Please comment, below, if you believe we should take one of our retail stores right in the middle of our Magnificent Retail Mile and put in a place that will “teach people to fish for a lifetime”–in other words an innovation center that allows:
- people to network regularly to create new jobs, new products and services, new connections and ideas, new ways to create and grow a green environment.
- daily live and virtual events that teach people how to leverage the many online tools available to them at no cost.
- facilitated support for those want to connect with others to “co-develop” new products and services.
- harvesting of huge amounts of wisdom (the 20% that can yield up to an 80% return) that will grow from the thousands of weekly conversations, brainstorms and planning that will occur in the center.
I have been working on a center for over ten years. Three years ago I was gifted a pilot center at 401 N. Michigan Avenue compliments of Regus Shared Office Space experts. I am now forming a coalition of people who want to be some part of this initiative. Here is what we need:
- One, two or three top companies in Chicago that will take monies from promotional budgets (all of those products that are disposable and just go into landfills after they are used anyway) and put just a portion of the millions spent into a physical center that can yield them highly loyal customers.
- A star team of thought leaders who have influence with major companies who, first, want to introduce us to their connections and, second, fully support the center, providing their thought leadership for startup and growth.
- Support from local universities. I have sat on a board at The University of Chicago. I have also been involved with Northwestern.
- Verbal commitments from vendors for special rates for services and products once we have the team assembled to open the center.
Note that although it would be good to have a non-profit center, I now believe after 22 years in business that it would be better to open a for-profit business. I am convinced that a for-profit, socially responsible initiative is the best way to grow this center which needs to go up faster.
Let’s start something, first, in Chicago. Then let’s share this around the country and the world. Let’s not wait to revitalize our economy. We need to make something happen now.
Please comment, below, if you have ideas or want to offer support!