2021 Ideation Agenda


2:00 PM – 5:00 PM – Monday Registration Hours

7:00 PM – 9:00 PM – Advisory Board Dinner – Invitation Only 




8:00 AM  –  6:00 PM – Tuesday Registration Hours

8:00 AM  –  10:00 AM – Advisory Board Meeting (w/ Breakfast) – By invitation only

10:15 AM  – 5:00 PM – Retail Challenge – Presented by Shop! Creative Council & Facilitated by Bevan Bloemendaal, former VP, Global Retail Experience & Creative Services at Timberland

5:00 PM  –  6:30 PM – Break

6:30 PM  –  7:30 PM – Welcome Reception




7:00 AM – 7:30 AM Shop! Women’s League Networking Walk

8:00 AM  –  5:30 PM Wednesday Registration Hours

8:30 AM  –  10:00 AM – Wednesday Breakfast & Members Meeting

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM – Opening Keynote: Jack Be Nimble: Creating Guest Experiences for Change– David Kepron, AIA, LEED, RDI, Founder and Owner of NXTLVL Experience Design

Tradition and experience may be your worst enemy. This session will look at the trajectory of exponential technological change and living in the in-between of the last and the next “big thing.” It will explore the power of immersive, digitally mediated experiences and the making of relevant customer engagements in a quickly changing marketplace

11:00 AM  – 11:15 AM – Coffee Break

11:15 AM – 12:00 PM  – Creating a Company Culture that Educates, Empowers and Elevates Women  – Allison O’Connor, President & CEO at Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams – Sponsored by The Women’s League

How does the first female CEO of an iconic 32-year-old brand cofounded by two men lead the company into the future? For Allison O’Connor, who joined Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams home furnishings in 2019, it includes a reinvigorated commitment to inclusivity and inviting more women to join her in a strategy of becoming an omnichannel lifestyle brand. As a veteran executive leader with a passion for supporting women in business, she will share insights into how a foundation of shared standards free of gender bias, increased visibility of women in leadership positions, and policies that positively impact women’s lives are invaluable for personal and business success.

12:00 PM  –  1:30 PM – Networking Lunch + Roundtable Discussions

1:30   PM  –  2:15 PM –Innovating for Changing Consumer Habits In-Store– Rich Funk, Global Innovation Go-To Market Leader at Mars

In addition to competing against, partnering with and / or investing in their own on-line retail platforms, traditional retailers have to pivot to a post-COVID shopper mindset. What is Mars Wrigley learning about the latest consumer shopping habits, how are they innovating to change retail presence to adapt to shifting shoppers’ habits and mindsets, and what does this mean for Shop! Partners, suppliers into respective retailers?

2:15   PM  – 3:00 PM – FAST FORWARD: Emerging Trends in Retail Design – Jennifer Acevedo, Editor-in-Chief, VMSD magazine

Retailers today, faced with the options of innovation or obsolescence, have accelerated the pace of change within their organizations to reflect a world that was effectively up-ended. The pandemic, dubbed the Great Accelerator, has disrupted retail as we know it – both online and IRL. Jennifer will share a macro-level overview – packed with examples – of how smart retailers are reinventing their stores to seize upon consumer demand for compelling, engaging experiences that transcend the old transactional model.

3:00 PM – 3:15 PM – Coffee Break

3:15  PM  –  4:15 PM – Keynote: Embracing “Whole-Brained” Thinking in the Design Journey – Bevan Bloemendaal, former VP, Global Retail Experience & Creative Services at Timberland

Strategy needs creative, and creative needs strategy—yep, having both is really the only way of unifying all disciplines with a common vernacular with an eye toward building a strong creative vision that is foundational to the processes. Hear from Bevan Bloemendaal, former VP, Global Environments & Creative Services at Timberland, how to connect the dots between disciplines, claiming and creating a clear differentiation for the brand and ensuring that any asset (experience, product, ad, store, office, home, video, game) is created with intention.

4:15  PM  –   5:30 PM –  Break

5:30  PM  –   7:30 PM – Retail Challenge Winner Reception & Dinner




7:00 AM – 7:30 AM Shop! Women’s League Networking Walk

8:00 AM – 11:00 AM Thursday Registration Hours

8:00 AM –   9:00 AM – Thursday Networking Breakfast

9:00 AM  – 10:00 AM – Keynote: Changing Times Call for Changing Minds – Peter Demarest, Co-Founder & President of Axiogenics LLC

Things are never going back to how they were before the pandemic. The question is, how can you rise above old habits to transform yourself and your team? In this session, Peter Demarest will share science-based insights and actionable principles that could forever alter how you think about yourself, your work, and your life. He’ll provide specific practices for unleashing more of the “A-Game” that you and your team already have so you can better meet the challenges and opportunities of today and tomorrow.

10:00 AM – 10:45 AM – Panel Discussion: Shopper & Operational Benefits of Intelligent Merchandising Display Technologies – Moderator: Stuart Armstrong, Founder & Managing Director at AAG Consulting and Contributor Tech Writer for VMSD magazine | Panelists: Laura Davis-Taylor, Founder at Branded Ground and Author, Carolyn Nolan, Chief Strategy Officer at OnQ and Andy Austin, President at The Industrious

Guided by a set of industry experts, this session will explore the current and future state of technology-enabled merchandising display systems. Included will be discussions and a high-level real-world example of the various enabling technologies and how they are serving the shopper, the sales associate and the operational needs of retailing.

10:45 AM  –  11:00 AM – Coffee Break

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM – Closing Keynote: Planning and Navigating with Assurance Connor Lokar, Senior Forecaster, ITR Economics

2021 is winding down and it is time to prepare for the challenges and ongoing uncertainties in 2022. There are opportunities and risks ahead and we will explore them in terms of government initiatives, consumer trends, market opportunities, labor issues and production costs. We will also discuss business responses, tactics and strategies given the projected changes in the economy. Additionally, we will assess business demand for 2022 and 2023, review ITR’s key leading indicators on upcoming cyclical turns in the economy and markets, explore financial market trends, inflation rates and the unintended consequences of massive government programs. Plus, so much more!

Thank You to Our Sponsors





Vaccination requirements
Due to the spread of the Delta variant, we have decided to require either full proof of vaccination (original CDC card or photo of original) or a current (within 72 hours), negative PCR or LFT Covid test for all Ideation 2021 attendees. Please note, results from any at-home Antigen-type test such as the BinaxNOW test will not be accepted. We hope this reassures our guests that we are taking the utmost precautions to ensure their safety at this event. Should you have any questions regarding the policy, please feel free to contact us.

Face coverings
Mask-wearing and vaccination are the two most important tools we can use to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and bring us closer to ending the pandemic. In Tennessee, masks are only required in certain places for people who are not fully vaccinated. However, fully vaccinated residents of Tennessee may choose to protect themselves by wearing masks in public indoor places. We are monitoring this closely and will continue to adjust our face covering requirements to align with state, local, and venue requirements at the time of the event.

More info at Tennessee Department of Public Health & Safety.