Collaborative Innovation

Lots of talk about innovation these days.   "Innovation" has become one  of those grossly overused words, perhaps because we all know it likely is the key to unlocking the secret of managing the fast-paced change and increasing complexity of every aspect of our lives here on earth.   Its overuse and lack of common understanding are almost as notable as "marketing", "goals" and "entrepreneur".  One can innovate in process, product, business model, service, customer engagement and much more.  One can also innovate incrementally or create fundamental innovations–and there is every level of innovation in between.

I would love 2012 to unfold as a year that the Hannah Grimes Center explores with you the ideas of how a community can stay innovative– especially a rural community like ours. What does it mean?  How does one do it?  How are we already doing it?

I have recently come across the concept of collaborative innovation.  I do think that NH and the Monadnock Region already have a strong culture of collaborative innovation that may help keep us innovatively in step with those high tech rock stars in big cities.

I recall a quote from Dan Bartlett, Business Incubator Graduate and Architect for our renovation project that reinforced the importance of a collaborative effort: "I guess I've had this theory that good design does not necessarily result from one person's strongly held vision, but rather comes from the variety of forces that come to bear on it–personalities, regulations, ideas, costs, existing realities and fortuitous coincidences – and that the result is a certain richness that feels genuine," he said in an email about our newly-completed space. "I agree with Robert Venturi when he says 'I'm for messy vitality over obvious unity'…."

Dan's elegant summary of our design-build process captures how this creative, practical-minded community works together. With a wide variety of forces bringing change–economic, environmental, social– this community's propensity for collaborative innovation will result, I firmly believe, in a genuine richness in the "new economy".

Now there's another overused word….

Keep up the good work & keep me apprised on your thoughts on innovation.


Mary Ann Kristiansen

Hannah Grimes Center Executive Director