Saturday, February 07, 2009

Building Innovation Ecosystems

How to Build a Successful Innovation Ecosystem: Educate, Network, and Celebrate -Creativity, Marketing and Innovation -

A successful innovation culture can generally be identified by the answers to the following questions: Is the entrepreneurial spirit celebrated? Are there visible role models who are the proverbial “rock stars?” Are they the extreme exception or not? Are entrepreneurs held in high esteem for taking a chance and making a difference? Is failure understood to be part of the learning process in business, as it is in experimental science? Are there serial entrepreneurs? What is their level of ambition? Do young people aspire to be global entrepreneurs? Or are young people encouraged to get “safe” or “prestigious” jobs in large companies or government?
To get things going you start with a select group of entrepreneurs and you feed them, you celebrate them, and you give them visibility with focused events, workshops, and competitions. And when done properly, this celebration of entrepreneurship will suddenly become contagious and start to grow on its own. We have developed programs at MIT and elsewhere to do just this, including holding American Idol-like entrepreneurial contests in various regions—but with much kinder, gentler, and more supportive judges—and coupling them to educational programs.