The biggest challenge that faces anyone who is required to “innovate” is securing sufficient time to have the headspace to actually develop what might be a wandering thought into something tangible. Decorating the bathroom at home over the last few days has certainly afforded me that luxury. In the last 4 days, in my head, I’ve deliberated over the greatest questions of humanity, debated my position on a number of political issues, decided once and for all that there is no science to sport (particularly where my beloved Barnsley FC are concerned) and have managed to apply an even(ish) covering of Mineral mist and Soothing white paint.
In the hours that my imagination ran away with me though one thing struck me. Everything I was developing in my head meant nothing without challenge. The ideas I had were untidy and isolated and without somebody there to say “No that’s ridiculous”, “That’s not a bad suggestion, but how about this” or “You’re applying way too much gloss. It might not look like it now but it’ll definitely run” they wouldn’t have a chance to develop into a solution. In order to crack Open innovation, one thing that I am learning is that every idea, thought, concept needs an appropriate level of challenge to allow its development into something bigger that will make a difference. Indeed, not just challenge, but community of challenge. The answers to problems are very rarely clear-cut options one way or another. Normally there are a variety options and potential outcomes and you need a rich mixture of views and people to bounce ideas off, to pick up threads and forge them further and develop the options. I’m really pleased with the response to the Hidden Gems challenge so far in terms of both diversity of ideas and development of threads.
I think we have a really solid proposition in terms of an online system (mesh – thanks Anthony) that will be a major sharing place for asset based information and will allow tailored access of that information for a variety of different sectors and markets. This concept is very exciting and will require work to move to the next level. The innovation team is getting together at the end of this week to start to plan moving from discussion to the development of ideas.
Clementhorpe Maltings has proved a little more complex due to the challenges that are come with that particular property. The ideas around this have developed superbly over the last week or so (including keeping the historic tradition of the building), but the original barriers of a building that requires significant work to bring it into an operable condition still remain. As promised, I further investigated the potential costs of that and still have some conversations imminent, and on the face of it they seem prohibitive. However, it is my intention to investigate the potential of a group or groups taking on the property and what supplementary investment may be required.
There have been several requests to review other available parcels of land and properties and I am working with property services to see if we can draw any other opportunities out, but other options are likely to be less clear cut than the Clementhorpe Maltings. Work is ongoing, so watch this space.
In my next blog I’ll talk more about the process going forward and how concepts will be developed.
Thanks again to the community we are now building and I hope the paint looks as good once it’s dried as it does now…
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