Bees, Trees and the Innovation Ecosystem

Sherri_Torjman bees and treesIf you ever have the good fortune to spend time with Tim Draimin, Executive Director of Social Innovation Generation National, you will learn a lot about social innovation − in Canada and abroad.

But you will also find out quickly that Tim is thinking about something that goes beyond innovation itself.  He is preoccupied with a notion called the “innovation ecosystem.”  You might wonder what on earth he is talking about.

Here is my interpretation.  Innovation represents a product, service, process or way of thinking that is qualitatively different from what is currently in place.  The innovation could be new or newly-applied.  The latter refers to something that has proven successful elsewhere and is now being applied to a new context or community.

The innovation ecosystem comprises all the actions you need to take to both sow and grow the innovation seeds.  A good idea − whether a product, service, process or new way of thinking − does not take hold just because it happens to be a good idea.  It needs to be planted in the right conditions and carefully cultivated to ensure it can take root and flourish.

bees meet trees

Report on how large social sector organisations can help to scale social innovation

Tim has recently read a report called When Bees Meet Trees: How large social sector organisations can help to scale social innovation.  The paper builds on earlier ideas that depicted bees as small organizations, individuals and groups that have the new ideas and are mobile, quick and able to cross-pollinate.  The trees, by contrast, are the big organizations − governments, companies and large not-for-profits − which are poor at creativity but generally good at implementation.  They have the resilience, roots and scale to make things happen.  Both the bees and the trees need each other.

 

While the ideas in this report may be interesting, they will not be applied unless they are disseminated, digested, discussed and debated.  Any innovation − including a new way of thinking − needs an innovation ecosystem in order to take hold.  This innovation ecosystem comprises of several components.

First, it is essential to identify the people who would have an interest in this product, service, process or new way of thinking.  Among them are those who are willing to go one step further and spread the word.  They may even be early adopters ready to apply the innovation to their own workplaces or communities.  There is a vital human resource component to the innovation ecosystem.

An innovative product, service, process or idea typically involves a variety of associated changes to take root.  When it comes to applying an idea, for example, it may be necessary to create new teams that work together in clusters rather than individually at desks.  Community locations, such as a coffee shop or neighbourhood hub, may replace a central office.  Virtual work spaces may be set up at home.  These are the physical space dimensions of the innovation ecosystem.

Before any new product, service, process or idea is introduced within an organization or community, there must be an assessment of who might be affected by the innovation and in what ways.  Innovation usually is ‘disruptive’ in that it implies a qualitative shift in how things are done.  While disruption is vital to innovation, it is important to try to minimize potential harms, such as job loss or exclusion from an essential service.  There is a key information component to the innovation ecosystem.

There are also legal dimensions to the innovation ecosystem to which innovators must pay attention.  It is possible that clients of a service may decide to launch a lawsuit, for example, if their benefits or supports are protected through legislation.  Employees may lodge a complaint or grievance if they feel that their contractual agreement has shifted fundamentally from its original signing.  While these possibilities should not necessarily block the innovation, change makers must be aware of the potential legal implications of their actions.

Of course, money is always a consideration.  How much will the innovation cost and from where will the funds come to support this new good, service, process or way of thinking?  Will they be redirected from another activity or program or will additional dollars have to be found?  Are there potentially new funders or sources of financing that might be tapped?  This is the financial component to the innovation ecosystem.

Finally, the policy component of the innovation ecosystem can help or hinder the application of a new product, service, process or idea.  For example, existing legislation may prevent non-profit organizations from raising new funds through profit-making activities.  Enabling policies, by contrast, could help open the door to new forms of financing.

At the end of the day, an innovation that has been applied well will probably be sustained over time.  If successful, other organizations and communities often want to apply it as well.  Sustainability and scaling are vital features of successful innovation.

No wonder Tim is obsessed with the innovation ecosystem.  Without it, innovation will likely not take hold.  For sure, it will not survive or go to scale.  Tim knows that it is imperative to create the conditions for success when the bees ultimately meet the trees.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Bookmark and Share
Avatar About Sherri Torjman

Sherri Torjman is Vice-President of the Caledon Institute of Social Policy.

Comments

  1. …. another very helpful essay Sherri, sure to make it onto my reading list for students getting their minds wrapped around social innovation and public-policy advocacy.

    Of course what you have done here is also provide a modest, useful blueprint for the sort of mapping exercise that savvy advocates know is essential to understanding the public policy and political environment (or “ecosystem”) of the change they are trying to advance.

    Sean Moore
    Advocacy School

  2. Thanks for this! I’ve been searching all over the web for the info.

  3. Great site. Plenty of useful info here. I’m sending it to some buddies ans additionally sharing in delicious. And certainly, thanks for your effort!

  4. Heya this is kinda of off topic but I was wondering if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding expertise so I wanted to get guidance from someone with experience. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  5. Regards for all your efforts that you have put in this. very interesting information.

  6. I am often to blogging and i really appreciate your content. The article has really peaks my interest. I am going to bookmark your site and keep checking for new information.

  7. Wow! Thank you! I permanently needed to write on my blog something like that. Can I include a fragment of your post to my site?

  8. I’ve been exploring for a little for any high-quality articles or blog posts on this kind of area . Exploring in Yahoo I at last stumbled upon this website. Reading this info So i am happy to convey that I have a very good uncanny feeling I discovered exactly what I needed. I most certainly will make certain to don’t forget this website and give it a look regularly.

  9. I have recently started a blog, the information you provide on this web site has helped me tremendously. Thank you for all of your time & work.

  10. I’ve been absent for some time, but now I remember why I used to love this web site. Thank you, I will try and check back more often. How frequently you update your site?

  11. I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but your sites really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your website to come back down the road. Many thanks

  12. Wohh precisely what I was searching for, thanks for putting up.

  13. Some really nice stuff on this website , I enjoy it.

  14. Really wonderful info can be found on web blog.

  15. wonderful post.Never knew this, thankyou for letting me know.

  16. Does your website have a contact page? I’m having problems locating it but, I’d like to send you an e-mail. I’ve got some ideas for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great site and I look forward to seeing it improve over time.

  17. Pretty! This was a really wonderful post. Thank you for your provided information.

  18. I like this web site because so much utile material on here : D.

  19. wonderful submit, very informative. I ponder why the other specialists of this sector do not realize this. You must continue your writing. I’m confident, you’ve a great readers’ base already!

  20. I discovered your blog web site on google and test a number of of your early posts. Continue to keep up the superb operate. I simply extra up your RSS feed to my MSN News Reader. Seeking forward to reading more from you later on!…

  21. What i don’t realize is actually how you are no longer really a lot more smartly-liked than you might be right now. You are so intelligent. You realize therefore considerably relating to this subject, made me personally believe it from so many numerous angles. Its like men and women aren’t involved unless it is one thing to accomplish with Woman gaga! Your own stuffs nice. All the time take care of it up!

  22. Very good written post. It will be beneficial to anyone who usess it, including me. Keep up the good work – can’r wait to read more posts.

  23. I like this post, enjoyed this one thank you for posting. “When you make a world tolerable for yourself, you make a world tolerable for others.” by Anais Nin.

  24. Very interesting subject , regards for posting.

  25. I’m impressed, I need to say. Actually hardly ever do I encounter a blog that’s each educative and entertaining, and let me let you know, you’ve got hit the nail on the head. Your concept is outstanding; the difficulty is something that not sufficient persons are talking intelligently about. I am very blissful that I stumbled across this in my seek for something relating to this.

  26. I got what you intend, appreciate it for putting up.Woh I am happy to find this website through google. “I was walking down the street wearing glasses when the prescription ran out.” by Steven Wright.

  27. As I website owner I believe the content material here is real fantastic, thankyou for your efforts.

  28. This is the correct weblog for anyone who needs to seek out out about this topic. You understand a lot its nearly onerous to argue with you (not that I actually would want…HaHa). You definitely put a brand new spin on a subject thats been written about for years. Great stuff, just nice!

  29. Great wordpress blog here.. It’s hard to find quality writing like yours these days. I really appreciate people like you! take care

  30. It’s hard to find knowledgeable people on this topic, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

  31. magnificent publish, very informative. I ponder why the opposite experts of this sector don’t realize this. You must proceed your writing. I am confident, you have a huge readers’ base already!

  32. I’ll right away seize your rss as I can not find your e-mail subscription hyperlink or newsletter service. Do you’ve any? Please permit me know in order that I may just subscribe. Thanks.

  33. Good write-up, I am regular visitor of one¦s site, maintain up the excellent operate, and It is going to be a regular visitor for a long time.

  34. You have brought up a very great details, thanks for the post.

  35. Great post. I used to be checking constantly this weblog and I’m inspired! Very helpful information specially the remaining part 🙂 I take care of such info much. I was looking for this certain information for a very lengthy time. Thanks and best of luck.

  36. I’ve been exploring for a bit for any high-quality articles or blog posts on this kind of area . Exploring in Yahoo I at last stumbled upon this site. Reading this information So i’m happy to convey that I’ve an incredibly good uncanny feeling I discovered exactly what I needed. I most certainly will make certain to don’t forget this website and give it a glance regularly.

  37. I just could not depart your website before suggesting that I extremely enjoyed the standard information a person provide for your visitors? Is gonna be back often in order to check up on new posts

  38. Hello there I am so thrilled I found your web site, I really found you by mistake, while I was looking on Aol for something else, Anyways I am here now and would just like to say thank you for a tremendous post and a all round entertaining blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to go through it all at the minute but I have bookmarked it and also added in your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read much more, Please do keep up the excellent job.

  39. I have not checked in here for a while as I thought it was getting boring, but the last several posts are good quality so I guess I’ll add you back to my everyday bloglist. You deserve it my friend 🙂

  40. Everything is very open and very clear explanation of issues. was truly information. Your website is very useful. Thanks for sharing.

  41. A powerful share, I simply given this onto a colleague who was doing slightly evaluation on this. And he in reality bought me breakfast because I discovered it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the treat! But yeah Thnkx for spending the time to discuss this, I really feel strongly about it and love studying extra on this topic. If doable, as you change into expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more details? It’s extremely useful for me. Massive thumb up for this blog post!

  42. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that I’ve truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again very soon!

  43. Hello There. I found your blog the use of msn. This is a really well written article. I will make sure to bookmark it and return to read extra of your useful information. Thank you for the post. I will certainly return.

  44. Great awesome issues here. I?¦m very happy to peer your post. Thank you so much and i’m having a look ahead to contact you. Will you kindly drop me a mail?

  45. Some really fantastic articles on this web site, appreciate it for contribution. “For today and its blessings, I owe the world an attitude of gratitude.” by Clarence E. Hodges.

  46. I will immediately grab your rss feed as I can not find your e-mail subscription link or newsletter service. Do you’ve any? Please let me know so that I could subscribe. Thanks.

  47. It¦s truly a nice and useful piece of info. I¦m happy that you simply shared this helpful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  48. Great site! I am loving it!! Will be back later to read some more. I am taking your feeds also.

  49. Hi there! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any problems with hackers? My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing months of hard work due to no data backup. Do you have any methods to stop hackers?

  50. I needed to post you one very little note to give many thanks the moment again with the marvelous methods you have shared in this article. This is pretty open-handed of people like you to offer unhampered all that many individuals would’ve marketed for an e book in making some money for themselves, precisely since you could possibly have done it if you ever desired. These things also served to be the easy way to comprehend someone else have the identical keenness the same as mine to realize good deal more with reference to this issue. I know there are some more pleasant periods ahead for many who scan through your blog.

  51. I like this post, enjoyed this one regards for putting up.

  52. There may be noticeably a bundle to learn about this. I assume you made certain good factors in features also.

  53. I will immediately seize your rss feed as I can not in finding your email subscription hyperlink or newsletter service. Do you have any? Please let me recognise so that I may just subscribe. Thanks.

  54. Hello my friend! I want to say that this post is amazing, nice written and include almost all vital infos. I’d like to see more posts like this.

  55. I¦ll right away seize your rss as I can’t find your email subscription hyperlink or newsletter service. Do you’ve any? Please let me realize in order that I may just subscribe. Thanks.

  56. Great V I should definitely pronounce, impressed with your website. I had no trouble navigating through all the tabs as well as related info ended up being truly easy to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it in the least. Quite unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or anything, website theme . a tones way for your client to communicate. Nice task..

  57. I believe this site has got some real superb information for everyone. “Loving someone is easy but losing someone is hard.” by Shelby Harthcock.

  58. Hello. impressive job. I did not expect this. This is a splendid story. Thanks!

  59. As a Newbie, I am permanently exploring online for articles that can be of assistance to me. Thank you

  60. Well I truly enjoyed reading it. This tip provided by you is very useful for good planning.

  61. Hey There. I found your weblog the usage of msn. This is a very neatly written article. I’ll make sure to bookmark it and come back to learn more of your helpful information. Thank you for the post. I’ll certainly comeback.

  62. Thanks for sharing superb informations. Your web-site is so cool. I am impressed by the details that you’ve on this website. It reveals how nicely you perceive this subject. Bookmarked this website page, will come back for extra articles. You, my pal, ROCK! I found just the info I already searched everywhere and simply could not come across. What an ideal website.

  63. you might have a great blog right here! would you like to make some invite posts on my weblog?

  64. F*ckin’ remarkable issues here. I’m very glad to peer your post. Thanks a lot and i am taking a look forward to contact you. Will you please drop me a e-mail?

  65. Thanks on your marvelous posting! I actually enjoyed reading it, you’re a great author.I will make sure to bookmark your blog and will come back sometime soon. I want to encourage you to ultimately continue your great posts, have a nice day!

  66. I really appreciate this post. I have been looking all over for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You have made my day! Thanks again!

  67. Hello! This is kind of off topic but I need some advice from an established blog. Is it hard to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty quick. I’m thinking about setting up my own but I’m not sure where to begin. Do you have any points or suggestions? Appreciate it

  68. Saved as a favorite, I really like your blog!

  69. I’ve been browsing online more than 3 hours today, but I never found any attention-grabbing article like yours. It is pretty value enough for me. Personally, if all web owners and bloggers made just right content as you did, the internet can be much more helpful than ever before.

  70. I’m impressed, I need to say. Really not often do I encounter a weblog that’s each educative and entertaining, and let me inform you, you’ve gotten hit the nail on the head. Your thought is excellent; the problem is something that not enough people are talking intelligently about. I am very completely satisfied that I stumbled across this in my seek for one thing regarding this.

  71. Hello, i think that i saw you visited my weblog so i came to “return the favor”.I’m trying to find things to improve my site!I suppose its ok to use a few of your ideas!!

  72. F*ckin¦ awesome issues here. I¦m very glad to look your post. Thanks so much and i’m having a look ahead to touch you. Will you kindly drop me a e-mail?

  73. Hello There. I found your weblog using msn. That is a really neatly written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your helpful information. Thanks for the post. I will definitely comeback.

  74. I?¦m not certain where you are getting your info, however great topic. I needs to spend some time finding out more or working out more. Thanks for wonderful info I was searching for this info for my mission.

  75. Good day very nice website!! Man .. Beautiful .. Amazing .. I’ll bookmark your site and take the feeds also…I am satisfied to seek out numerous useful information here in the post, we’d like develop more strategies in this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .

  76. It?¦s in point of fact a great and helpful piece of info. I am happy that you simply shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  77. Thank you for another informative blog. Where else could I get that kind of information written in such an ideal manner? I’ve a mission that I am just now operating on, and I have been at the glance out for such information.

Speak Your Mind