Guest Blogger Laura Flanagan on Mass Innovation Night

Happy Birthday Mass Innovation Night!

Boston-local innovators, business people and entrepreneurs gathered on Wednesday, April 14th to view the latest products and to celebrate the one year birthday of MIN. Five minute presentations were given by Nine Technology, EditMe, Appstella and WineHug introducing their recent creations. Other innovative products and companies, such as Code Blue, Greenhorn Connect, the Suntaug Group, VC Ready Law Group,Schenkel/Stegman Communications Design and Black Screen Studios, were on display in adjoining rooms. The evening allowed for questions and answers with the experts, executives and designers of products as well as networking with other attendants.

The one thing the evening did have a dearth of was college students! Looking around, other than myself, Eric Leist and Chelsea Alexander, there were a meager two other college students. What’s with the lack of college communication student participation? I mean is there really that much else to do on a Wednesday night at 7 pm? There certainly aren’t any good television shows on!

Events like Mass Innovation Night give students an opportunity to practice the skills learned in COM classes and PRSSA meetings in a safe and comfortable, yet real world setting. And professionals in attendance are eager to talk with fresh faces and future interns/employees! You can have a casual conversation with an alumni or alumna about the changes made since he or she graduated or (if you are Chelsea Alexander and me) you could have an intricate conversation with Steven Frumin, Co-Founder of Code Blue, about marketing techniques and advertising decisions. Whatever your choice of conversation is, it is a great way to practice for interviews: asking questions, building confidence, learning lingo and representing yourself in a positive way.

Okay, yea and I know you’re all thinking “that all sounds great, but this wasn’t a public relations event so why would I go?” Well, just like how communication schools emphasize a foundation in liberal arts for the purpose of producing well-rounded graduates, it’s important to be aware of your communication surroundings. Also, if you find yourself working for a boutique PR firm, you will most likely find yourself working hand in hand with some of these companies offering services such as software and graphic design or legal consultation.

Jeff Cutler, a social media journalist, also suggests that by attending these events and using them as learning situations, PR students “would find out how people think about different products and services, so, sort of the same application except that on the other side you’re thinking about how are people presenting their message and how they’re presenting the product and then think of them as a bigger company and put yourself in the shoes of the consumer and say ‘okay how do I respond to their consumer to what they’re doing now and how can I improve on that.’”

Therefore, all communications student should seriously consider attending some of these types of events! It’s a great way to learn, network and possibly meet your future employer (I mean the hiring professionals were wearing red colored dots on their name tags for gods sake)!

Keep a look out for future Mass Innovation Nights, held every second Wednesday of the month, and other networking events like it!

The celebration would not have been complete without my personal favorite innovation: cake. Compliments of EditMe.

Special thanks to Bobbie Carlton and Dan Englander for organizing this event and the IBM Innovations Center for providing us with an evacuation center from the flooded Charles River Museum of Industry.

-Laura Flanagan, BUPRSSA Professional Outreach Coordinator 2010-2011


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