(Photo by Tim Savage)
The tradition is set. And helpfully, more groups of people are joining in.
That’s the message coming out of the fifth annual Baltimore Innovation Week. The annual open calendar of events around technology, entreprenuership and innovation that we at Technical.ly organized with the support of dozens of community partners, event organizers and sponsors, including our title sponsor 14 West, part of The Agora Companies.
In reviewing the week’s footprint and impact, one of the biggest changes this year was an unexpected jump in the number of events that landed during the week — 70, a more than 20 percent jump from last year. That follows 2015’s big surge in the aggregate number of attendees. (Look back at five years of BIW magazines for insights.) All told, nearly 10,000 people were out during the week.
It’s what an organic community event series looks like: habits are formed and relationships grown over time.
In truth, among the loudest early feedback following #BIW16 was that perhaps, yes, we’ve crossed the threshold of there being too many events during one week, a lesson we’ll take into next year.
It’s worth a reminder of the Innovation Week format: We at Technical.ly organize several of the week’s larger and more-programmed events, including an awards ceremony and a series of conferences, alongside a curated community calendar of events from you that align with BIW’s mission. In tandem, the events offer a comprehensive picture of Baltimore’s tech and startup sector. Those community events range from a broadly inclusive Kaiser Permanente social good hackathon to the gargantuan networking affair Beta City.
As always, beyond the powerful little moments of connections and discovery, lots of bigger outcomes can be pointed toward. Here are some from #BIW16:
- Community leaders began rallying a voice for working with the city’s next mayor.
- The Innovation Awards honored a dozen leaders following a few thousand votes from the community.
- Betamore and City Garage again partnered for a smash-hit Beta City.
- Startup community organizers from around the country were in town thanks to longtime Startup Maryland organizer Mike Binko.
- A Baltimore-native teammate of ours took a really thoughtful look at some violence that happened alongside thriving innovation events.
- The annual code jam from Code in the Schools empowered kids with game-building lessons.
- Organizers said you just can’t overstate how important hosting a hackathon at West Baltimore’s Coppin State University was.
- High-level, wide-ranging dev talks inspired a deeper technical community.
- Baltimore cops hosted a meaningful discussion of the department’s data release plans.
- The decidedly thoughtful sciences community came together at the University of Maryland BioPark to check in on tech transfer work being done in the area.
- The city’s AR/VR scene had its biggest gathering yet — yeah, we did some of that at our kickoff, too.
- Professional development abounded at a best-in-trade digital marketing conference — and a related look at Startup Soiree.
- The week offered a chance to recap Baltimore’s tech history, gauge the influence of an early pioneer and ponder the tech community’s future.