The Arizona Commerce Authority, MIT Enterprise Forum and the Arizona Scitech Festival put on the Arizona Innovation Summit earlier this month. It was well attended and had a wide range of innovators. Jeremy Babendure has done a fantastic job rallying the Arizona community around science and technology.
There was a mini trade show floor for organizations to share their work. Sessions of various varieties and a keynote from Logan LaPlante. Logan is 14 year old that has opened the world to the concept of Hackschooling. During lunch a number of organizers of SciTech events got together to discuss how to better work together. I believe Jeremy will be releasing something sooner than later that captured the results.
I sat with a group that had the topic of “Collaboration – Strengthening the AZ SciTech community. How do we create more opportunities for collaboration to connect with collaborators year-round?” Ideas collected:
Whether it be networking, cocktail hour or service events. It is apparent that there needs to be more presence with each other. Something that can be difficult with the disparate nature of Arizona’s infrastructure.
Database of Organizations
It is hard to collaborate with people that do not know what they want, but even more difficult to be found if you aren’t broadcasting it. There was mention that the AZ SciTech Festival already had started a site that contained a list of participating organizations and perhaps it just needed some more data.
Incentivize collaboration monetarily. Have a local organization similar to The Arizona We Want annually coordinate a prize for the organizations that have collaborated together for the greatest benefit to Arizona. Similar to the Lodestar Foundation‘s The Collaboration Prize.
Workshops / Mentor (Buddy) Program
Collaboration is a skill that needs to be developed. Some organizations are doing it well, some are struggling. Regional workshops to give organizations the basic skills required and pair them with mentors to help them down the path to collaboration. (Shout out to one of my mentors that introduced me to so many people [Francine Hardaway]).
Do Shit Together
The best way to build a skill is to use it. There is way too much talking about working together in this state. It might be fun to draw interested organizations out of hat at random and pair them together. The paired groups having six months to deliver something together. It could be a physical something, an event or who knows what…
Are any of these ideas new and stellar? No. Don’t throw them out blindly though. It is easy to say just go collaborate. It is much harder to do it in practice. Almost impossible to do it well consistently.
I am always open to new things and working with new people. Hit me up. Let’s collaborate on something to make Arizona better.