Felician University Presents Inaugural Innovation kNowledge eXchange (INX22)

Imagining a sustainable future with groundbreaking solutions

A new international forum known as “INX22”, which culminated in a $10,000 prize awarded in a student competition, recently took place here in the Meadowlands.

An impressive lineup of international and regional leaders in the fields of innovation and sustainability came together on June 6 and 7 at two very diverse venues – American Dream in East Rutherford and Felician University in Rutherford – for the inaugural Innovation kNowledge eXchange of 2022 (INX22).

The two-day forum, which focused on developing groundbreaking and sustainable solutions to some of the world’s top challenges, was organized by the Felician University Lenke Family Center for Innovation, Center for Academic Technology and Buildings & Grounds Department, along with the Royal Academy of Science International Trust, of which his Royal Highness Prince Adnan el Hashemite, a professor at Felician University, is a member.

“INX22 was an impactful, ambitious event packed with amazing inspiration and big ideas,” said Joseph Lizza, Executive Director of the Lenke Family Center for Innovation and one of the initiators of the forum. “We are extremely proud of the caliber of programming at this first-ever event, which brought forward-thinking industry leaders together from our own backyard and across the globe.”

Day 1: Inspiring Global Sustainable Solutions

On Day 1 of the forum, the theme was “Inspiring Global Sustainable Solutions.” A diverse roster of speakers, all trailblazers in their own fields, set the tone for the two-day event by sharing their journeys, conveying essential lessons and offering insights.

These trailblazers included:

  • Khawar Nasim, Acting Consul General of Canada to the U.S. in New York
  • Clare Guinness, Innovation District Director for Innovation City Belfast (Belfast, Northern Ireland)
  • Kai Feder, Chief of Staff at the New Jersey State Office of Innovation
  • David Perlin, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer for the Hackensack Meridian Health Center for Discovery and Innovation
  • Kemi Olugemo, MD, Director of Communications for Women of Color in Pharma
  • World-renowned spinal surgeon Lawrence Lenke, MD, and his wife, Beth Lenke

Dr. Lawrence and Beth Lenke were the top Diamond Sponsors of the inaugural INX22 event.

The panel discussions on Day 1 focused on food sustainability at restaurants and within the global food supply as a whole, as well as Felician University student innovation activities which were actually implemented at INX22.

Food sustainability panelists included Chef Antonio and Brenda De Ieso, owners of Italian farm-to-table restaurant Fiorentini. Their restaurant holds the distinction of being the first business in Rutherford to be identified on the State of New Jersey’s Sustainable Business Registry.

The panel also featured Stacey Antine, MS, RDN, founder of Ridgewood-based HealthBarn USA and Ron Mirante, founder of Bone-In Food, LLC, headquartered in Hillsborough.

Involving future entrepreneurs and thinkers is critical to the success of any sustainability programs, here and around the world. In support of this reality, Felician University students conducted an illuminating panel on how they employed innovative technologies and ideas to support activities at this year’s forum.

The panel featured students led by Joe Celentano, David Crawford and Gabriela Rivera Pira, along with Kendrick Moran, Richard Mejia, Daniella Ospina and Ashley Rodriguez.

Day 2: Student Case Study Competition

Day 2 of the INX22 forum was centered around the Student Case Study Competition, hosted by Felician University in Rutherford.

Through a rigorous process leading up to the forum, five student teams were selected from an international pool of applicants to present their ideas and proposed solutions for the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #3:  “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.”

During this segment of the forum, two teams each from Felician University and Italy’s John Cabot University and one team from Italy’s University of Pisa, delivered their presentations, which was broadcast internationally on a live video feed.

The four-person team from University of Pisa emerged victorious, capturing the event’s $10,000 team prize.

The winning team’s idea focused on creating a multiple-step plan for the harmonization of health data around the globe, featuring a two-sided approach through institutional and technological innovation.

Students described the challenges to worldwide uniform data collection and evaluation – including weak and fragmented institutional capacities, different and often insufficient domestic financing and a widespread lack of availability of disaggregated health data. The team’s solution focused on tackling missing data.

Receiving the Honorable Mention designation in the student case competition was a Felician University student team, including Thailina Marrero and Farah Alnami, coached by faculty advisor Janel Owens.

The team addressed how to take on the challenge to achieve a systemic global network for Electronic Health Records that provides accessibility, privacy and accuracy – and can be shared across multiple healthcare provider platforms.

The entities that presented this year’s forum were greatly bolstered by the achievements of the event and are already looking forward to 2023.

In the words of Joseph Lizza, “We’d like to thank our sponsors, speakers, volunteers and, of course, our attendees, for their incredible support. We look forward to seeing everyone next year at INX2023.”

The INX Team responsible for conceiving of and implementing INX22 was a led by an extensive executive committee whose members included:

  • Joseph Lizza*, MBA, CPA, CGMA, Executive Director, Lenke Center for Innovation
  • Louis Ruvolo*, DBA (ABD), Program Director, Lenke Center for Innovation
  • HRH Adnan El-Hashemite*, Executive Director & Associate Professor, Office of Global Academic Initiatives, Royal Academy of Science in Trust, and Representative of Felician University to the United Nations Department of Global Communications
  • Meggan O’Neill*, BA, Director of Buildings and Grounds
  • Deanna Valente*, DBA, Dean, Center for Academic Technology
  • Maura DeNicola, Vice President of Communications & External Relations
  • Ronald Gray, Vice President of Student Affairs/Dean of Students

*INX Founding Member

More about Felician University Lenke Family Center for Innovation

The INX22 forum also emphasized the critical nature of the participation and support of Dr. Lawrence and Beth Lenke, who are widely known for shining a spotlight on the importance of innovation in healthcare and throughout the intellectual spectrum. As benefactors of Felician University’s Lenke Family Center for Innovation, the Lenkes are year-round champions of collaboration among experts, entrepreneurs and students. The Lenke Family Center for Innovation offers a think-tank environment that evaluates, synthesizes and influences innovative market advancement.

All in all, the inaugural “Innovation kNowledge eXchange” (INX22) forum was a true success.

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