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, written by Jeremy. Read the commentary.

stacking, brilliance, open-innovation, blending-mandate, SoCap09

“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” Henry David Thoreau

I’ve come back from SoCap09 with an air castle. It’s a plan to anchor communities on brilliance, open innovation and stack potential while bridging across funding platforms to create sustainable impact. How’s that for a mouth-full of clouds?

Here’s the foundation:

Spot Brilliance:

We just built an analytical tool for spotting brilliance. Advantage Assessment creates a rigorous, evidence-based view of real, tangible, regional strengths. It will point to the few things a place can do really well. We’re talking with Central to decide if they’re interested in using their process for invoking action around those strengths.

Find Hubs:

We’re working with (and looking for) “hubs” – communities, companies, or networks set within diverse issues, interests and resources. For example, we’re working with the community of Drayton Valley to identify its few opportunities to be truly brilliant and leverage its agriculture, forestry and energy resources into bioindustrial opportunities. It ties in the community, current corporations, new companies and technologies, research organizations and academic institutions and all levels of government. My mantra going in: Honor complexity, pillage complication.

Create Anchors:

We’ll leverage “hubs” to anchor co-opetition, collaboration and open innovation. Pick your favourite trendy word – the idea is that when real opportunity is at stake, authentic collaboration is most likely. When a hand-picked group of complimentary players are brought to a common game, the incentives are right (for a while) to drive success together. We’re doing the math to set up that context.

Blend Mandates:

I realized at SoCap09 that investors live on a gradient. It runs from impact to return. Government investors and NFPs seek impact. Industrial investors and VC’s go for return. But (and here’s the kicker) they all need to be there for the game to work. The point isn’t an individual $5 million investment, it’s the entire $150 million pool. The gap isn’t a shortage of capital. It’s a failure to blend mandates (in a sophisticated, credible, and invest-able way).

So, this is the foundation of the air castle: Pick a few right things and anchor them on real and tangible opportunity for impact and return.

Get good at the story. Get amazing on the structure. Be brilliant in the pool.

What else? Name the missing bricks:

What else does the castle need?

You’ve worked at impact for ever, see some smoke?

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Keywords: Stacking, Brilliance, Open-Innovation, Blending-Mandate
Tags: Brilliance, Character-of-Place, Innovation, Investment, Planning, Strategy

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