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OTA Connects Creativity And Communities

April 4, 2014, 6:09 PM by Brady Mallory

OTA Connects Creativity And Communities

When he stepped off the plane from Berkeley, California, radio host Roman Mars said he noticed a little detail: Sioux Falls does not have an official City flag.

"And then someone came up to me, said, 'I've actually designed a flag,' and I was like, 'You let me know.'  Because anything I can do to push that forward," Mars said.

Bridging the gap between idea and reality was the focus at the Washington Pavilion on Friday.  Mars, host and creator of a radio show called 99% Invisible, was just one of the speakers at OTA.  OTA, put on by networking group OTA-Pollen, is a conference that connects creative and community-focused individuals.  One of those individuals included Justin Henriksen.

"You feel like you're part of something bigger and greater," Justin Henriksen said.

Henriksen works at DocuTAP - a growing Sioux Falls company that makes an application for iPads for electronic medical records and billing.  Henriksen said it was nice to step out from behind a desk and into rooms with different people and fresh perspectives.

"Just as small as a one-on-one conversation with somebody.  Learning.  Getting to know somebody for the first time.  Learning a little bit about them and their trade.  There's nothing cooler.  It's just that connection," Henriksen said.

"OTA is about the talent, ideas and community of the region, and this event brings all of those things together in one place with several of the world's biggest thinkers," OTA-Pollen CEO Hugh Weber said.  "Our hope is that the connections and collisions that occur among the innovative and creative people of the region serve as a catalyst for transformation that improves the lives of all people living in South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota."

This year's event boasted a record number of speakers and attendees. Organizers believe learning from each other can give you the resources you need to help change your city, and the world, beyond your zip code.  After all, every big accomplishment started as a little idea.

"No one has a lock on innovation.  It really can happen anywhere.  The thing is, when you try to solve problems, you solve the problems that encounter you in your everyday life.  They may be little, but for some reason, it made the world a little better of a place," Mars said.

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