Fostering Innovation



by Zach Johnson

I recently contributed to a Business Insider article on fostering innovation  and wanted to expand a bit on those ideas.

Our Goal at SPARK BUREAU is to support and foster creativity and focus on problem/solution fit in all aspects of our own business as well as in the services we provide our members.  Structuring our membership in a way that represents a microcosm of the business community, with local government, providers of financial, legal and accounting services, early-stage startups and established businesses all in one location encourages and enables opportunities for creative collisions and innovation.  The high quality of our fit-out and the rigour of our programs is intended to raise the bar on quality for our new and emerging startups on the Sunshine Coast. 

Variety of people and businesses in promoting innovation is exceptionally valuable.  Think back to Steve Jobs’ mission to marry technology with the liberal arts, or the multi-disciplinary teams at innovation companies like IDEO.  While the cross pollination won’t automagically improve innovation, the right people with the right motivation in the same place at the same time can only enhance creative problem/solution matching.

We think that physical space plays some role in promoting innovation.  However, interactions that are forced won’t work.  We look to create opportunities for interactions that people actively seek out where they have options for different spaces for collaboration and conversation—both inside and outside the office (e.g. a cafe or bar)—Our location on Ocean Street is perfect for that!

Programming and education are also key ingredients in fostering innovation and innovative thinking.  Our events calendar and training classes are designed intentionally to bring more people together who wouldn’t otherwise meet or interact.  We want to create multiple communities of practice around particular areas of expertise or interest who are keen to intermingle with other communities of practice.  Ultimately, this is necessary for economic transformation driven by innovation at the grass-roots level rather than top-down policies.