I found this great clip on YouTube from Charles Leadbeater about the intersection of innovation and community and how one nourishes the other. While creativity and new ideas can certainly happen in isolation it’s not until people come together as a group and allow themselves to think big, listen, and think differently that innovation and change will occur.
I watched this video through my higher education lens and thought about how this idea of community, creativity, and innovation could really blossom if we made it a part of what we do. What do I mean? Here’s an example: we have many talented faculty on our campus and many are doing amazing things with technology but few know about it. We have faculty using www.nationalatlas.gov, Google Earth, Google Pages, PBWiki, Word Press, Flickr, Ning, Windows Movie Maker, etc. as a part of their curriculum but there is no entity to bring these innovators together to talk, to share and to *innovate. Is an online community a way to connect people not only from our campus but from other campuses and with other creative technology users? An online community would also provide a space to anyone passionate about technology a forum in which to be heard. It’s structure and purpose would allow people to pipe-in and add ideas to the conversation or lurk if that would grease the thinking process.
I don’t pretend to have an answer but the video really did force me to think more about connections and the role of the connector.
*Innovation = includes not only research and bleeding edge but also experience and practice.