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Building a Community of Innovators - Why You Should Want In!

November 12, 2019

Last week, our inVision Edge team had the opportunity to support our local United Way's GenNext conference. It was a powerful and inspiring event with 400 local leaders and emerging leaders getting together to look at how we can make Winnipeg an even better place. The event was about more than just getting people in a room and sharing space, it was about sharing our dreams and ambitions for our community.

So, you are probably wondering...what does this have to do with innovation? Well, this year innovation was the theme and we were asked to come in and run a couple of workshops with the large group. We took on the task of running the largest idea generation session we have ever tried - a group of 400! What was the mission we were to generate ideas for?

We need ideas for increasing human connections among all Winnipeggers so we can better take care of each other and build a thriving community.

We knew that we would need help if we were going to facilitate a massive idea generation session, so we put out a call to our local innovators (aka. people who hold Innovation Engineering Blue Belts and Black Belts). We had 24 people volunteer to apply their skills and knowledge to support social innovation in Winnipeg. What an incredible gift of time and talent! Their willingness to help allowed us to provide table coaches for the event such that the idea generation session ran as smooth as silk.

It was only later, at the end of the event, that I reflected back to the mission. I realized that in calling on our community and receiving such an amazing response, we were in fact increasing human connections among Winnipegger so we can better take care of each other and build a thriving community.

What did we learn from this experience to inspire others?

  1. Bringing a community of people together around a common mission allows for greater results than working independently. Leveraging the diversity of a group gives us more and better ideas than what we could build on our own. If we provide a solid mission that people can get behind, they are willing to engage (even when it means putting other important work aside for a time period).
  2. Building a community of like-minded people outside of your organization allows you to build your skills and energy levels. There's nothing like a healthy dose of inspiration to re-energize you! New experiences provide new learning opportunities that people can take back to their organizations.
  3. As a community, we can do what is impossible for an individual. We could never have engaged these 400 minds without the support of our community. We also can't tackle complex social issues as individuals - we need everyone's perspective and creativity!

We are so incredibly grateful for the community of innovators that we have here in Winnipeg. We can hardly wait until the next time we have an opportunity to get everyone together to drive innovation to make our organizations, our communities, and lives better. What are you waiting for? Come join us!

For more information on becoming a certified Blue or Black Belt in Innovation Engineering, click here!


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