Giving innovation a sense of place – Fed programs can be an opportunity for leadership consultants


Placed-based innovation is the focus of new programs designed to bring advancements to underperforming areas. National discussions on infrastructure are broader than roads and bridges. In a digital context, technology and human systems are integral to economic and quality-of-life improvement in thousands of communities. Especially communities that have been underperforming.


Enter “place-based” innovation.


A new federal program with an emphasis on grass-roots community innovation aligns with the Idea Connection Systems ethos of innovation using our Mosaic Methods approach along with the Innovation Strengths Preference Indicator (ISPI).


“…Place-based” programs such as the Economic Development Administration’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge are encouraging bottom-up problem-solving in more and more place,” writes Brookings’ Mark Muro, in the article, “A new federal program goes local to accelerate regional innovation.” UPDATE: The deadline has closed for the Build Back Better Regional Challenge for 2022.


And within this, the National Science Foundation has announced it is providing select US regions financial support up to $160 million to develop place-based innovation. Called “NSF Regional Innovation Engines,” the program is aimed at underserved locations where technology and talent development have lagged.


Already, ICS with our partners at Rochester Institute of Technology has been facilitating community focused problem-solving initiatives using the ISPI instrument. Through consultation using the assessment we’ve built more diverse, more innovative teams through strengthened interpersonal bonds, notably in Topeka, KS, Rochester, NY and Greensboro, NC.


As these new federal initiatives unfold, we’re excited about the business potential for leadership, management, and community organization consultants and how we can support them.


“We’ve learned that building innovation teams in communities begins with an inside out process,” said David Magellan Horth, Vice President, Mosaic Communities, Idea Connection Systems. “Using the ISPI assessment we build interpersonal bonds by overcoming ‘outer’ differences like ethnicity, gender, and finances, to reveal who each participant really is, inside. Once you have people engaged on this level, organizing innovative processes is much easier and more enjoyable for the group.”


If you have an economic development client or project that needs effective teams, especially in underserved communities, this is an approach we can help support. Contact David Horth for more information.

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