Defining the work & outcomes of inclusive innovation
Having an agreement about what inclusive innovation means and what success looks like is an important first step to this work. This section includes working definitions and straw-man outcomes along with a set of underlying questions that your community can build from.
Inclusive innovation efforts include helping cities and communities increase the number of new businesses being formed and small businesses/ social enterprises growing that have a material impact on the local economy (innovation) particularly among currently disconnected, disenfranchised communities (inclusion). Target outcomes include: Growing the number of locally owned small businesses in the community; Increasing livableRead More
To help a community get aligned on this work, it is often helpful to have a set of common working terms. The following section includes a glossary of terms related to inclusive innovation and economic development. Innovation is the creation and adoption of new products, services, processes, and business models to yield value (both economicRead More
Hiring an Innovation Fellow & Forming and Managing an Effective Innovation Council
Being intentionally inclusive of those participating in–and benefiting from–a community’s innovation ecosystem is not easy work. It takes trust, commitment, communication, and capacity to develop the organizational structure needed to facilitate a representative and inclusive strategic planning process. Experience suggests having a full-time Innovation Fellow and a cross-sector Innovation Council as a local steering committee will significantly strengthen these efforts.
Having a dedicated, full-time community leader dedicated to supporting a community’s efforts to advance inclusive innovation and economic development is critical to this work. The following is a job description for an “Inclusive Innovation Fellow.” It is recommended this individual be housed within the local community foundation or Mayor’s office and have convening authority. InclusiveRead More
Overview: To help foster a coordinated approach to inclusive innovation, a community should form a local innovation council comprised of 25-30 private and public stakeholders that will provide input and oversight to this work. The Innovation Council will help guide efforts to further unleash the entrepreneurial potential of the community – with a particular focusRead More
To help foster a coordinated approach to advancing inclusive innovation, each community is encouraged to form a local innovation council that represents a broad and diverse cross-section of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. This includes: individuals with expertise in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, small business owners and entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs and non-profit leaders, and those identified by theRead More
The Innovation Council acts a volunteer Advisory Board throughout this process. All participants need to recognize that this is sustained commitment for at least 1-2 years. The following committee structure is recommended to maximize efficiency and coordination. Co-Chairs Two co-chairs should be selected to provide leadership to the innovation council. The ideal co-chair is: Well-respectedRead More
This is the kick-off meeting of the Innovation Council. Comprised of 25-30 private and public stakeholders, the Council will help guide efforts to further unleash the entrepreneurial potential of your city – with a particular focus on increasing participation in the innovation economy among the city’s traditionally under-represented communities. The Innovation Council is designed toRead More
To maintain an honest, constructive dialogue that advances understanding and collaboration within a diverse community a set of norms and meeting protocols are recommended. According to the research of Patrick Lencioni in his book Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable, there are five areas where collaborative learning teams fall apart. WhenRead More
Prior to forming a local innovation council, communities are encouraged to achieve the following milestones. Order of milestones will vary by community. Consider funding sources and budget (e.g., staffing costs if not provided in-kind, meeting space, meals, materials, mileage reimbursement, etc); Establish MOUs or less formal agreements, especially for in-kind staffing, as appropriate; Identify/hire InclusiveRead More
Asset Mapping and Community Surveys to inform Planning Process
Comprehensive data collection can help communities understand the current state of their innovation economy and how demographically representative it is, and gauge current community perceptions of the innovation economy and how well it is serving innovators and entrepreneurs in their community. Two data collection tools were developed for InnovateNC with input from Forward Cities. These include the InnovateNC Community Innovation Asset Map and the InnovateNC Community Innovation Perception Survey.
The Community Innovation Asset Map is a tool to help a community catalog the assets it has to build an inclusive innovation economy. The purpose of the asset map is to help a community clearly articulate its vision for inclusive innovation and to understand the resources available in and around the community. These assets, whenRead More
The Community Perception Survey was designed to provide perspective on the community’s ability to create an inclusive innovation ecosystem. The tool can allow community innovation leaders to understand changes in the culture, resources, leadership, role models, and frameworks that encourage inclusive innovation. Completing the Perception Survey will allow communities to better understand how key communityRead More
To create a truly representative sample and to yield best results, compile a list of contacts that represent the groups below. In a Microsoft Excel (or similar) worksheet, include the following columns for each contact: First and last name, organization, email. If the community wants to track survey responses based on demographic data, consider collectingRead More
The following text is provided to assist with outreach to the community as part of the survey. Please use/ edit as you see fit. Innovation is a powerful driver of economic development and community transformation. You have been invited to take this community innovation perception survey because of your ability to provide perspective on theRead More
A local data partner can assist the data committee on assessing the current state of the community’s innovation ecosystem – with a focus on diversity and inclusivity. The data partner can be a person or an organization, and can provide services for a fee or in-kind. Local colleges and universities make ideal data partners. TheRead More
Developing a Strategic Plan and Alignment among key Stakeholders
Forming an effective local innovation council and participating in data collection and municipal policy analysis efforts will provide the critical information needed to develop a strategic plan that creates alignment around a set of agreed upon outcomes and strategies supported by a realistic timeline, operational plan, and budget led by a proven backbone organization. This section includes tools a set of key strategic planning questions that communities can explore, guidance on creating clear and measurable outcomes, and proposed backbone organization agency structures.
It is important for a community to determine its 10-year vision for inclusive innovation before engaging in any strategic planning efforts. As the vision comes into focus, a priority is to get agreement on target outcomes with explicit buy-in from all stakeholders – especially among those most impacted by the work (i.e. local entrepreneurs andRead More
To inform the strategic planning process, it is helpful to have alignment on a community’s target outcomes. Below are a set of guiding questions to develop this alignment. Guiding Questions: Who is Target Population? (i.e. who will participate or directly benefit): Examples may include: Business Entrepreneurs/Social Innovators/Neighborhood Change-Makers Entrepreneurs and Local Leaders from Low IncomeRead More
Emerging from a systems mapping process is a strategic planning process to determine a set of actionable strategies to achieve a community’s agreed upon target outcomes. Below are a set of guiding questions to inform this undertaking. The result should be a concise, comprehensive plan that is “investment ready.” Strategic Planning Questions for Innovation InitiativeRead More
Aligning Municipal Policy
There are many formal and informal policies that influence how open a city is to new ideas and businesses, how the community can optimize its infrastructure for high-growth new businesses, and how the community builds innovation into its own activities. But policy does not happen in a bubble, it takes the commitment of individuals and organizations to advocate for policy change within and across institutional systems that support innovators and entrepreneurs.
Connecting to Regional Economic Development Priorities
Tools to help cities determine what role economic development efforts on a regional level might play in supporting and sustaining their local inclusive innovative agenda.
National Survey of Regional and Local Economic Development Efforts Forward Cities conducted a national survey of regional and local economic development initiatives that emphasizes entrepreneurship and innovation, with an emphasis on including historically underserved individuals and communities as an important and intentional part of their local and regional competitiveness strategy. Methodology: A survey was conductedRead More
Forward Cities was founded in 2014 based on the belief that the future of our economy and our communities are dependent on our ability to innovate; that place-based efforts will be more successful if they are connected with one another; and that these efforts to create innovation ecosystems will only reach their potential if theyRead More
Telling the Story of Inclusive Innovation
Many communities are currently missing out on the opportunity to control or coordinate the messaging about their innovation efforts. It’s important to develop/ enhance a narrative about your emerging innovation economy with the purpose of changing/enhancing local perceptions and attitudes and amplifying the city’s state and national reputation as a city of inclusive innovation. This section includes tools for developing a community’s media objectives, including types of media outlets, communication and outreach best practices, and strategies for representing your organization or initiative through storytelling.
Engaging representatives of the media and those with marketing and communication expertise is a critical strategy for effectively telling the story of your community’s inclusive innovation efforts. It is notable to acknowledge that most media lack deep understanding of how local innovation ecosystems work. Journalists lack insight into what drives the local economy, who theRead More
When developing a character-driven story, one of the things one looks for is a unique person or “character” to be the center of the story. Find a person or “character” who is knowledgeable about their group, but also shows excitement when talking about the job they do—and can break their work down in such aRead More
Storytelling and going on a first date are very similar. You want to keep it simple and be transparent, interesting and compelling (if they can relate, they will connect with you on an emotional level), and leave them with a bit of intrigue (invites them to ask questions because they’ll want to know more!). GoodRead More
Below are a set of National and Local Media Influencers, Individual Contributors, Social Media Influencers, and Opinion Leaders: 1. City Lab Richard Florida, Co-founder and Editor at Large Rob Bole, General Manager Tanvi Misra, Writer 2. Fast Company/Fast Company Design Suzanne LaBarre, FastCo.Design Editor Diana Budds, FastCo.Design Senior Editor Eillie Anzilotti, Fast Company Contributor 3.Read More