Where to Get Inspiration on Innovation

By Rob White

I have been asked several times recently where I get inspiration for my ideas and concepts on innovation. Though I would like to tell you my ideas are all original, I confess that I am a big believer in modelling best practices and replicating successful frameworks.

It should be noted that innovation does not occur in just technology or scientific research. Innovation is a mindset that allows for new, creative concepts and solutions. It is often born from re-working existing ideas or objects, and then reimagining them into something new. And it can be applied in arts, culture, work, management, leadership, economics and community interactions, as well as technology and science.

We often hear this expressed as social, public, scientific and technological innovation. Which I think tracks well with the discussion of social, environmental and economic sustainability.

I am hopeful that as more Davisites become better versed in innovation, entrepreneurship, startup culture and collaborative networks that our local ecosystem starts to take on the best characteristics of places often visit and marvel at their successes.

Places like Boulder, CO which has an academic core that has inspired community values of sustainability and innovation. Or Mission Bay of San Francisco and La Jolla/Torrey Pines Mesa of San Diego. And even Wageningen, Germany, which is often seen as the competition for the title of home to the world’s #1 agricultural university.

So let me share with you the list of resources that I try to review on a regular basis to see if any of these may be inspirational for you. Admittedly, I can’t read all of these all of the time, but even a glossary review can be inspirational.

Resources on Public Administration

Governing Magazine (monthly print magazine and online articles) – www.governing.com

Brookings Institute Briefs (email newsletter) – http://connect.brookings.edu

Public CEO (online newsletter for CA local government news) – www.publicceo.com

ICMA SmartBriefs (online newsletter from the International City/County Management Association) – www2.smartbrief.com/

EfficientGov Newsletter – http://efficientgov.com

City Lab (online resource from the Atlantic magazine) – www.citylab.com

Resources on Business, Economic and Community Development

FutureStructures Newsletter (resource on new community and economic development concepts by Governing Magazine) – Latest issue: http://www.governing.com/papers/In-Motion-How-Intelligence-is-Driving-the-Changing-Nature-of-Cities.html

The Atlantic magazine – www.theatlantic.com

Forbes magazine – www.forbes.com

The Economist – www.economist.com

EDlert (CALED online newsletter) – Most recent issue: http://www.mailermailer.com/x?function=view&c=169375066g-d0077167%2a1097394z-9260d051

Urban Land Institute – www.uli.org

Thomas Friedman (author and New York Times Columnist) – www.thomaslfriedman.com

Richard Florida (author and founder of the Creative Class Group) – www.creativeclass.com

Resources on technology and entrepreneurship

Government Technology (online) – www.govtech.com

Fast Company Magazine – www.fastcompany.com

Innovation Daily – http://innovationamerica.us/index.php/innovation-daily

TechFlash (An online resource from the Business Journals across the US) – www.bizjournals.com/

Techwire – www.techwire.net

BayBio Online newsletter – www.baybio.org

Digital Communities (online newsletter focused on technology in government, published by Govtech.com) – www.govtech.com

Xconomy Online Magazine – www.xconomy.com

Ideas Lab (online innovation resource from GE and Atlantic Cities Magazine) – www.ideaslaboratory.com

TED (international inspirational talk series) – www.ted.com

Of course, there are many other resources online and in print that might be helpful in becoming inspired. Please feel free to share your own sources of inspiration and make recommendations that may help our community grow in our collective search for best practices and model frameworks.

Thanks for considering my thoughts and I hope you will take some time to explore at least a few of the resources. My email is rwhite@cityofdavis.org if you choose to email me directly or you can follow me on Twitter @mrobertwhite.

About The Author

Rob White is the Chief Innovation Officer for the City of Davis and was selected as a 2012 White House Champion of Change for Local Innovation. He serves as an ex-officio Board Member for techDAVIS (a local tech entrepreneur industry group), as an executive Board Member for the Innovate North State iHub, and as a Board Member for Hacker Lab and the California Network for Manufacturing Innovation. He is a candidate for the Doctorate in Policy, Planning and Development from the University of Southern California and has a Masters from USC in Planning and Development and a Bachelors of Science in Geology from Chico State.

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