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5 Characteristics of Innovative Communities

Feb 14, 2011

TEDxYYC committee member, Jasmine Antonick, on nurturing innovative communities:

I work in one of the world’s most innovative hubs: Silicon Valley…. I count myself among many lucky people to be surrounded by brainy creatives day in and day out… These people introduced me to the culture of transparency that fuels the innovation behind today’s most culturally disruptive ideas and technology.

And, since our next TEDxYYC is focusing on the ideas that fuel community, I thought I’d share some of my findings…

Remarkable ideas aren’t unique or individual. Instead, they’re crafted when multiple people’s experiences come together to create something far more meaningful than a lone idea ever would have been on its own.

It’s through sharing that we create ideas that can change the world. And, there’s never been a better time in history to connect and collaborate on the scale that’s possible today. We’re blessed with the tools to find like-minded people who share our ambitions, regardless of whether they’re in Calgary or Cairo.

Because we live in the day and age we do, I believe we all share the responsibility for continuing to nurture environments that inspire, educate and fuel ideas that will write history for generations to come.

Here are 5 Components of Innovation, as I see it:

1. Risk-Taking. Progress does not stand still. If you hear the words, “we’ve always done it that way,” run as fast as you can. Creativity doesn’t take the shape of a cookie cutter and the “it is what it is” mantra just won’t fly.

2. Evolution. Innovation is iterative. I mean, hell, Google opened Gmail to the public in 2004, but it stayed in Beta until summer of 2009. Beta is a stage of product development meaning it’s still working out kinks and rolling out new features. Innovation isn’t a finished product; it’s a process. Put your idea or product out there and be prepared to make changes and admit that it’s not perfect (yet).

3. Confidence. You don’t need to be Steve Jobs, but you do need to live and breathe what you do with a passion that’s contagious. When you become a champion of change with a steadfast vision, you’ll naturally become a magnet for people who want to help.

4. Communication. Be transparent. Share your insights and make yourself and your team accessible to outsiders and open to feedback. Communication creates a sense of community (duh!) and encourages people to share a sense of ownership, creating a network of ambassadors.

5. History. Learn from what others have done before you. Build upon their successes and learn from their mistakes.

See you all at TEDxYYC and don’t forget there is still time to apply to attend (we can only sell 100 tickets).

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