Over the past few weeks, I have had the opportunity to see several different events that have displayed a lot of passion and enthusiasm in bringing innovative and unique ideas to reality.

The first was actually the University of Iowa, College of Engineering BME conference held by the Department of Biomedical Engineering. This was the first event of its kind held by the BME department in which they invited local and regional professionals from businesses with connections to Biomedical Engineering to come for a "show-and-tell" conference presented by the BME students, faculty, and staff. This was a great event to network with some students, see the amazing resources here at the UI, and explore opportunities for additional collaboration between our business and the University. It was a well organized conference that I do hope grows into a big event in the coming years. Thank you to all that organized and participated in that event.

The second was the UI John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center's Startup Games. It was an event in which I volunteered a Saturday morning to coach the teams and work with them as they prepared to do "Customer Discovery". It was great to see just how many students were interested in spending a weekend learning what it might be like to own and run a small business, and turn their dreams into reality.

The final was this last Sunday at Startup Weekend Cedar Rapids. For those that haven't ever been -- Startup Weekend is an infectiously passionate event which leaves you motivated and energized to work hard at your own crazy ideas. Well, maybe those that just watch the demos are a little more energized than the teams, as they spend 54 hours of a weekend building an idea from scratch to an initial MVP state (minimum viable product). Although exhausted, they all traveled to a local eatery after the event to eat, relax, and share tales from the weekend. I joined them and thoroughly enjoyed seeing the camaraderie and friendship that had developed between most of the team members and organizers. (It even motivated me to make my first blog post in a couple of months)

For anyone that doesn't frequent these types of events, I can only say: you are missing out! Think about giving it a try some time, volunteer your time or participate in an event -- either way I think you will greatly appreciate the intangible benefits that you can get from this type of energy!

Check out Meetup to help you look for these and other events like them in your own area.

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