At eXtension, we define innovation as creativity applied to produce positive impact. The purpose of the Innovation Lab and its projects, teams and futuring research is to help Cooperative Extension professionals make visible and measurable impacts by identifying, incubating, lifting up and fostering innovation to accelerate the adoption of innovation.
The goal of the Lab is to provide safe, structured venues for “experimenters” to create and test new ideas. The lab provides a structure for them to share and to identify intersections among their efforts and ideas that suggest further opportunities. In short, the Lab operates as a dynamic liquid network that facilitates both focus and agility for participating experimenters.
Whether an individual or team project, an institutional Innovation Team, the Ed Tech Learning Network, or a special research project like the Horizon Report for Cooperative Extension, each initiative operates with a contract that specifies structure, timelines, goals, outputs, and intended impact. Then it mentors the participants in defining the research, prototypes development, adoption plans and other steps of the innovation process. Outputs might include presentations, demonstrations, reports, published papers, webinars, blog posts and other communications key to sharing ideas and advancing adoption. Progressive funding can be available for advancing projects through the innovation-to-adoption process.
The Innovation Lab works with many of the eXtension fellows and is responsible for the innovation grant projects. The work of all initiatives is unified by experimenters’ solid awareness of the following performance plan model and using it to actualize and advance innovation.
Innovation Lab Performance Plan Model