Everybody Innovates Here

This article is a draft excerpt from the upcoming book Everybody Innovates Here: Developing a higher-impact, more sustainable, more effective system to accelerate innovation and entrepreneurship. Click Here to learn more about the book and sign up for updates.

In 2013, I wrote a book called The Local Economy Revolution that described how conventional economic development and urban planning methods were failing to create the kind of communities we need in the emerging era. In 2015, I wrote a book called Crowdsourcing Wisdom that addressed one of the core failings I had identified: a systematic failure to meaningfully involve everyone in a community in making decisions about their communities’ futures.

In 2016, I put two more partially- completed books on hold to work on a start up. My distraction didn’t come from an app or a shop:

It came from the opportunity to build groundbreaking new systems that could enable the change I’d been grasping for.

Over the past 2 years, I’ve seen close-up what systems for accelerated innovation can do. I’ve watched people who haven’t yet finished college equip a business to raise millions in investment. I’ve seen 60-year-old founders’ eyes open wide when they’re shown a solution they had never considered — by a team whose average age is 24. I’ve watched an overlooked neighborhood discover its hidden assets and find its authentic voice.

And we’ve worked with innovators across the spectrum, across silos and across the country to learn more about new ways of working and doing, better and faster.

What we have learned at Econogy is:

  • We need much more innovation, from the grassroots to the corporate, and from the social to the technical. And we need that innovation to get out of the local test, the pilot stage, much faster and better than its often does.
  • We need, as a culture, to get much better at innovation if we want to have half a chance of meeting the stunning array of challenges in front of us.
  • We have been leaving innovation too much to chance for something that we need so much. We’ve relied on magical thinking, unquestioned rules of thumb and feel-good anecdotes, and we’ve gotten haphazard results, at best, as a result — haphazard results that waste much of our best assets.

This book captures what innovation districts, startup ecosystems and other parts of this emerging sector need to do differently if we are all to build the world that we need in the emerging era. We need

  • more innovators,
  • more completely and fully diverse innovators,
  • more intentional innovation growth,
  • more intentional connectivity
  • more intentional interlacing between corporate, institution, starters and non-profits, and
  • more intentional effort to not only start more, but enable every start to reach its full capacity, locally or globally.

We’re glad you’re along for the journey.