How to Build an Innovation Group in your community?
* To our dearest followers, this past post (April 2 2014) has been enhanced with new ideas and updates. We hope you enjoy it!
Are you looking for a way to energize entrepreneurs in your community? In Ghost Writer Hub, we found the best way to do it was innovation groups or a startup community. Lots of companies are still reeling from the economic collapse and are finding it hard to pick up the pieces. We think that creating an innovation group is the best long-term solution to face entrepreneurial challenges, after the recession struck.
So what is a startup community?
You can call a startup community a geographically-based innovation group. Instead of clusterers in the same field of expertise coming together, you create a place where various sectors, innovations, knowledge and creativity meet, celebrate and grow. New ideas, ventures, enterprises, laboratories, small and big businesses and endeavours are found all over such a place, and it attracts a lot of other people who want to participate in the creative events.
For further information related to this topic, check these articles:
- How to develop a creative organizational structure
- What We Can Learn from Startup Weekend
- Is Your Problem About People or Money? Effective Problem Solving Strategies for Better Collaboration
How do I know if I’m ready to create an innovation group?
Building innovation groups isn’t a matter of going through a series of steps. Instead, we prefer to see as creating a culture within your community that fosters co-creation, networking, innovation and creativity. This means that you can’t do this on your own. Before you get into reshaping your community, ask yourself these questions:
- Are you working in an industry that keeps growing?
- Are you settling down in your town or city?
- Is working for very little to no financial, social and emotional reward something you can accept?
- Do you enjoy sharing your success and accepting any and all help offered?
If you answer ‘YES’ to all the questions above, you’re ready to build your innovation group. I’d like to think that the process is unique to each place but here are some guidelines to help you anyway.
Here’s how to build innovation groups
1. Look for a collaboration room or a co-working space. Assess your city if it has the right working environment to begin building innovation groups. Your whole community must be ready to support the influx and formation of new enterprises. The place has to be welcoming to both new business people and customers. What’s more, you must have people supporting you and your high-risk commitments. Look for business angels or public subsidies. Back here in Brussels and Wallonia we have amazing private and public organisation supporting entrepreneurship:
2. Share leadership and create your dream team. You cannot be alone at the helm. Share the helm with leaders of other innovation groups. Make sure that all of the people who are at the top with you are like-minded, just as passionate as you and are entrepreneurs.
3. You don’t need permission. Energizing your community shouldn’t go through bureaucratic obstacles more than the permits you need. You don’t have to pay homage to the business and social structures in your community.
4. Never let exclusivity or boundaries turn up. Trust me when I say that you need all the people you can get. Don’t be selective! Once anyone feels like there is a special club that only a select few can join, the open feel of your community vanishes. People should also feel free to form their own groups but free to come back and work with you too.
5. Share everything. If you have something that another entrepreneur may need like expertise, equipment, talent, ideas and time, be willing to share. Co-working space is already a first step to share infrastructure costs. Mentoring is also a great way to share time and expertise. When I meet an entrepreneur or someone having an idea I often propose a lunch to share some know-how and pair them up with people that could help them. Regularly, I offer free business model, ideation or design thinking mentoring sessions. It’s always inspiring to work on new ideas, with passionate people.
6. Keep the calendar full. It’s important to keep the energy high all the time. Schedule events all year round and set up regular meetings open to everyone for a consult or just a chat. You’ll be amazed at how many people show up. You don’t need to organise the entire events yourself! Sometimes it’s good to go, with your peers, to other communities or organisations. Or just go out to Drink a Beer with Your Team to Generate Good Ideas.
Here are other kind of event/concepts you can organise or go to:
- What We Can Learn from Startup Weekend
- Fab Lab ‘s: Changing the Way We Create and Innovate
- Discovering New Ideas with Hackathon
7. Try again and again. It’s not easy to create such community; failing is just part of the process. Look back, try something new, change it all up; what’s important is that you keep trying and meeting people.
Thanks to risk-breaking, forward-thinking and creative communities, innovation has now become more than just something to aspire to in the workplace. Working with innovation groups has become a way of life, a response, and even a strategic weapon against the difficulties of the economic recession.
Please share this insight to inspire people to work with more passion and lead with creativity. It’s free like this ad free article. Thank you 🙂