The Innovation Council acts a volunteer Advisory Board throughout this process. All participants need to recognize that this is sustained commitment for at least 1-2 years. The following committee structure is recommended to maximize efficiency and coordination.
Two co-chairs should be selected to provide leadership to the innovation council.
The ideal co-chair is:
- Well-respected in the community,
- Familiar with the local innovation economy and its important contributors,
- Committed to inclusive innovation, and
- Able to warrant the respect of innovation council members and key community stakeholders.
- Differ in demographic and/or sectoral representation,
- Leverage their influence, networks, and resources to attract robust innovation council membership
- Articulate the case for inclusive innovation both internally to the innovation council and externally to other community stakeholders; and
- Work collaboratively with the project manager, team development coach, and strategic planning facilitator to plan and lead monthly innovation council and executive committee meetings.
Time commitment will vary:
- 8-1o hours per month
Comprised of six community leaders that include two co-chairs and chairs of each of the respective committees (i.e. strategic planning, policy, data, and marketing/communications), the executive committee serves as the leadership team for the innovation council.
The ideal executive committee member is:
- Well-respected in the community,
- Familiar with the local innovation economy and its important contributors, and/or the challenges and opportunities of under-connected innovators and entrepreneurs,
- Committed to inclusive innovation.
Executive committee members should:
- Be representative of the diversity of the community,
- Articulate the case for inclusive innovation both internally to the innovation council and externally to other community stakeholders,
- Commit to leading ad-hoc committees (see below) to help move forward particular aspects of the work including data collection, policy-making, strategic planning, marketing and communications, and more, and
- Work collaboratively with the project manager, team development coach, and strategic planning facilitator to help make the initiative a meaningful investment of time, energy, and resources for all innovation council members involved.
Time commitment will vary:
- 6-8 hours per month (average)
The data committee will be responsible for supporting the systems mapping work including three key data collection activities. The first two activities involve the coordination of data collection efforts using tools developed by Forward Cities/InnovateNC to assess the assets in, and perceptions of, the inclusive innovation ecosystem. The third task involves identifying measures to track progress on the strategic plan. The data committee should work with a data partner to guide them through these activities.
- Identify process and timeline for completing the Asset Map,
- Present Asset Map to innovation council for feedback,
- Manage the Asset Map scoring among innovation council members,
- Compile results and present findings to the innovation council, and
- Work with the marketing/communications committee (see below) to communicate findings to the community’s broader innovation community.
This activity should occur as soon as possible after the innovation council is formed and significant efforts to build trust among the team has been established. It will require a significant amount of effort by the data committee and data partner, with active engagement by the innovation committee. Once the initial Asset Map has been completed, it will need to be updated periodically (annually or less often).
- Identify process and timeline for compiling survey contact list. Suggestions for compiling a robust contact list can be found under Developing Representative Survey Lists.
- Work with marketing/communications committee and innovation council on outreach and engagement strategies to encourage survey participation,
- Collect baseline data and present initial results to the innovation council,
- Repeat the survey at the project “mid-point” and/or completion of the project, and present results to innovation council, and
- Work with marketing/communications committee to communicate findings to the community’s broader innovation community.
NOTE: The time commitment to prepare for the initial survey implementation will be greater than for follow-up surveys.
3. Key Metrics
The data committee will help with local data partners to identify critical data indicators that reflect the current level of inclusive innovation activity and output in the community (such as current level of entrepreneurial and small business activity across different demographics, employment rates in the innovation economy, etc.). This will ideally be informed by a city’s Inclusive Innovation Index with support from Forward Cities. The data committee will work collaboratively with the Strategic Planning Committee and the Innovation Council to target specific metrics that are aligned with the community’s strategic priorities and measure the progress of inclusive innovation over time. This activity will likely occur during the strategic planning process, with future data collection to measure progress on strategic plan implementation.
Strategic Planning Committee
The strategic planning committee will facilitate a strategic planning process in their community, drawing on the asset map and survey data and using guiding questions and the strategic plan template developed by Forward Cities and InnovateNC. They will also research and propose a new or existing backbone anchor institutions that can be held accountable for the coordination and implementation of the strategic plan.
The committee will meet several times during the strategic planning process with collaborative input from the other committees and innovation council. They will work with marketing/communications committee to communicate the final strategic plan to the community’s broader innovation community.
Strategic planning activities will begin after the completion of the Community Innovation Asset Map and the first Community Innovation Perception Survey so that the results can inform the strategic planning process.
The policy committee will work collaboratively with the data committee to research and complete the policy/advocacy measures of the Asset Map and propose policy/advocacy strategies to the strategic planning committee for inclusion in the strategic plan. They will serve as liaisons to local policy leaders on the innovation council’s efforts.
The policy committee is encouraged to work with policy students from local colleges and universities on projects related to innovation. Some possible student projects include—but are not limited to: literature reviews, policy inventories, policy and economic analyses, and case studies/best practices. Members of the Policy Committee should also draw actively on the Municipal Policy Toolkit.
The marketing/communications committee will focus on three key activities:
1. Develop Internal Innovation Council Marketing Materials
- Effectively communicate the purpose of the innovation council to recruit robust innovation council membership.
2. Develop External Innovation Council Marketing Materials
- Effectively communicate ongoing innovation council efforts to an external audience. This includes collaboration with other committees to effectively communicate committee output (e.g., data results).
3. Develop Communications Plan to Highlight Inclusive Innovation
Partner with a variety of new and traditional media outlets to showcase “character-driven” innovator stories and highlight the enabling innovation ecosystem.
The first activity will generally begin at the outset of the program, even as co-chairs and executive committee members are recruited. The second activity will continue throughout the life of the project. While some planning for the third activity can occur prior to the completion of the strategic plan, most of the work will occur after the strategic plan is complete and the community is clear about the direction of the community’s innovation focus.