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Innovation – the nexus point of the alignment? May 8, 2006

Posted by Tom in Economic Development, Innovation, Workforce.
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I've been intrigued at how often "innovation" has been bandied about in both workforce and economic development circles (not to mention public policy and legislative circles). My personal read on the topic is that it hit critical mass with the release of The World is Flat – but I'm open to other suggestions as to the genesis point of this concept as a public policy imperative.

I'm still trying to figure out if it is a "flavor of the month" or a longer-term trend from a policy point of view, but the flurry of action on this front is impressive. Case in point: In one day's collection of posts, EDPro offers a laundry list of different links to different innovation-oriented news items, covering issues like:

Stowe Boyd at /Message (link to the right) offers a reference to a Fast Company article about innovation. It's a nifty, open-ended discussion of forcing yourself to look beyond your current social networks to achieve real innovation.

So what is innovation? Take a look at the Wikipedia entry on innovation and see what you think. I found it it fascinating – especially the concept of an innovation funnel. Critical in this funnel is the concept of teams, of people, of community:

An important aspect of the innovation funnel is the associations generated between actions and both goals and teams. Ideas, for example, that cannot easily be associated with goals will find it difficult to proceed into the funnel. This has two effects. First, individuals and teams will focus on ideas they believe are in-line with established goals. Second, goals may be re-defined to accommodate good ideas. This is a natural learning process within an innovation community.

Constant learning, churning for innovative concepts…the alignment of workforce and economic development.

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