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Medici Effect keynote speaker to open Coastal conference

February 2, 2006

Frans Johansson, entrepreneur and author of The Medici Effect: Breakthrough Insights at the Intersection of Ideas, Concepts & Cultures, will be the keynote speaker for Coastal Carolina Universitys Celebration of Inquiry on Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 7:30 p.m. in Wheelwright Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

Johannson will discuss how to initiate innovative ideas by combining different fields and cultures. He has spoken extensively to companies such as Ernst and Young, General Motors, JP Morgan, Kodak and the World Bank on issues of innovation and managing diversity. He has had speaking engagements in London, Prague, and Copenhagen and most recently in Greenville to InnoVenture, a venture capital conference that promotes southeastern innovations with global impact.

The keynote address will be a ticketed event, but tickets are free and are general seating; they may be picked up in advance at Wheelwright Box Office. Johansson will also lead a question-and-answer session on Thursday, Feb. 16 at 10 a.m. in Wall Auditorium.

According to Johansson, modern innovators are changing the world by stepping into the Intersection, a place where ideas from different fields and cultures meet and collide, ultimately igniting an explosion of extraordinary new discoveries. Johansson calls this proliferation of new ideas the Medici effect referring to the remarkable burst of creativity enabled by the Medici banking family in Renaissance Italy.

The fifth Celebration of Inquiry conference is two days of lectures, presentations and performances, from the Wednesday night keynote address to Thursday and Fridays full days of events and programs. The university-wide academic conference is designed to unite all the various disciplines on campus in discussions on a common theme. All events are free and open to the public.

The conference theme for the 2006 event is Living the Questions: Creating, Connecting, Changing. The theme was inspired by a quote from German poet Rainer Maria Rilkes Letters to a Young Poet: Live the questions now . . . someday far into the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.

Coastal students, faculty, staff and community leaders will lead numerous other sessions on a wide range of topics. On both days of the event all Coastal classes will be re-directed to conference sessions. Many Coastal students will be involved as presenters in the sessions, which will include workshops, performances, panel discussions, lectures and other interactive formats to promote inquiry.

The conference will conclude with Jazz After Hours with Dan OReilly, featuring CCUs big band led by music professor OReilly, on Friday, Feb. 17 at 2:30 p.m. in Wall Auditorium.

For more information about the conference and a list of sessions, visit