March 6, 2013
Saul Kaplan calls himself an “innovation junkie”: he’s always looking for ways to do things better. Many entrepreneurs could call themselves innovation junkies, too.
But Kaplan thinks we’re looking for innovation in the wrong places. Innovation is not about the latest gadget or technology, but the way we use it. It won’t be the work of a single genius, but a collaborative effort that transforms the way we interact and get things done.
Kaplan is working on that collaborative effort with the nonprofit Business Innovation Factory. It’s hard to explain what the Business Innovation Factory actually is, but the best way to understand it is an R&D lab for new business models and systems. The big vision? To be the catalyst for major changes in education, health care, energy, and entrepreneurship.
Day to day, the Business Innovation Factory has employees gathering information, designing solutions, and testing and prototyping them with the help of private companies and public organizations.
For example, they worked with the Children’s Medical Center in Dallas to learn more about how children stay healthy and to ultimately figure out the best ways to deliver medical care. They’re researching how employees become entrepreneurial within large organizations, and how they can keep the workforce more engaged. And they created a lab where teachers collaborate on the best technologies and strategies. The Business Innovation Factory also runs an annual summit, similar to TED, where innovators share their ideas.
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