i. Prologue – Written by Melissa Giovagnoli – What was the original genesis of the Innovation Center concept? How long of a gestation period was there? What earlier attempts had been made? What was learned from those experiences? What specific events/encounters provided the catalyst that made the whole thing possible starting in 2009?
I. Chapter One – November 11, 2011. Reminiscing about our beginning days in the Innovation Center that opened the year before on October 10, 2010… What did we set out to accomplish? What were our motivations? What resistance did we encounter? Who encouraged us? What people were instrumental to our early success? What role did networlding play? What was it about the Innovation Center concept that truly caught people’s interest and passion? How did we leverage outside ideas and our blogosphere community to help enhance our vision and accelerate our progress?
II. Chapter Two – A day in the life of the center as it is “today” (11-11-11) – The user experience. What are the key differentiating attributes of the user experience? How are people using the Center? What value are they generating/receiving? What makes the Center so successful? How has this changed over the last year?
III. Chapter Three – Opening Day October 10, 2010. What did the beginning structure look like the day it opened? Did we have all 30 kiosks in there? What was our business and revenue model? What initial mistakes did we make? What fortuitous events helped make it happen? What was the initial public reaction? What near-disasters did we finesse?
IV. Chapter Four – The first week. What happened during that first week of the center being opened? What did we learn? What did we commit to fix? How did it change our assumptions or operating models? What would we have done differently from the beginning of only we’d known…
V. Chapter Five – The early months. What happened within the first 90 days? What were our first 3 major initiatives? How were they germinated? how did we get them to the stage of moving to engagement with design engineers from a couple of the companies in the center (check out www.inventright.com or www.edisonnation.com for examples of companies). Who were our first corporate sponsors? What made them decide to participate?
VI. Chapter Six – Crisis! What unexpected event happened ~ 4-6 months later that nearly caused the Center to collapse? (A little dramatic effect that occurs in every good story…) How did we rescue it? What help did we get from an entirely unexpected source? What sacrifices were we forced to make that turned out to pay huge dividends later? What seemingly unrelated sub-plot first mentioned in the prologue and carried along at a low level of intensity in Chapters I-V suddenly emerges as an unexpected, vital component of our success?
VII. Chapter Seven – The Center – 2nd Generation. How did the Center emerge better, stronger and with more innovative impact as a result of the events in Chapter Five? How did we know that the Center was now completely out of danger and would be an extraordinary success?
VIII. Chapter Eight – Events in the Center. What kinds of things went on during that first year – especially those that could only have taken place in the unique environment of the Center?
IX. Chapter Nine – Impact of the Center. What tangible, measurable results has the Center produced in its first year? What additional kinds of activities are there underway that will yield even greater impacts an dividends. Where did we create unexpected value? What didn’t we expect that happened?
X. Chapter Ten – What’s Next? Having spent the first nine chapters in reflection mode, now we pivot and look to the future. Sister Centers are now in various stages of opening in San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, London, Prague and Milan. Interest has been expressed from unexpected sources – DARPA, DOE and other leading-edge US government agencies want to develop a similar concept to help drive early-stage innovation on government projects. NASA wants to build a Center dedicated to establishing a manned base on Mars. The World Bank and Gates Foundation want to fund the establishment of local Innovation Centers across Africa to help foster self-help solutions to the daunting problems of Aids, energy, food and tribal feuding — from the same people that these challenges affect the most.
So, beginning with Chapter One, what ten companies do you think should be part of the center? Would you choose any of the companies from this list of the twenty-five most innovative companies identified most recently by Business Week? Who would be your ten and why? Please comment and get your colleagues to comment. We’ll let the majority rule and off we go! Check out Business Week’s 50 Most Innovative Company list for 2009 to help with your choices.