A Roundup of Cool 2021 Innovation Conferences

BY REBECCA CULLEN | 4 min read

2020 was a year that brought some truly inspiring innovation conferences, especially since the pandemic forced innovation for all the event organizers who had to pivot their events online. Many of these organizations are still regrouping, but we rounded up the best of the best that have been announced so far for 2021. 


Innovation Conferences 2021 

These conferences will draw large crowds, many also feature complex content. Some of these online events will have a choose-your-own-adventure format offering breakout sessions, keynotes, and networking opportunities to choose from. 

Most of these events are virtual and many of them are free, so be sure to check them out! 

Accelerating a sustainable ocean economy

March 1st–5th 2021

Admission: free

Agenda: Over 130 speakers will tackle the hard questions


What goes on: High-level conversation and policymaking remain at the heart of the event in plenary sessions where participants can engage across sectors to find synergies in ocean finance, governance, innovation, climate change, resilience, and protecting marine biodiversity.


Extending the focus for 2021, the agenda features six industry tracks dedicated to aquaculture, fishing, shipping, marine renewable energy, plastics, and tourism. The sessions will provide detailed analysis and discussion on opportunities and challenges facing these industries as they work to increase revenues and efficiencies while reducing their impact on the ocean.

Speakers include: 

Ted Danson

Actor, advocate, and board member, Oceana

Marc Benioff

Chair and chief executive, Salesforce

(not to mention the Sovereign Prince of Monaco and the Prime Minister of Norway!)

To find out more about the event and sign up visit this link.


 Social Innovation Summit 

The Social Innovation Summit is an annual event that represents a global convening of black swans and wayward thinkers. Where most bring together luminaries to explore the next big idea, these folks bring together those hungry not just to talk about the next big thing, but to build it.

Social Innovation Summit has always prided itself on being a community of people who are motivated to take action. In this time of crisis, their network can rise to the occasion and serve as the virtual convening place where the most important conversations take place for vital partnerships to be quickly developed and quickly engaged.

Past speakers include leaders from TOMS, Discovery Education, YouTube, Sephora, and Nike  

Complimentary registration here

General registration is free

VIP registration includes additional access



The Front End of Innovation USA (FEI 2021)

This conference went virtual in 2020 and managed to preserve a sense of community. They featured a hand-selected list of global innovation leaders. 

The Front End of Innovation USA (FEI 2021) is an innovation conference covering such topics such as:

  • Social innovation - sustainable solutions
  • Open innovation - meaningful ideas
  • Innovation culture - leadership, innovation capability of teams
  • Global innovations
  • Customer-driven innovation - unarticulated needs
  • Design innovation
  • Business model innovation
  • Future trends
  • Entrepreneurial innovation

FEI 2021 will bring together executives representing large to medium size organizations and delegates involved in Product Development, Innovation, Research and Development, Market/Customer Insights, MEngineering and Strategy.

The Front End of Innovation USA (FEI 2021) might be held in MA, United States in 2021 (check website for updated details)

    More info here



World Tech Summit on Big Data, Data Science & Machine Learning

Description of the event:

"Big Data & Machine Learning in unique & innovative ways"

Online Tech Summit on

Big Data, Data Science & Machine Learning. The event features keynote talks, networking, exhibition, and young researcher sessions.

  March 24-25, 2021      Online Conference

 When: March 24-25, 2021


Dubai - United Arab Emirates


Event website

Sign up free here 



Internet of Manufacturing 

Returning for the fifth year, Internet of Manufacturing (IoM) leads with its content-first approach. Delivering an end-user-led agenda and a majority manufacturing audience (60-70%), IoM provides interactive, educational learning and networking sessions, ensuring engagement in the virtual world. Spread over three days, to provide digestible content and online networking, IoM brings case studies from US manufacturers large and small. Bringing stories β€˜straight from the manufacturer’s mouth’ on automation, predictive analytics, and topics including the latest in Digital Twins and VR innovation, the event agenda showcases the approaches leaders need to take to people, products, and processes.

Past speakers include: Shelley Peterson

Emerging Technology Lead | Lockheed Martin, Alberto Cozer

Senior Global Platforms Manager | Nestle, Jennifer Cohen

Vice President of Operations | Toyota Research Institute, and Darryl McCartney, Director of IoT Solution Sales | Microsoft

When: 5.24.21

To purchase a ticket for the event, click here.



TechConnect World Innovation Conference and Expo 

TechConnect World is an excellent opportunity to meet key innovation players and stakeholders all in one place.

For over 20 years the TechConnect World Innovation Conference and Expo has connected top applied research and early-stage innovations from universities, labs, and startups with industry end-users and prospectors. The 2021 TechConnect World Innovation event includes the annual SBIR/STTR Spring Innovation Conference, Spring AI TechConnect, and the TechConnect Technical Program - more than 35 world-class technical symposium, and the Nanotech Conference Series – the world's largest and longest-running nanotechnology event.

Through these joint programs, TechConnect has published over 10,000 technical papers, connected over 20,000 innovations with industry partners, provided prospecting to most all Fortune 500 technology companies, and supported most every U.S. Science and Technology agency including the National Nanotechnology Initiative since its inception.

Join the world's brightest researchers, innovators, and technology prospectors as they convene in Austin, TX,

When:  June 14-16, 2021. The event is not free. To learn more about TechConnect check the link here.



WeAreDevelopers World Congress 2021

WeAreDevelopers World Congress brings together 8,000 techies from 70 countries for 72-hours of pure dev-fun, with more than 150 of the brightest minds in tech and the largest playground for developers in Europe.

When: June 28, 2021

Berlin, Germany

Get tickets here


And finally, we leave you with a conference that takes place in a waterpark in Wisconsin Dells, WI, on July 26, 2021!

THAT Conference

THAT loves geeks!!

THAT is a polyglot community for all things technology where members help, teach, and support each other year-round. What started as an annual technology conference has grown into a community of practitioners teaching, sharing, and supporting each other daily. Through their multiple in-person and virtual events each year, they continually push to bring a positive impact across the industry and welcome everyone regardless of experience, tech stack, or background.

This tech conference is for developers, rooted in community, exploring the internet of things, and all technologies used for mobile, web & cloud. It all happens at a giant waterpark because they are strong believers in good times.

Sign up here for this event, also known as summer camp for geeks.

We have no idea how the event coordinators are going to pull this one off, but may the force be with them!!



more like this
The Power of Design Thinking
Design Thinking is at an exciting pivotal point in its evolution right now. Read about The NFL Helmet Challenge and other examples of how great minds come together on the HeroX platform to create meaningful solutions.
3 min read
How HeroX is Leveraging the Crowd to Make History
Technology has opened up exciting new avenues for innovation. Find out how organizations like the Department of Energy and NASA are leveraging creative minds on the heroX platform to crowdsource viable solutions for generations to come.
3 min read
5 Reasons Why Crowdsourcing is the Secret Weapon Your Organization Needs to Thrive
Steve Jobs recognized the inertia that can befall companies that try to do new things the old way. Crowdsourcing brings a breath of fresh air to that dynamic. When you open up a challenge to a team that is assembling around a love of innovation, you get new and different ideas.
2 min read