The Innovation Institute delivers creativity training programs to individuals, teams, and organizations that build the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to seize opportunities and generate creative solutions.


Director of Innovation Institute and New Initiatives


Since 2007, Susan Jedrzejewski has supported and advanced McColl Center's mission of connecting art and artists with the community through various roles in community engagement, public programs, and communications. In her current position as Director of Innovation Institute and New Initiatives, she oversees the development and delivery of Innovation Institute programs which seek to increase creative capacity in individuals, groups, and companies. 

As an arts advocate, she is committed to fostering creative collaboration between the arts and business sectors to stimulate innovation and advance societal movement. Susan currently serves on the board of advisors for the Entrepreneurial Leadership Circle at the McColl School of Business and has been an active volunteer with Pecha Kucha Charlotte. She holds an MBA from Queens University with a focus on leadership and an undergraduate degree in Studio Art from UNC Charlotte. Prior to joining the Center, she supported outreach and educational programs at Waterworks Visual Arts Center in Salisbury, NC.

Artists + Facilitators



David Phillips brings a wealth of experience to the Innovation Institute as an educator, consultant and entrepreneur. You can also add "agitator" to the list, as that's been a connective thread throughout his career. Whether it's helping companies to develop their internal innovation capabilities or guiding teams as they design non-obvious solutions to their biggest challenges, David pushes people to question their assumptions, to see the world and themselves differently, and to disrupt the status quo. He also firmly believes that one of the most underutilized resources of far too many individuals, organizations and communities is the innate creativity that resides in each of us.



Watson's drawings and collages are visual assemblages of remnants of our collective cultural past. Starting with historic statues and portrait busts sketched in museums or at historical monuments, the works serve as storybook illustrations providing a pictorial space for various cultural artifacts to inhabit. During his residency at McColl Center, he focused on large-scale drawings and collages with found objects that responded to the gothic architecture of his studio. His outreach project with Charlotte's Time Out Youth organization focused on personal storytelling. Watson is Assistant Professor of Drawing at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. He has exhibited in galleries, universities and non-profit spaces including the exhibit, Jason Watson: A Second Look, at the Jersey City Museum in 2007-2008. Currently he is working on a self-published artist book, "Fremde," based on found photographs collected during an artist residency in Schwandorf, Germany.



Vicki has run a small international consulting business since 1990 working for large and small companies and organizations around the world. Understanding and using the power of communication underpins much of her work whether in strategic planning, priority management, negotiating, presentation skills, business development or innovation. Being continually inspired by the creativity and resilience of those she works with her work helps people and organizations get the best from themselves and each other when it matters most. Her work as facilitator with the Innovation Institute of McColl Center for Art and Innovation builds on her appreciation of people, the potency of passion and the creative capacity in us all. Vicki earned her undergraduate degree cum laude in anthropology from the University of Wisconsin and her law degree (juris doctor) from the University of Colorado and is a member of the California Bar Association and the American Bar Association. After eight years living in Australia, Germany and England – where she maintains an office in London - she and her husband moved to the shores of Lake Norman outside of Troutman in 1997 where they live with two cats and a few chickens. Inspired by the beauty of our natural resources and the need to better balance how they are used, she took the helm of a non-profit coalition that was instrumental in crafting the settlement accompanying the federal license for Duke Energy’s 13 hydropower facilities along the Catawba River. The coalition earned a national award for "inspired collaboration". Vicki has served in many volunteer capacities. Her passions include a love of the outdoors, music, dance and an intense commitment to inclusion and equity for all people.



Born in Liverpool, England, Kevin immigrated with his family to the United States at the age of 11. He attended Cleveland's Cooper School of Art on scholarship and completed graduate school at Kent State University. During his time at the Cooper School, Kevin was the only student to be awarded a one-person show in the school's gallery. Additionally, he has completed a studio residency at the Clewes Foundation in LaNapoule, France. His work is represented in many private and corporate collections. He uses various media to explore the relationships between man, machine and environment and the search for beauty within the complexity of the human condition.



Brian Knep is a media artist whose works range from large-scale interactive installations to microscopic sculptures for nematodes. He was the first artist-in-residence at Harvard Medical School, working side-by-side with scientists, co-opting their tools and techniques to explore alternative meanings and ways of connecting to the world. Knep’s Deep Wounds, commissioned by the Office for the Arts at Harvard University, has won awards from Ars Electronica, the International Association of Art Critics, and Americans for the Arts, who selected it as one of the best public-art projects of 2007. His work has also been shown at the Denver Art Museum, the Milwaukee Art Museum, the RISD Museum, the Aldrich Center for Contemporary Art, and others; and he has grants and awards from Creative Capital, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the LEF Foundation, among others.



Ellen Kochansky is a textile artist that works with individuals and groups on collective projects that honor history and suggest future directions. Commitment, a book-based piece for Charlotte's Mercy Hospital, chronicles the hospital's transformation to more patient-centerd care. Scrapbook is an installation for the new headquarters of SCANA, using contributed tools, equipment, and uniforms from the energy company's employees. Mill Memory, a sculpture for the Hub City Writers Project in Spartanburg, SC, used the blueprints, shuttles and floorboards from demolished textile mills. She has been a Trustee of the American Crafts Council, a board member of American Craft Enterprises, and is founding director of the Rensing Center, a non-profit international residency program. Her work resides in the permanent collections of The White House, The Mint Museum, the Museum of Arts and Design in NY, and Emory University in Atlanta. As a teacher, facilitator and juror, she has traveled widely and exhibited internationally, most recently in Orvieto, Italy.



Bayeté Ross Smith is an artist, photographer and arts educator. He began his career as a photojournalist, working with the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Charlotte Observer and Newsday, in New York City. He received his undergraduate degree from Florida A&M University and his MFA from the California College of the Arts. Bayeté is represented by the Patricia Sweetow Gallery in San Francisco, California. His work has been exhibited through out the U.S. and Internationally. "Along The Way" a video mosiac created with the Cause Collective was an official selection for the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. "Along The Way was originally a public art commission for the Oakland International Airport. Bayeté 's work has been featured at the Goethe Institute in Accra, Ghana, the Zacheta National Gallery of Art, in Warsaw, Poland, the Leica Gallery and Rush Arts Gallery in New York, and with the San Francisco Arts Commission, at City Hall in San Francisco.



In questioning the traditional art experience, Anthony Schrag creates interactive installations and performances that instigate new understanding by subverting and manipulating the expected physical experience of a designed space.

Anthony Schrag was born in Zimbabwe and grew up in the Middle East, the UK and Canada. Originally, he obtained a degree in Creative Writing in Vancouver, as well as Photography and Sculpture at Emily Carr, and completed the MFA course at the Glasgow School of Art in 2005. He is (mostly) based in Scotland, and does not like to write in the third person.

He has exhibited/performed/been on residencies in Canada, USA, Mexico, China, Hungary, Norway, Denmark, Holland, Germany, and Iceland as well as across the UK.



Randy Shull embraces a variety of media, including furniture design, painting, landscape design. He is also a collector of contemporary art and the owner of Horizon Properties, a Historic property company, and the brainchild that developed Pink Dog Creative in Asheville, NC, a renovated textile warehouse that now houses 15 artists studios, two restaurants and the Asheville Area Arts Council. In addition to the Asheville studio, Randy maintains a home and studio in Merida, Mexico.



Tom Thoune moved to Charlotte from California in 1981. He studied painting and ceramics at Central Piedmont Community College and was a McColl Center for Art + Innovation Artist-in-Residence in 2001. He is a recipient of a North Carolina Arts Council Visual Artist Fellowship and a Charlotte Mecklenburg Arts and Science Project Grant in 2002. Themes Tom incorporates into his artwork range from the mundane acts of everyday life, portraiture and travel to mythology, dreams and spirituality.



Shaun Cassidy uses sculpture, public art, painting and drawing to capture moments in time and fragments of experience. Radiating both joy and sadness simultaneously, his work invites viewers to enter a state of nostalgia while reflecting upon the impossibility of making the present moment last. From Carshalton, England, Cassidy studied sculpture at Norwich School of Art, Norfolk, UK, receiving a BA (HONS) in 1988. Cassidy worked as a studio assistant for British sculptor Sir Anthony Caro and in 1991 finished his graduate studies in sculpture at the University of Alberta, Canada. Cassidy's sculpture has been exhibited extensively throughout the U.S., including Socrates Sculpture Park, NY; Franconia Sculpture Park, MN; Forum for Contemporary Art in Saint Louis; and at the DeCordova Museum, MA. In 1995 Cassidy exhibited five large-scale sculptures at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Marseilles, France. He has been awarded residencies at over 10 venues including here at McColl Center for Art + Innovation; The McDowell Colony, NH; Djerassi Resident Artists Program, CA; and Sculpture Space, NY. His work has been reviewed and featured in Art in America, New Art Examiner, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Currently Cassidy is an Associate Professor of Sculpture at Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC and works on public art commissions for the Arts and Science Council of Charlotte and CATS (Charlotte Area Transit System).

Business Innovation Advisory Board

Jason Fararooei

Chair, Principal

Yellow Cape Communications

Elizabeth Tanos

Priest, Financial Advisor

Merrill Lynch

Julia Vulcan

Manager, Executive Programs

UTC Aerospace Systems

John Heun

Talent Management Leader


Cama McNamara

Civic Leader

Jason Ward

Global Account Executive


Elizabeth McKee

Executive Director

Leadership Charlotte

National Advisory Board


Time Warner Cable

Chief Learning Officer


General Motors

Head of Global Talent & Organizational Capability


Cheung Kong Graduate School of Management

Chief Representative-Americas


Chief Empowerment Officer

Continuous Motion Consulting


Luma Institute



Provancher + Associates



Innovation Executive

Ingersoll Rand Industrial Solutions




Vice President & Managing Director, Talent Solutions and Venture Development

John Wiley and Sons


Senior Account Manager

Center for Creative Leadership

About the Innovation Institute

Since launching in 2005, the Innovation Institute has delivered an increase creative capacity to more than 50 global companies. As an artist-led, expertly-facilitated workshop focused on activating and enhancing creativity, the Innovation Institute is establishing itself as a go-to resource for helping participants reconnect with their innate creativity and understand how it feeds innovation, for both teams and individuals.

The Innovation Institute was founded in 2005 by McColl Center for Art + Innovation President + CEO, Suzanne Fetscher. Her vision was to forge a connection around the topic of creativity between the corporate community of Charlotte and McColl Center for Art + Innovation, a leading artist in residency program. She recognized that artists, who live and breathe the creative process as part of daily life, could provide a uniquely meaningful contribution to corporations and other organizations seeking to instill creativity and innovative ideas among their leaders. The Innovation Institute was the result, where the innovative minds of corporate and community leaders and successful career artists can come together to transform how business people apply the creative process to corporate problem solving.

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“The Innovation Institute increased our comfort with disruptive change and allowed us to view issues from multiple perspectives. We experienced the artist’s need to pivot and change during the creative process. ‘Pivot’ is now a daily part of our common team language, signaling us to view situations from multiple perspectives.”

Debra Plousha Moore,
Carolinas HealthCare System