Saturday evening following the Speaking Series and Confidence in Nonsense Award ceremony with a community party. The details and location of the party will be shared throughout the other portions of the weekend’s festivities, so make sure to be there and stay tuned!
“We encourage people to attend the Think Big Festival because there is so much talent and innovation right here in our own community that so many of us probably didn’t even know existed, and we want to blow your mind and allow you to come together and think bigger about what’s possible!” shares Kirsten. “This event is for everyone—entrepreneurs, creators, employees, side-hustlers, mad scientists, parents, students, teachers, families, nerds, curious humans, those who want to live a better tomorrow and build a stronger community … truly anyone!”
Don’t miss the chance to experience the Think Big Festival on April 13 through 15. If you would like a copy of the full weekend agenda or are interested in VIP opportunities for cocktail receptions or Think Tanks, please reach out to email@example.com.
“We [the Innovation Collective] believe that society and systems today are directly challenging the true human condition and what all people really want—which is to live a life of beauty and value, with purpose and passion, where they can get their hands dirty and build things they love and bring them into the world,” affirms Kirsten. “Figure out who you really want to be and find a tribe that can help you become that person, and go create the life you dream of by doing the work. We are here to help you with an entire ecosystem that can make it happen!”
For those interested in becoming an Innovation Collective member, you can find more information by visiting InnovationCollective.co. Their transformative events, held throughout the year, include Fireside Chat, Coffee and Concepts, and Story Summit, all offering the support, space and time to help you bring your big idea to life.
Coeur d'Alene's Innovation Collective is located at 418 East Lakeside Avenue in downtown Coeur d'Alene. Follow the Think Big Festival event page on Facebook or email Kirsten to stay up to date with all the details of where each portion of the festival will take place, as different parts will be in different locations throughout the downtown area.