An introduction to Innovation Cells
20 May 2008

An introduction to Innovation Cells

[Cross-posted from the Leapfrog Institutes Newswire] Leapfrog

20 May 2008

[Cross-posted from the Leapfrog Institutes Newswire]

Leapfrog Institutes introduces “Innovation Cells” as a way to operationalize Leapfrog in your school, college, business or community. First of all, what’s an Innovation Cell? Leapfrog Institutes has drawn the basics from an article written by Uri Weisflog. Uwe Weissflog is an associate of Cambashi and founder of Pathway Guidance – Europe. This work first appeared in the EAReport, October 2005.We’ve retained a very energizing quote from the author! The material was taken on 07 May 2008 from the Cambashi site.

So, what’s an “Innovation Cell”?

An Innovation Cell (IC) helps to organize a project to make good ideas more operational. ICs help to answer the “So What?” question that usually accompanies new ideas generated by students, faculty, and the community. Innovation Cells have small numbers of people at their core, but may have many affiliate ICs and individuals around the globe via the Internet.

ICs are especially effective when a large gap separates a good idea from a great project that can help materialize that idea.

Comparatively unburdened by tradition and bureaucracy, ICs can operate very rapidly – a major advantage in a rapidly changing world. In other words, responsible ICs can operate with reasonable freedom within the larger organization.

What kind of organization distinguishes the IC? It is self-organization, a product of collaborative work among its members. Self-organization generates ownership, excitement, and commitment among IC members.

How long should an IC last? That is to be locally determined, but in general, until it has completed its task. Thus, some ICs might last a few months while others might continue much longer. On occasion, ICs might choose to terminate because, despite everyone’s best efforts, they determine that insufficient progress has been made.

ICs bring out the “implicit” knowledge and creativity of their members. This provides a self-discovery and self-improvement value in addition to the actual benefits gained from collectively working toward the IC goal.

These benefits may cause the IC to appear inefficient and too unstructured, but many great innovations have come from just such contexts!

“Beyond ICs lies a vast continent of innovative possibilities. Although we understand ICs, there must be many more innovative possibilities we have not yet discovered. To explore this treasure requires the open mind of the explorer himself. This mindset may be one of the most precious results of the work in an IC. Viewed in this way, a new generation of professionals and leaders may emerge to deal with the challenging uncertainties of our future.” -Uwe Weissflog

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