Innovation. It’s a broad topic that encapsulates technology, entrepreneurship and bravery. It’s easy to say you exude an innovative mind, but what about execution? For many people, execution of an innovative project is exactly where an idea stops.
Technology is used two-fold in innovation. Machines, software and digital advancements are used to create projects, make models and produce a product to be sold. It’s also used as a motivator, an idea creator and a communication tool for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Columbia is a hub for entrepreneur and startup businesses, but according to Sean Siebert of Invent Yourself LLC, collaboration is key for acceleration and execution of these businesses. Siebert, a presenter at 1 Million Cups Columbia, shared his plan for The Innovation REDI Project.
The project is an innovation model that encompasses the #BOOM Event, #BOOM Pitch Competition and #BOOM Innovation Pitch Competition. The projected funding goal of $1.2 million creates a vehicle for high school and college students to create a project and present it to the world with hopes of creating a launching pad for their business model.
The program that helped him spread the word about his innovation project to key entrepreneurs and supporters in Columbia was 1 Million Cups. The nationwide movement to connect innovators began in Kansas City. Each Wednesday from 9 to 10 a.m., in cities around the United States, supportive community members meet to listen as two entrepreneurs present their businesses models and audience members share insight.
The live interaction used by 1 Million Cups is a way to personally connect innovators. The Columbia sector of 1 Million Cups meets at the REDI offices on Walnut, and though the live presentations are slowly growing, their online presence is even greater.
“Sometimes it’s hard to get away from work,” says co-organizer Matt Fischer. “We get a lot of people that watch online.”
Twitter is heavily used as a medium to interact and offer feedback to entrepreneurs and connect those people interested in the meetings but unable to get away from their desks. Twitter users are encouraged to tweet using #COMO1MC .
Facebook and electronic newsletters are other mediums in which the Columbia community can consistently stay connected with 1 Million Cups and create relationships with entrepreneurs. As Siebert says, it’s a mindset, not a profession.