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Community Lab is a platform for open innovation

Andrew Barrie

“If you look at history, innovation doesn’t come just from giving people incentives; it comes from creating environments where their ideas can connect“ – Steven Johnson (born 1968), “Where Ideas Come From”

In our earlier blog post, we looked at the conditions for innovation.

Here we’ll be outlining the steps we are taking to contribute to these foundations. We see there as being 3 elements to our approach over the next few months:

  • A Pilot programme featuring participants who are drawn from a range of sectors across Scotland. We’re bringing them together to create a collaborative microcosm around innovation and creativity.
  • Bring together updates to our digital platform to facilitate our vision.
  • Start a debate on how we encourage open innovation more broadly – in our cities, communities, economy, society, companies, start-ups and places of learning.

Our Pilot Programme

We are bringing together individuals from a diverse range of backgrounds with the purpose of:

  • Creating a diversified collaborative microcosm focused on ideas, challenges and opportunities
  • Encouraging a grassroots self-organising approach
  • Facilitating discovery (of ideas, problems, people, movements)
  • Developing threads and clusters that effectively harness collective thinking and action to some purpose (e.g. a community, movement, peer group)
  • Through data, support participants become better at ideas and solutions (social fabric, cluster activity, communication etc)
  • Understanding how we can embed innovation more deeply

Technology Platform

Underpinning the Pilot, we are creating a digital platform. The pandemic has forced us to connect differently. Physical meetups, events, networks have been replaced by Zoom, Teams and Slack, for example.

As individuals we turn to apps such as WhatsApp to organise ourselves in synchronous groups for work, family and play. These are loose, dynamic, easy experiences where we are comfortable belonging to many groups. Trust is generally high, but these tools don’t facilitate discovery.

The challenge we are addressing is how to configure technology for the challenge of innovation.

Over the past few years we have tested several digital constructs and now have a library of building blocks (groups, communications, search, chat etc) that will be brought together for this purpose.


Community Lab is an innovation and collaboration platform for positive impact. We’re hard at work and will be launching in early 2021. Sign up below to get notified!

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