Creating Innovation Networks in Midtown

June Holley is leading this week's forum. June is a nationally recognized researcher and practitioner in identifying, leading and coaching innovation networks.

Our first question from June: What would you like to see happen in Cleveland?
Here are some ideas produced by some of the small working groups from the audience: (for non- and for-profits)
* Minorities in healthcare devices industry
* Lots of entrepreneurs
* More spin-offs from the hospitals
* More collaboration and lateral behaviors bringing people together
* High speed rail, connecting cities
* Ideas and people together to evaluate ideas
* Core city strengthened

Our next question is, who do you know who can help you with the development of these ideas?
* E-City started by John Zitzner for kids and incorporating a strong process
* Shorebank can help Alex Michaels with support of a proposed film incubator
* Find small companies to come together to share supplies and in a larger group work out better arrangements
* High speed rail: historically rail was better centralized; now tavel is decentralized and often takes several bus rides, taxi's, etc for individuals who depend on public transportation adding up to a 3 -5 hour-a-day commute.

June: Alot of things are succeeding in your community and region. But this knowledge is often not shared. We need to build environments to share and spread successful practices, and get to know each other.

These kinds of environments are called networking hubs. How can we make networking hubs stronger? A good example is the kitchen incubator model developed at ACEnet. Hundreds and hundreds of businesses use the facility. It is also a great way for businesses to get to know each other. This is a true networking hub of people with alot of things in common.

The success of these hubs depends on a casual environment where people can exchange ideas. There needs to be a network weaver type of personality present to help facilitate the connections. For example: in Athens, one individual works in one restaurant during the day and another at night. She connects at multiple spots and is able to "spread" new stories and knowledge about innovation.

Often economic develpment leaders don't think about the value of this kind of networking. A good example of this kind of productive environment is in Northern Italy where small stores are very active with alot of innovation present. Research also backs this theory up with statistics. This kind of dynamic, active environment accelerates innovative businesses to be even more innovative.

Network weavers are critical in helping to create activities that need to happen to accelerate innovation and entrepreneurship. We are finding that network weavers are valuable and we need many people practicing good networking.

Who do you know of who is a network weaver?

In summary, think about the importance of postitive deviance, network weaving and networking hubs. If you have any questions, just email June Holley at:


At 8:02 PM, Blogger George Nemeth said...

Nice work live blogging, Betsey.

At 8:53 PM, Blogger Betsey said...

Thank you, G. I am so glad you came and helped to lead the conversation with your tremendous insight and rich contributions. Come again and help us to create more innovation in Midtown.


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