“What if we transform citizens into the chief architects and designers of their own communities? What if we enable citizens to self-organize in purposeful networks? What if these citizen networks partnered with willing institutions across the public and private sector? Could we transform a community, a state? Could we deliver on a promise for economic and community development?”
This is the challenge issued by the Business Innovation Factory (BIF), an amazing organization based in Providence, Rhode Island and led by Founder and Chief Catalyst Saul Kaplan. If you’re involved in any way with business models, strategy, or innovation you either already know who they are, or should.
The BIF has created a large network of top innovators over the years to create, design, and test game-changing ideas across the public and private sectors. They work with everyone from health care organizations and entrepreneurs to the government, education, and energy sectors, using “human-centered” design to re-imagine the kinds of business models and systems that can work in the real world. BIF delivers their work through hands-on Experience Labs as well as a world-class annual event, the Collaborative Innovation Summit, highlighting those who are making a difference through disruptive ideas. Accomplished innovators like Dan Pink, Tony Hsieh, John Hagel, and Jason Fried have all taken the stage at this inspiring event (see this list for an astounding compilation of past speakers and workshop leaders).
SideraWorks is incredibly excited to announce that we’ll be partnering with BIF on a year-long social community project, culminating in a workshop on September 20, 2013 immediately following the Summit. To say we’re humbled and thrilled to be part of this project would be an incredible understatement.
So what will we be doing?
As the positive results of “Social Business” have continued to pour in, more and more organizations are stepping up to the table to embrace deeper ideas around collaboration, knowledge-sharing and open human networks in their companies. While we’re excited by that, we believe that these ideas can be extended even further into the “Social Community”. As citizens and professionals who are invested in the communities around us, we have an incredible opportunity to enable self-organized, purposeful networks that can solve real social and human challenges in the neighborhoods where we live and work. SideraWorks and BIF will be working hand in hand over the course of the next twelve months to design and test new business models to take on this challenge, and to apply the learnings and methodologies behind “social business” to create more productive and dynamic citizen networks.
Then, at next years BIF Collaborative Innovation Summit — which could be described as a more intimate TED with a tighter focus (in fact, the founder of TED has hosted the event multiple times) — we’ll be conducting a special workshop that recounts these efforts. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
What worked? What didn’t? How do you identify and measure cultural traits within these communities? Which traits of community cultures are the best indicators for success? Do the dynamic network models we’ve developed for business organizations apply effectively to these citizen networks? What is the best way to plant the seeds that motivate these community networks to grow and thrive? What technologies offer the most promise of facilitating and supporting self-organization?
By registering before January 15, 2013 you will get access to this special workshop included in your fee. After that it’s an additional cost, so we highly recommend purchasing your ticket early to ensure you get into the event. We’d love to see you there, share what we’ve learned, and hear your groundbreaking ideas. It’s going to be an amazing experience.
On a personal note, it’s a true honor to be working with an organization that has collaborated with some of our own heroes and mentors, and it’s incredibly validating to have a well-respected and accomplished organization like BIF as a partner on a project like this. Just a year ago, we sat at brunch with Saul to chat over our mutual intellectual attraction to the ideas around social, and to get Saul’s input on our then-burgeoning business idea for SideraWorks.
Who knew that a year later we’d be embarking on such an adventure together?
So, many thanks to Saul and the BIF team for their partnership on what is sure to be an amazing and rewarding collaboration, and hopefully one that delivers transformational ideas for social community. We hope we’ll see you at the Summit next year!
Amber Naslund & Matt Ridings