Innovatus, A Cross-Industry Summit

Ready, set, innovate! The Skyscraper team loves to share our passion for innovation with anyone who is willing to sit down with a drink and listen. Last month, we had the opportunity to do just this, but on a much larger scale. With our friends from Kohrman Jackson & Krantz and Cohen & Company at our side, we sucessfully co-hosted our first annual Innovatus Summit at Market Garden Brewery in Cleveland, OH.


Last fall, the team was approached about planning Innovatus with the hopes that we could share our innovation process with the world, as well as learn about the techniques of other organizations. With this goal in mind, we feverishly began coordinating everything from the panel of innovators to the color of the lanyards. 


After months of hard work, we were excited to pack up and head to Ohio to see everything seamlessly come together. Seamless was the goal, but ended up being short of reality. As we packed our bags to set off on our 6 hour journey through two states, a nor'easter was brewing outside of our windows. Despite a few setbacks, we fought hard against the 17 inches of snow around us and made it safely to Cleveland with plenty of time to spare.

On March 22, we welcomed over 50 fellow innovators to help kick off the summit! The event was broken into five parts.


1. A keynote by Lou Von Thaer, President & CEO of Battelle.

During his presentation, Von Thaer touched on the innovative work that his organization has done over the years. He covered milestones like creating the world's first Xerox copier and developing medical devices that use deep brain simulation to return movement to individuals with paralysis.


2. A presentation by John Cavalier, Director of Management Consulting at Cohen & Company.

During his session about back-office robotics, John discussed how this automated methodology can be used to reverse outsourcing and bring work back to a company's headquarters. He also mentioned the main effects seen from these processes: cost reduction, lower error rates, and freed up time for employees.


3. A thoughtful discussion between Jon Groza, Partner of Kohrman Jackson & Krantz, and serial entrepreneur, Don Greenberg. 

Jon began the conversation by touching on the ways a law firm—and other companies where you might not expect to see innovation—is the perfect environment for these techniques to flourish. The duo touched on how the partnership between Skyscraper and Kohrman Jackson & Krantz has positively benefited each of their respected organizations and how other businesses can benefit from similar partnerships. 


4. An insightful conversation with our panel of innovators

Our panel consisted of Joe Kossow, founder of Kossow Consulting LLC and former Vice President of Innovation at Church and Dwight; Jennifer Sabo, Innovation Systems and Discovery Team Manager at The J.M. Smucker Company; and Lou Von Thaer.

Although the panel focused on discussing how to create a culture of innovation within organizations, they also touched on where to turn to find new innovative trends, how to prioritize innovative ideas, and how to encourage healthy risk-taking in innovative organizations.


5. An interactive activity with our fearless leader, Michael Murphy, Founder and Chief Innovation Officer here at Skyscraper.

Murphy began his presentation by explaining the three pillars of actionable innovation: organizational capabilities, end user jobs to be done, and the passion to innovate. He also shared that creativity is the catalyst that brings these things together.

He illustrated this concept by asking attendees to take out their wallets. "What job does your wallet do for you—and how could it work even better?" he asked.  After sharing thoughts with their neighbors, participants were asked to design a new wallet using cardstock, scissors, and tape. This exercise opened up the minds of attendees to how creativity and collaboration fuels the innovation process. 


And that's a wrap! After a brief happy hour, filled with craft beer, delicious h'orderves, and great conversation, we had to say goodbye to all of our friends and head back to Lancaster. We took away so many new innovative tips and tricks from this event, and we hope the attendees did too. 

A special thanks to all of our speakers, our panel, as well as the friendly staff at Market Garden Brewery for helping the event go off without a hitch! We can't wait to see what next year's summit holds!

Interested in learning more about Innovatus? Visit For the presentation shown at the event, please contact for more information.