How to Ignite Innovation

The Innovation Challenge

Schumpeter on InnovationMost readers of this blog are innovation practitioners in the public or private sector. We at Bearing work with projects to transfer knowledge and competence about innovation to create economic growth, and like most of you, dear readers of this blog, we aim to create the right conditions for innovation management in corporations and innovation systems to work in city, regional and national contexts.

However setting up the right preconditions, through science parks, incubators, accelerators and smart finance in a Quad Helix context is only half of the story.

Nothing will happen unless talented individuals with good ideas step forward, to create the innovations that can be successfully commercialised.

As Schumpeter said, “Innovation is creative destruction, where entrepreneurs combine existing elements in new ways”, and we need entrepreneurs, or intrapreneurs in existing organisations, as drivers to innovate. How can we encourage bright people to take the leap to become entrepreneurs? City Mayors, Academic leaders and Corporate Innovators are usually not good at this, as startup innovation requires a very special skillset.

alar-kolkThursday last week, I met Alar Kolk, the creator of the European Innovation Academy. His vision is to encourage innovation by finding and encouraging bright and creative individuals to team up and create fast growing startups and he does so through events like the Innovation Lab 2015 in Tallinn, Estonia, that took place in March.

Kolk knows what he is talking about. In the 1990s we was part of creating the successful innovation eco-system in his native Estonia and in the past ten years has has worked as an international advisor, encouraging hands-on innovation.

The European Innovation Academy

In July this year, Kolk will run the European Innovation Academy (EIA) in Nice, France. The EIA aims to be an extreme accelerator for IT based start-ups, where 600 participants are invited to participate from 65 nations.

The event will run in Nice for three weeks and the participants will collaborate to create 100 start-ups with technology focus. The program of the summer school will be strongly influenced by the prestigious startup accelerators and their methodologies from Silicon Valley. It also seems to be influenced by the Lean Startup ideas of Eric Ries, who promotes  startups that are both more capital efficient and that leverage human creativity more effectively.

imageThe bright student minds who come to the Academy will benefit from the experiential learning of startup life. Multidisciplinary teams will be coached to launch new IT innovations to the market in the record time of 15 days.

The teams will be mentored and educated by 100 industry leaders and professors from Stanford and Berkeley Universities and other Silicon Valley VC´s and organisations. Rather than wasting time creating elaborate business plans, the Academy offers entrepreneurs a way to test their vision continuously, to adapt and adjust all within a three week timespan.

We look forward to see how the Academy event will work and what it will create. Below is a graph of the journey the Academy will coach the bright innovators to undertake.

EIA STartup story

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