Innovate Mississippi

Point Innovation Magazine Winter 2013

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IMAGINATION@WORK #MsInNov M I S S I S S I P P I C E L E B R AT E S " I N N OVAT I O N M O N T H " D U R I N G N OV E M B E R Dr. Sumesh Arora S o what is in a Twitter hashtag anyway? A lot, when you take a close look at the eight characters in "#MsInNov" that were specifically chosen to promote the concept of innovation in Mississippi during November. Governor Phil Bryant officially proclaimed November as "Innovation Month" for the state, realizing a need to bring people from all walks of life together under the umbrella of innovation. The ultimate goal for Innovation Month in years to come is to continue showcasing Mississippi's unique offerings and how they can be leveraged to grow the economy from within by inspiring citizens and attracting more industry and business from outside the state. "Mississippi's innovative economy is helping drive economic development for our state," said Governor Bryant. "Most recently, the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity named Mississippi fifth in the nation for business startup activity in 2012. This distinction would not be possible without the innovative people and businesses that make Mississippi great and drive innovative business growth." By nature, innovations can be simple like the Coca-Cola bottles that were first produced in Vicksburg in 1894. Or, they can be as complex as the first human heart transplant performed in Jackson in 1964. There is a long list of "firsts" that took place in the Magnolia State. And, from the recent discovery of a functional cure for HIV in an infant to building some of the world's first advanced biofuels plants on a commercial scale, innovation is woven into our economy and is needed to keep Mississippi globally competitive and relevant. In Mississippi, innovation is strongly evident in many areas of our economy, including agriculture, economic development, disaster preparedness, education and research, energy, entrepreneurship, fine arts, government, health care, information and communications technology, national security, manufacturing, space exploration and tourism. Innovate Mississippi and its key partners, the Mississippi Development Authority and Maris, West & Baker Advertising, have been leading the way in spreading the innovation message across the state. A dedicated website,, showcases more than 40 events that took place during November that were tied to innovation. It also displays the growing list of supporting organizations, which includes nearly 50 businesses, nonprofits, government entities and schools. "Innovation is a way of life on the campuses of Mississippi Public Universities," said Hank M. Bounds, Ph.D., Commissioner of Higher Education. "We are so pleased that Governor Bryant has proclaimed November as 'Mississippi Innovation Month,' and provided us with a wonderful opportunity to showcase innovative efforts at our universities and across the state." The challenge to each of us is to keep on innovating, and asking ourselves each day: "DYI" (or, "Do You Innovate?") … and when we do, tweet it with the hashtag #MsInNov. ● t Official announcement of Innovation Month. Pictured left to right: Haley Fisackerly, president and CEO of Entergy Mississippi Inc.; Mayo Flynt, president of AT&T Mississippi; Governor Phil Bryant; Brent Christensen, executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority; Alveno Castilla, 2014-2015 chair of the Mississippi Economic Council; and Tony Jeff, president and CEO of Innovate Mississippi. 76 Pointe Innovation

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