Mike Trotzke is a co-founder of The Combine, and vice president of the Humanetrix Foundation, Inc. This is the first blog in a series about The Combine.

The Combine is an annual Midwest event with the core purpose of fostering the growth of creatives and tech innovators with good ideas. We poke fun at ourselves for being in the middle of Indiana with the tractor imagery and theme, but behind the jokes is a true goal of bringing together and mixing up different people, just like the harvesting mechanism that represents our event.

Cultivating a culture of innovation is the purpose of The Combine, and this happens by taking educated risks to help foster creativity and growth. When we start to celebrate this innovation culture as a community, the impact it can have is outstanding.

That’s why out of our 5 focus areas (community, culture, capital, creative, code), culture is the glue that binds the 5 C’s together. Creating a culture that understands how to take failure, handle it, and turn it into success is vital to a vibrant startup community. It’s about embracing trying, as opposed to simply doing things because it works now or has worked in the past, and encouraging individuals to be innovative instead of complacent.We see our tech scene maturing and growing, beginning to have a daily density where innovators bump into each other every day within the community. We can continue fostering this innovation culture by engaging further with the Bloomington community at a broader level, and by appreciating what venture capital and startups can do for growing Bloomington and the Midwest as a whole.

What you can expect at the event this year, is a great lineup of speakers not only dedicated to the collision of our key audiences of entrepreneurs, marketers, techies, but also a continued concentration for intrapreneurs, so big companies can learn from this event and inject these takeaways into their culture. Don’t be afraid to say hi or grab lunch with someone you don’t know, because that’s the place where innovation ignites.