Monday, January 31, 2011

The Innovation Hub for Associations

I've been blogging about my work with the Innovation Task Force of the Wisconsin Society of Association Executives for a while now. Through these posts Hourglass readers got a sneak peek at the Innovation for Associations white paper we authored (here, here and here) and the assessment tool we developed for association executives to use in determining the innovation readiness of their associations (here, here and here).

Now, I'm happy to let you in on our latest adventure--the soft launch of our new online community for association professionals interested in helping us build an evidence-based model of innovation for the association community.

It's called the Innovation Hub for Associations, and can be accessed here.

We field tested it at the task force's January 28 meeting. There's still some features were planning to add to it, but the nucleus is there and working. I hope you'll take some time to visit it, create a profile, and help us build it into something that serves your needs and those of our broader community.

The core of the site can be found under the "Innovation Model" tab. There you'll find a series of discussion spaces where successful innovation practices and tools can be offered and explored by the participants. Like our readiness tool, these discussion spaces are organized into three key tracks:

a. Creating a culture of innovation in your association.
b. Designing a process by which innovation will occur in your association.
c. Providing the necessary resources (time, talent and money) for your innovation process to function effectively.

If you've got any information to share on any of those topics, please consider adding it to the Hub. Even if all you have are challenges, please share them. Part of what we'd like to do is learn about the key strategic and tactical challenges associated with bringing innovation to your association and the hundreds of other associations in our community. By aggregating this information together, we'll be better positioned to develop successful strategies for overcoming them.

This is very much a volunteer effort, so let me thank everyone on the task force and in our wider community who have shown such enthusiasm for the project and who have helped make it happen. Seeing the innovative spirit you've all poured into this makes me think solving the next round of problems will be easy.


Allen Liff said...

Eric and Jamie:

Thanks for starting this conversation. I have a different take on the types of questions one should ask to determine their "innovation readiness."

The first question question I would ask is, "Can I handle a new idea?" I've put a post on this at:


Eric Lanke said...

Thanks for commenting, Allen. I would agree that "Can I handle a new idea?" is an important question to ask, and one that could be used to test whether or not your leadership is committed to a culture of innovation. Assessing your leadership's support for innovation is one of the strategy areas we're looking for practices and tools to help association execs with in our Hub of Innovation for Associations. If you have some practical strategies to share in this regard, please visit Thanks.

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