I’ve been working on an innovation project for a couple years now. It’s not an innovative project (although it is), it’s specifically about doing innovation. What is it, and how do you do it? How do you know when you’ve done it?
You can go with Conan O’Brien’s definition, but we decided we’d measure the impact of innovation that came out of our project. Then we quickly ran into a problem. All the people who’d seen that the organization needed innovation and signed on? They tended to be Idea People. They quickly generated a wall full of “We Should” post-its, but when forced to actually DO something…they wrote up more post-it’s.
Which is totally cool. A lot of them would have rolled up their sleeves and build the “We Should…” thing, but they didn’t know how to.
So Phase 2 was us going and collaring implementers and saying “make this idea real.” That was hard going for a bit – we ultimately found implementers who were jazzed by the idea of making new stuff (the world calls these people Makers or Inventors), but they didn’t respond initially to the Shiny Innovation Bait.
Several of these tinkerers have told me “I love doing new stuff, but I have a hard time thinking of what to do.” That’s totally cool too.
Nova Labs, here in Northern Virginia, has got this covered. Along with three other co-founders, Nova Labs member Erik Moon launched MakerPair.com, a new service seeking to “intelligently pair ideas with design skills, design skills with manufacturing, and manufacturing with a marketplace.” Go and read more about it on their blog, then sign up!