Innovating from the Inside Out
You hear a lot from us about new projects and ventures funded and supported by Federation Innovation. As all of that exciting work continues, we thought this was a great time to share the equally important story of how Federation is fostering an innovation culture from the inside out.
We’re challenging ourselves to think and act differently, and sometimes that means intentionally forgetting what we think we know. Instead of always problem-solving, we’re learning that when we stop looking for solutions and open our minds up to the sky, we can tap into truths that are unexpected and powerful. This is a process and a journey. We’re not there yet, but we’re committed to change. Read on and see some examples of how we try to cultivate an innovation mindset every day!
Meditation & Brainbursts – We’ve been channeling our learnings from Priya Parker, author of The Art of Gathering, and beginning some of our meetings with meditation, drawing and music to center the mind and pave the way for freer thought and discussion. We’re having fun with a technique called “brainbursts” where we rapidly list or verbally toss out top-of-mind ideas. This unfiltered thinking helps turns off self-censoring and frees us to be more playful and open to divergent thinking and making sure we are truly solving for the right problems.
New Spaces – We continue to hold meetings at our 1440 Spring Street headquarters, and also at our co-working spaces — elementATL and Chabad on the BeltLine, and ROAM in Dunwoody and other nontraditional spaces where it’s easy for people to gather. At a recent innovation ideation session, we brought 10 people together who are innovating inside and outside the Jewish community. Leaders like Phil Ventimiglia, Chief Innovation Officer at Georgia State University, and Alan Pinstein, serial entrepreneur of SaaS software, joined with some of our mentors and grantees to unpack the common pain points that keep us from moving ahead.
A Learning Culture – We believe that a culture of innovation embraces continual learning. Skilling up the professionals in our ecosystem is a priority, internally and externally. At Federation all of us have individual development goals that include a range of formal classes, certifications and mentoring opportunities. Our ecosystem is excited to send 18-20 Atlanta Jewish professionals to Detroit in August for the national conference called JPRO Network conference. They’ll connect with their counterparts in the Jewish community to reimagine what thriving Jewish institutions will look like, who will lead them, and how their impact can reshape the 21st century. At the conference, Federation Innovation, in partnership with our grantees, will be participating in Steal This, a pitch competition.
Embracing Failure – As intrapreneurs on an innovators journey, we are learning to get comfortable with failure and to actually embrace what it can teach us. Failure is inevitable. The concept of failing forward, learning from mistakes and pivoting when it serves the greater good, is real to us. The Jewish Abilities Alliance and JumpSpark have both launched microgrant opportunities that give people the opportunity to try something new…some will succeed, some may fail, but all respond to community needs in an agile way.
New Values – We have prioritized three core values that drive Federation — Excellence, Empathy and Fearlessness. Cultivating an innovation mindset, we know that our projects for social good and community change need to embrace all three. Maintaining an abundance mindset and being champions for collaboration are some of the ways we do it.