Bootstrapping Brilliance™

Christina Engelbart, Co-Founder / Director; Bootstrapping Brilliance instigator and coach
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Meet Alan at the New Media Consortium (NMC)
Hear their story of Bootstrapping Innovation the Doug Engelbart Way
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Start by mapping your team or organization

"Bootstrapping Innovation provides a structure for empowering people to solve complex problems together — leveraging the untapped potential of people, knowledge, and tools — to help us make smarter choices, achieve more brilliant outcomes, and increase innovation capacity and overall effectiveness."
Ronni Marshak, Senior Consultant/Analyst, Patricia Seybold Group [Source 2010]

"A five-point strategy for yielding more brilliant outcomes in your project, team or organization, leading to more brilliant businesses, communities, and societies, and a brilliant world."

Overview 1

Bootstrapping Brilliance™ is a practical strategy for increasing the capacity for innovation and continuous transformation in groups, organizations, networks and societies, while increasing their Collective IQ. Also known as Bootstrapping Innovation™, this strategy is designed to help the organization jump the curve more rapidly from the current path of doing business and transforming itself, to a future more brilliant accelerative path. For Lean Startup and Design Thinking practitioners, this strategy dovetails beautifully for added leverage and acceleration.

Five organizing principles offer strategic insight, alignment, and leverage to increasingly accelerate and enhance innovation, and systemic transformation, at scale:

  1. Network Your Innovators
    Look beyond your basic core team to network other key stakeholders who should be part of the solution; what diverse mix of expertise, backgrounds, insight, personalities, gender (yes, a proven success factor) will add the most value to your mission? Connect like-minded innovation teams and initiatives into networked improvement communities to increase capacity for innovation and transformation.

  2. Leverage your Collective Smarts
    There is no known limit to how smart a group can be given the right mix of people, process, and tools. The better the mix, the higher the Collective IQ. Think of this mix as a dynamic knowledge ecosystem (DKE) enhancing your group smarts, requiring throughful cultivation.

  3. Target Whole Capability
    When it comes to group goals – whether innovating products and services, finding a cure, advancing knowledge, or beefing up internal procedures – start by translating needs and desired outcomes into a capability to be improved. Question: what makes us/them capable? Answer: a whole infrastructure of capabilities, including technical/physical as well as very human elements like attitudes, perceptions, and know-how. Use a whole-systems approach to delineate these elements and identify high-leverage candidates for innovation.

  4. Accelerate Results through Co-Evolution
    Continue this whole-systems approach through the design, build, and fielding process. Start small with a minimum viable prototype (MVP), integrating technical and human elements, and iterate often through user-centered rapid prototyping, pilot experiments and expeditions. Think in terms of accelerating the co-evolution of human and tool capability elements in the MVP, which serves to minimize costly pivots and preventable failures, while streamlining deployment and improving your chances of real breakthrough outcomes.

  5. Walk Your Talk to Bootstrap Results
    When the innovations you are implementing for your end users can also be fielded within your team or network to better leverage its collective smarts, then walking your talk, aka eating your own dogfood, offers a powerful built-in multiplier effect of yielding increasingly brilliant outcomes.

For a summary overview, see our Bootstrapping Brilliance Highlights.

Bootstrapping Brilliance is a distillation of Doug Engelbart's proven strategic vision put to practice. It is essentially the same strategic approach he applied in his own research team for a powerful multiplier effect with continuous breakthrough results, which he lectured and wrote about extensively, and taught in his management seminars (see his using his Bootstrap "Paradigm Map" for basics).

"While Demming provided the improvement approach for the industrial age, Doug provided the innovation approach for the knowledge age."
Curt Carlson, Founder & CEO, Practice of Innovation, and
author of Innovation: The Five Disciplines [source]

Resources 2

   The Basics

You can apply these tools alone, or as an extension to your Lean Startup practice (or equivalent). Lean Startup lays a great foundation for Bootstrapping Brilliance, and offers a large, inclusive, experience-rich community with easy-to-use tools and loads of case examples. Here are links to the basics of both practices.

   Case Examples

   Learn from Doug Engelbart


Getting Started 3

    Your Bootstrapping Brilliance Toolkit

Further Inquiry 4

    For more background