2021 Annual Conference - Call for Presentations

Call for Presentations
IRI 2021 Virtual Annual Conference
May 17-21, 2021

The Innovation Research Interchange is seeking knowledgeable, dynamic speakers and facilitators for the 2021 Virtual Annual Conference.

Theme:  Innovation for the “Next Normal”

The first weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic forced organizations of every size and industry to adapt their business models and deploy measures at an unprecedented speed. Early initiatives focused on crafting work-from-home policies, shifting corporate assets, developing new ways to engage with their customers from afar, and in several instances, pivoting the resources and research to support public health concerns and produce desperately needed medical supplies. 
Organizations have shifted their thinking to long-term changes and what their business will look like in the post-COVID world. While it is difficult to predict what “normal” will look like in the coming months and years, companies have already started making more permanent changes to reflect the dramatic restructuring of their sectors. These strategies for the “next normal” must balance between stability and adaptability
The theme will draw from the lessons of 2020 and help companies move forward in the post-COVID world. These tracks and topics will explore new questions, best practices, and emerging trends that companies need to succeed as more agile and technologically advanced organizations. The program will explore topics related to the workforce, Industry 4.0, sustainability, and strategic innovation.


The conference audience are innovation professionals working in corporations, startups, universities, and federal laboratories. Attendees are primarily senior managers and above, though the full audience ranges from early-career to corporate executives, and from a wide variety of industries. Most conference attendees work for IRI member companies and our research partners,  though the event is open to non-members.

Tracks and Topics

We are accepting proposals that address one or more of the topics listed below (which are organized into five tracks), as well alternate topics that are relevant to the conference theme.

  1. Workforce
    1. Sustainable Remote Work Strategies
    2. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
    3. The Digital Skills Gap
  2. Industry 4.0 in Post-COVID Era
    1. Industrial Internet of Things Adoption
    2. Emerging technologies to support remote work/hands-free offices and labs
    3. Using IoT applications for safer offices and labs
  3. Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility
    1. Building sustainable practices into your business strategy
    2. Circular Economy business models
    3. Defining your company’s Corporate Social Responsibility strategy
  4. Strategic Innovation
    1. Identifying new growth opportunities
    2. Redesigning Your Business Model to Improve Organizational Speed
    3. Addressing operational/organizational weaknesses uncovered by the pandemic
    4. Positive industry changes that emerged due to the  pandemic
  5. Corporate Case Studies
Case studies can be related to any topics that fit into the theme and tracks listed above. Companies will continue to undergo major changes between now and May, so these sessions will tell the story from the beginning of the pandemic through spring 2021.
Accepted proposals can be modified in the coming months (if needed) to better address the current climate as it relates to your topic.

Session Categories and Formats

Express Learning Session  Approximate duration: 30 minutes
  • A facilitator and subject matter expert will lead a small group of attendees (10-15) in a structured discussion about the topic. Each attendee will each share their specific challenge related to the topic, followed by the subject matter expert providing recommendations and fellow attendees providing their own insight.
  • A case study presentation
Interactive Roundtable  Approximate duration: 75 minutesThese sessions will have structured discussion of a specific challenge in a small group with a subject matter expert facilitator. The person submitting the topic will be required to either volunteer as the facilitator or to have another person(s) confirmed to do so by December 1.
Breakout Sessions  Approximate duration (including Q&A): 60 minutes
  • Presentation (with slides) made by speaker(s), which includes detailed overview of the subject, followed by either Q&A or a facilitated discussion. Presentation must be pre-recorded.
  • A panel of experts and moderator discussing the topic through Q&A and audience polling. At least two members of the panel (can include the moderator) must be confirmed by the submission deadline, and all others by January 20.
  • Training session in which participants, often through exercises, develop skills and knowledge in a given field.

Selection Criteria

A proposal will be reviewed and scored on the basis of:
(a) Clarity of purpose
(b) Fit with session and meeting themes
(c) Timeliness of topic
(d) Exciting information appropriate for the intended audience
(e) Evidence of a high standard of research (if relevant)
(f)  Presentation will be delivered well and meet its audience’s needs

Policies and Procedures

  1. All program proposals must be submitted on or before 12:00pm ET on Monday, December 7, 2020 to smith@iriweb.org
  2. All proposals must include learning objectives (any proposals submitted without them will not be considered for the conference). Learning objectives should include what the audience will learn, how will the audience learn, and what skill or knowledge they will gain.
  3. All proposals must be accompanied by an example from a previous speaking engagement – (a video clip, presentation file or audio recording).
  4. Once a session is accepted, the presenter(s) may not change the conceptual content of the session, except with the approval of IRI.
  5. IRI reserves the ability to edit, change, or combine program proposals if it is educationally advantageous. Program organizers will be notified before changes are made.
  6. Authors will be informed on or before December 14, 2020 if their proposals were accepted.  
  7. Accepted speakers/panelists/moderators will receive a complimentary registration for the conference (for members: this will be in addition to the complimentary registrations you receive in your annual membership benefits)
  8. Breakout session speakers will be required to pre-record their presentation and participate in a live Q&A immediately after its conference broadcast.
  9. Every presenter must sign a Speaker Agreement Form prior to the conference.
  10. Speakers may be asked to convert conference presentation into a journal manuscript for IRI’s journal, Research-Technology Management
All proposals are due on or before December 7, 2020.
If you have questions regarding these policies and procedures or the submission process, please contact Mallory Smith at smith@iriweb.org, or 703-647-2600.