It happens here: Consumer-centric Innovation in Charlotte and beyond

If innovation were steak…(Part 3) by Frank Blair
November 9, 2009, 1:19 pm
Filed under: Charlotte, community services, innovation | Tags: , ,

If innovation were steak… (Part 3) – by Frank Blair

If innovation were a steak you were ordering at Longhorn’s or Morton’s, how would you place your order?  Just like steak, innovation can be well-done, medium or rare.


A rare steak is warm all the way through, but still bright red in the middle.  This is innovation for those who want to try what hasn’t been tried before – the original idea that really has no precedent.  This grade of innovation is truly rare, and does involve risk in the sense that things may not turn out as expected.  Course corrections will have to be made to the project plan along the way in order to account for unforeseen consequences.  You will likely have to create the design or workflow specifications yourself, because the idea has arisen of its own accord, and there are no models elsewhere.

Benjamin Franklin had a knack for this sort of innovation – he invented the concept of a lending library open to the public.  In his time, only the wealthy had any sort of access to large numbers books.  Benjamin Franklin recognized that for a community to be truly creative, everyone had to have access to the resources needed to create new ideas.  In his time, that meant books.

Flash-forward more than two centuries.  Now the resources needed to create new ideas aren’t just books anymore…it’s music, and it’s animation; it’s video and it’s the computer; it’s the Internet and it’s digital books..  All of these serve the same purpose as the quill pen and the printed book did in Benjamin Franklin’s day.  And the library is still the place to go when you want to create new ideas.


flickr photo credit: gregor bug

At Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, we recognize this by providing space and resources for people to create, not just consume, content.  Whether it is the Studio I animation studio, the “little playwright” desk at the Spangler Library in  ImaginOn, or the upcoming Job Help Center at Main Library, we provide access to the resources needed by teens, children and adults to innovate.

How do you like your steak?

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