Innovation & Entrepreneurship –  Doing More Together

Spitty Tata

August 29, 2020 


Imagine if we were a globally recognized hub for aspiring entrepreneurs and innovative companies. What would that look like?

This is our “framing question” to guide the development and growth of our region’s innovation ecosystem.  Partners spanning Stephenson, Winnebago, and Boone Counties met to accelerate collaboration to achieve the framing question.


On August 28, 2020, at this workshop, 23 community members/leaders created their first actions in four themes: Support Systems, Talent and Research, Connected Spaces and Policies, and New Narratives. Each took away an action (however small) and committed to completing it in 30 days. Each action will move us closer to the framing question.



An “innovation ecosystem” encompasses the various players, stakeholders, community members, and physical and virtual assets that are critical for accelerating innovation and entrepreneurship.

“Successful cities and regions offer entrepreneurs and innovators dense networks of support to scale and thrive. I appreciate Transform Rockford bringing us all together to find new ways to support and grow our region’s innovation ecosystem.” John Groh, Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau


Communities with innovation ecosystems draw vibrant energy that helps them thrive and grow. Ecosystems support the creation of new businesses (the engine of our economy) by helping new entrepreneurs easily navigate the challenges. They also support innovation through both business and technical assistance.

Strategic Doing is a process that helps participants co-create new ideas by linking assets and quickly drives them to completion. It uses 10 principles that start at creating a “Safe Space” for dialog and a framing question and end at completing the first committed actions within 30 days. The process is iterative after that. 


Each team meets within 30 days. Each review what every participant completed in the last 30 days, then plans their next action for the next 30 days. Completing actions on co-created plans builds trust and reduces turf protection. “Applying the Strategic Doing method to Innovation in our region is providing significant, and much needed, focus when there is so much to accomplish in this space.” Anthony Cortez, Rockford Public Library.