Is an online innovation learning community viable?

NextWAVE Innovation Learning Community (ILC)

Experimenting With an Online Learning Community

Innovation doesn’t just happen, you need to build an ecosystem where it can thrive. One of the ways NextWAVE is doing that is by creating an Innovation Learning community where members can explore creativity and innovation through multiple lenses, share their insights and challenges and grow their skill set.

To explore whether we could build such an ecosystem online, Rob Brodnick, My co-host on the Positive Turbulence Podcast and I created such a community. We met every other month, using video conferencing. Each meeting was 90 minutes long. There were three parts to each meeting:

NDA

Each member of the learning community signed an NDA with NextWAVE and agreed to abide by strict no selling, no-poaching guidelines.

Results

One of the challenges many innovation managers face in their organizations is how to define innovation. Another is isolation from other innovators. Our guests welcomed the opportunity to connect and generate a meaningful dialogue.

Our members appreciated the opportunity to see innovation through the lens of our guests and to explore the unique challenges each faced.

Overall, the experiment was very successful. Guests and members alike found value in the meetings. they enjoyed the presentations and the opportunity to ask the group for help with challenges, sharing victories. The Gifts the Room portion of the meeting was less successful. While there was good discussion, we didn’t manage to develop strong connections, a necessary aspect of networking to support innovation. That being said, it was not a failure either. Rather more an element of the community that needs some tweaking.

Ground rules

The ground rules are simple but important:

What's next?

We are now exploring ways to use this same model to extend the membership experience of AMI (aminnovation.org) members.