What is innovation?


Tony_WagnerAccording to education expert Tony Wagner, an innovator is a creative problem-solver. Therefore, the whole idea of innovation is that, as a nation, we become better able to solve problems creatively.

So the challenge we face is how to educate and prepare our children to become innovators?  How do we have to reinvent education for the 21st century?

Click on his photo to hear his thoughts on these provocative topics, as presented at (co)lab 2013.    And leave a post to share you own thoughts!

What was your 100-day plan after the (co)lab summit?

If you started an important new job, you’d be expected to have a 100-day plan, wouldn’t you?

Well, A little more than 100 days ago, more than 1,400 thought leaders traveled from far and near to meet in Atlanta for the inaugural (co)lab Collaborative Leadership Summit.  For two days, celebrated speakers informed and inspired participants, challenging them to engage in shaping the future of the Greater Atlanta Region… and beyond.

Were you among the participants?  If so, what was your 100-day plan?  What have you done to develop the connections you made at (co)lab… to harness the energy of that event, and apply it to one of the Lab topics, or other purposes… to engage in a project that is a catalyst for positive change in our community?

Renew your inspiration by reliving the fantastic keynote presentations by Tom Friedman and Sir Ken Robinson at (co)lab 2013.  Then plan your next 100-days.  And stay tuned for more presentations to be released in the coming weeks!


7 Awesome Moments at (co)lab summit

The first (co)lab summit might already be in the books, but we’re still re-living all of the incredible memories! Here are some of our favorite moments from (co)lab 2013. Thanks for making it amazing, Atlanta!

7.) Ron Clark from The Ron Clark Academy

Maybe it was his incredible energy and enthusiasm, but when Ron Clark, founder of The Ron Clark Academy, said at (co)lab summit that he “wants to build the most incredible school in the world”, we absolutely believe him. Speaking on the topic New Culture of Learning, Clark brought new life into what it means to be an educator in Atlanta.

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6.) Susan Booth and the Power of the Arts

Susan Booth was an undeniable crowd pleaser as she spoke about how the arts can help to attract and retain great talent. Simply put, Booth shared that going to plays makes for better people and better cities. Booth spoke on how the arts can help to develop empathy, compassion and active participation.

Through the arts, “we are able to lean in and listen and talk with the other – not just about the other”.

Check out Susan’s talk here: http://on.fb.me/19cIfhT

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5.) Mayor Kasim Reed Does Cool Stuff

One of our favorite quotes came from Mayor Kasim Reed talking about the leverage that he has when it comes to Atlanta.

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Mayor Kasim Reed

4.) Takenobu’s Lunchtime Performance

Takenobu, an incredible cellist currently living in Atlanta, performed live during Monday’s lunch at (co)lab.

Check out more from Takenobu here: http://listen.takenobumusic.com/


3.) Lab Presentations

Did someone mention moving the Grammy’s to Atlanta? We say yes! Check out all of the awesome Lab videos here:

LAB 1 – Attracting the Creative Class: http://bit.ly/15Fotkk

LAB 2 – Amplifying Arts and Cultural Assets: http://bit.ly/1eDDqo8

LAB 3 – Forging New Partnerships: http://bit.ly/1eZNGtE

LAB 4 – Solving with Technology: http://bit.ly/18aAGYq

LAB 5 – Raising High School Graduation: http://bit.ly/17NGVW6

LAB 6 – Engaging Future Leaders: http://bit.ly/17YTZWJ

2.) Thomas Friedman’s Keynote

All we can say is if you haven’t gotten a chance to check out Thomas Friedman’s keynote during (co)lab, you need to RIGHT NOW.

Thomas Friedman: http://bit.ly/1fHY2vU

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1.) YOU!

Thank you, Atlanta! Without your support, ideas, and knowledge, (co)lab summit could not have been possible. NOW is the time to get moving. NOW is the time to make a change.



Hands On Atlanta Responds to the (co)lab Call to Action with Plans to Connect More Atlanta Youth with Volunteer Opportunities

Wednesday, September 25 (Atlanta) — In response to the final recommendations and stirring pleas for action at the end of the energizing (co)lab Collaborative Leadership Summit on Monday night, Hands on Atlanta today is announcing plans for innovative new programs to connect more high school students with volunteer leadership opportunities than ever before.  New life stage and family initiatives in development as part of the organization’s current strategic planning process envision widespread recruitment and deployment of high school students, both at focused service projects and to help lead starter volunteer programs for parents with young children.

As part of the (co)lab Summit, six “labs” were created to encourage feedback and crowd sourcing of solutions from the greater community on specific topics.  Lab 6 on “Engaging Future Leaders” in particular called for expanding project-based learning opportunities around service, and also to better recognize student leadership on that front.  The final recommendation of Lab 5 on “Raising High School Graduation Rates” likewise called for schools to better promote civic engagement, another strength of Hands On Atlanta’s volunteer programs.

“We not only whole-heartedly agree with the recommendations on Labs 5 and 6, they align with our core mission as well as new program ideas that we have been working on for several months” commented Hands On Atlanta CEO Gina Simpson.  “We are eager to start putting these plans into motion as we wrap up our strategic planning process and head into our 25th Anniversary year in June”.

One of the main family initiatives in planning now focuses on programs aimed at young children and their parents, with a goal to ignite a passion for volunteerism at an early age.  Another set of programs would be aimed at high school and college students with a goal of creating lifelong community engagement.  Both are key tenets of the Hands on Atlanta mission, and may be paired with designations and awards that recognize fulfilling community service achievements.  Awards like these would directly address the final Lab 6 recommendation to “recognize and honor student leadership”, akin to how students currently are recognized for academic or athletic performance.

“As we orient the Hands On Atlanta mission and goals for the coming 25 years, we are excited and gratified that the (co)lab recommendations validate our conclusions and proposed courses of action” said Hands on Atlanta Board of Directors Chair Jay Bernath.  “We will stay focused on actionable solutions that help us all tackle Atlanta’s most pressing needs”.



Martin Fleischmann, Chief Marketing Officer at 404-423-5960
or Anne Wilson, Marketing at 404-245-2554

(co)lab DAY ONE a huge success!

WOW! Thank you all 1400+ who attended the first day of (co)lab — A Collaborative Leadership Summit.  We live-streamed the entire show today, and had a standing ovation within the first session! Double wow. We are thrilled to share with you some of the ideas talked about during the first three sessions of (co)lab. Here’s a sneak peak.

Check out these amazing graphics created by Julie Stuart at Making Ideas Visible.  She was the creative one off to the side taking notes for all of us. Below are the final images she created.

Also, tomorrow, she will be joined by two more artists, Jenny Trautman at Evenview, and Kristin Leydig Bryant of True Fruit.   Look out for them at (co)lab and look closer at the notes they’re taking in case you missed one of the sessions.

Click on these thumbnails to go to the full size image where you can zoom in and explore.

Attracting & retaining talent





Cultivating innovationTransforming educationhttp://www.makingideasvisible.com/

(co)lab LABS at Atlanta Streets Alive!

Yesterday, Sunday September 8th,  an estimated 50,000 people poured onto Peachtree Street, creating a 3.7 mile flow of “human powered amusement.”

People were out and about walking, jogging and biking, engaging in hundreds of activities along the route, from Zumba, to yoga to street hockey and more. We couldn’t help but share in the excitement of Atlanta Streets Alive, and launched the first public ideation session surrounding the six LAB challenges.

Below are the six LAB challenges. Watch the videos. Read the briefs. Join in the conversation on facebook. And add your ideas to IdeaString starting September 16th!

Labs are an opportunity for (co)lab participants and concerned citizens to engage in solving six core challenges facing the greater Atlanta region.

Starting September 16, you’ll be able to contribute your ideas and solutions to these challenges on IdeaString.



How might we design our communities to attract and retain the creative class?

In today’s fluid driven economy, people in fields like technology, design, architecture, marketing, arts and entertainment can help make a city more innovative and competitive. Some call these people the Creative Class. Others call them creators and innovators. We simply like to call them talented. And one of the biggest questions facing Atlanta’s future is how do we attract and retain more talented people?

Watch the video   |   Read the challenge summary    |   Join the conversation


How might we better celebrate and amplify our arts and cultural assets?

Imagine you fly into Miami, get in a cab, and the driver knows you’re there for Art Basel. Or you fly into New York, and the cabbie knows you’re in town to see the Guggenheim and a Broadway show. Atlanta has a rich, vibrant arts scene, but still, all we’re known for is traffic and heat. So how do we make the arts a bigger part of our identity? How can we as a city become known for arts and culture?

Watch the video   |   Read the challenge summary    |   Join the conversation


How might we foster partnerships among business, universities and governments to spark innovation and entrepreneurship?

The greater Atlanta region boasts one of the highest concentrations of universities, college and trade schools, as well as number of Fortune 500 companies headquartered within the region. How might the business community collaborate with top universities to spark innovation and entrepreneurship?

Watch the video   |   Read the challenge summary    |   Join the conversation


How might we make our cities and our region smarter, more efficient, more connected and more collaborative through technology?

Technology allows for cities to connect in ways never before imagined. How can we harness technology — from mobile apps to smart bus stations — to help connect citizens to each other and create far more connected and collaborative neighborhoods, cities and regions?

Watch the video   |   Read the challenge summary    |   Join the conversation


How might we raise Metro Atlanta’s current High School graduation rate to 90%?

There’s no question that Georgia’s education system is one of the worst in the country with a High School graduation rate of 50% to 68% depending on which data set you examine. How can we achieve a 90+% high school graduation rate throughout Greater Atlanta, and facilitate these graduates successfully advancing to post-secondary education/training. This is crucial to developing a sustained higher quality of life throughout Greater Atlanta.

Watch the video   |   Read the challenge summary    |   Join the conversation


How might communities rally around our students to help develop the next generation of leaders?

It takes a village to raise a child. And perhaps it takes a city to educate one.How might the community serve as “a third teacher” to improve education and democratic citizenship? And how can community involvement, business partnerships, and other change agents rally around our schools so that we will be known for and produce some of the most competitive, innovative students in the state and even the country?

Watch the video   |   Read the challenge summary    |   Join the conversation



Atlanta is Ready For Its Close-up

Check out another update from our friends at iris Worldwide as they continue on their quest to answer some of the challenges Atlanta is facing through our Labs.

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We’re still smiling, still basking in the glow from being selected to participate in co(lab), but now it’s time to roll up our sleeves. As mentioned in our last update, we are developing two videos that capture the following questions regarding the Greater Atlanta area:

  1. How might we design our communities to attract the creative class?
  2. How might we better celebrate and amplify our arts and cultural assets?

As we began to brainstorm concepts for the videos, it became apparent that at the heart of both questions is the issue of perception, and even misperception. There are boundless reasons to fall in love with Atlanta, yet the city has often had a challenging time packaging and branding itself.

So we took a step back, and a good hard look in the mirror. That is, we asked ourselves: How is Atlanta perceived? What is the tone of Atlanta’s ‘voice’? Responses from our co(lab) team members included “thriving,” “diverse,” “familiar” and even “forgiving.” While these are all accurate, one member of our group, a visual artist, provided an analogy that really resonated:

“To me,” he said, “Coming to Atlanta is like visiting an old and dear friend—a friend that invites you to stay in his home, and is overwhelmingly warm and accommodating. But this friend is also a bit busy, somewhat hurried. Nonetheless, he gives you a map and encourages and empowers you to explore and discover on your own.”

This so aptly describes our dear friend, Atlanta. Atlanta has vibrancy unrivaled by its peers. However, change is rapid, and some of the city’s brightest gems are hidden to a fault. We see this as an opportunity, merely masquerading as a challenge.

Now, with our arms and minds wrapped firmly around the core issue, we’re off and running. Our dear friend, Atlanta, is ready for its close-up. Stay tuned for updates on our progress!


iris is a global creative innovation network with 14 offices across the globe – including New York, Miami, Atlanta, San Diego and Mexico City. Learn more about what we’re up to at: www.iris-worldwide.com

Host a Salon! Deadline to Apply is Today!

Is one of your favorite restaurants, companies or organizations helping to attract and retain talent? What about foster innovation or partnerships between government, communities and business? Or do you know of a group working in a school or university that is completely transforming education?

If so, have them apply to host a Salon! Salons are intimate gatherings of (co)lab participants hosted by organizations and companies all over the Atlanta region. Each Salon provides a venue, food and beverage and a specific topic relevant to the themes of (co)lab.

Learn more about the Salons here:  http://bit.ly/17jQcon

Apply to host a Salon here: http://bit.ly/12LfmKZ



iris Worldwide Joins Forces with (co)lab to Help Create Exciting Change

Check out the first in a series of blogs from iris Worldwide, one of the many incredible companies and organizations who are helping to tackle the lab topics which will be presented at (co)lab summit.

iris Worldwide Engages Communities with co(lab)

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Where the magic happens: iris and fellow co(lab) partners putting their heads together.

To say that we can’t stop smiling is an understatement. From a wide pool of agencies in Greater Atlanta, Leadership Atlanta has selected iris Worldwide and several other creative agencies to participate in co(lab) summit. co(lab) summit is the organization’s upcoming conference that will “explore how cities and regions solve vexing problems through collaborative leadership.” As a prelude to the summit, we have been tasked with framing some of the challenges of Greater Atlanta in a way that engages communities, and inspires them to act.

As a global creative innovation network, the opportunity to leverage our expertise in developing content that people want to be a part of, and help make the city we love even more amazing is a perfect storm. We will be developing two videos that capture the following questions:

  1. How might we design our communities to attract the creative class?
  2. How might we better celebrate and amplify our arts and cultural assets?

We’ll share our videos through a virtual collaboration platform where citizens will be encouraged to weigh-in and offer solutions. The most compelling ideas will be explored in greater depth at the summit. Learn more about co(lab) here, and stay tuned for updates on our progress!


iris is a global creative innovation network with 14 offices across the globe – including New York, Miami, Atlanta, San Diego and Mexico City. Learn more about what we’re up to at: www.iris-worldwide.com


How Can Atlanta Attract & Retain Millennial Talent?

Millennials are integral to shaping the future of Atlanta’s community, and (co)lab plans to address how we can foster and cultivate talent within this group.

“Millennials are an incredibly important part of Atlanta’s future because they have a unique set of skills and ideals that are crucial to shaping and advancing the work of our city and its people,” says Pat Upshaw-Monteith, President and CEO of Leadership Atlanta.

Although the Millennial generation doesn’t have a set time frame for categorizing their age, we can assume that the generation Y  or Millennials have birth dates ranging from the 1980′s to the early 2000′s. During the (co)lab summit, the topic of the Millennial generation will be discussed. Through virtual labs and informal salon discussions, thought leaders and global experts will explore the challenge of appeal, relevance, and retention of workers in the Millennial generation. Participants of the (co)lab summit will share knowledge about what attracts Millennials to a particular community and/or employer and the best way to manage the “creative class”.

Whether you are a Millennial, or someone who needs to hire and manage Millennials, (co)lab holds important insights for you. And that’s just one of many topics and lab sessions that you will engage in as a (co)lab participant. More than fifty renowned speakers from all over the world, including newly confirmed speakers like Slava Rubin, the founder of Indiegogo and Paul Morris, the CEO of the Beltline are confirmed to lead discussions at (co)lab.

Join (co)lab on September 22-23 to learn more about the Millennial generation and participate in the conversation.


*Infographic originally posted on: http://pro.gigaom.com/blog/what-impact-will-millennials-have-on-the-workplace/