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Montana Mainstreet Innovation Incubators

Montana’s 520+ rural communities need to understand that broadband empowers their ability to engage in online entrepreneurial innovations. 21st Century success requires embracing the innovation process in order to be competitive and sustainable.

A new tradition of creative adaptation to a changing global economy requires Montana’s communities to self-assess how effectively they encourage innovators and engage all citizens as an active local learning society.

Ownership of the Opportunity Discovery Process

Key principles for teaching the innovation process

1.    Proactively seeking out what’s working for others, and studying the innovations of others for inspiration
2.    Anyone can copy working models, and/or mashup key ideas to create something new
3.    New business models show a clear trend toward engaging consumers; social media, cooperative competition, crowdsourcing, and more.
4.    Communities need to self-assess how well they encourage local innovators

What's needed is a uniquely Montanan way to bring Montanans up to speed with Internet entrepreneurship best practices, by providing online video Montanan success stories, and free self-directed lessons, resources, and services to fuel the home fires of local innovation. The social media tools exist and the crowd-sourcing trends suggest the need for the following “proof of concept” pilot project;
A “Montana Mentors” program will engage Montanans directly, as “Montana's greatest resource” -  using social media to connect those who know how - with those eager to learn. Both online and local innovation incubators will be created showcasing both local and regional success stories.  New metrics will be required to mirror back to the community their ongoing progress, as public social recognition incentives, in friendly competition with peer communities.
The 21st Century workforce solution is “Everyone both learner and teacher, both consumer and producer, all the time.” New free online instructional tools make it easy for anyone to create “show and tell” videos directly from their computer screens showing step-by-step their successful strategies and tools. 21st Century Workforce Basics, a short “first online course” (MOOC; Massively Open Online Course) created by Lone Eagle Consulting, demonstrates and teaches these tools as a model to stimulate creation of similar online course innovations by Montanans, for Montanans.
Local Event Initiatives Include: 

Community Tech Nights help to showcase and celebrate local talents. Such regular events cam show what’s happening locally online, and elsewhere, regarding replicable innovations.
Community event suggestions: http://lone-eagles.com/academy.htm

Create a mentors roster online to help match those with skills locally with those eager to learn.
Example from McGrath, AK: http://lone-eagles.com/mentorsurvey.htm

Host frequent local, web-raising events where all participants will create a sustainable free ecommerce website in less than one hour.
Web Raisings: http://lone-eagles.com/web-raising.htm 
See the 30 second web raising videos at http://youtube.com/fodasz

Create a web directory of all local businesses with a web presence.
Examples from Caithness, Scotland: Caithness.org 
and Dillon, Montana  http://lone-eagles.com/dillon.htm

Post online videos of local and model entrepreneurs, ecommerce successes,
Examples from Metlakatla, Alaska, SE Idaho, Scotland, etc.: http://youtube.com/fodasz
Create the means for ongoing sharing of local innovations between communities as a vibrant “community of communities” sharing innovations, resources, and mentors - in recognition of the benefits of a mutual support network.

The Ideal Locally Sustained Ongoing Outcomes are:

1. Montana Ecommerce Success Videos: Compelling videos showing the diversity of innovations rural Montanans have accomplished using Web Tools - as a catalyst to raise awareness and the motivation to learn more.

2. A Montana Mentors Social Media Initiative will offer Free Online Self-directed E-learning resources for rural citizens as a grassroots open source initiative, with a plan to generate online for-profit mentoring jobs.

3. Local Innovation Incubators based at schools, libraries, and other public institutions, initially as a service learning initiative, will provide personal local support for sharing online citizen generated videos, E-lessons, and mentoring services.

4. Online jobs and services will be quickly generated based on documented mentoring successes as Montana Mentor's post video testimonies justifying their development of for-profit mentoring businesses. A competition format with peer evaluations will determine the best Mentors providing fast-track outcomes.

5. Angel and Venture Capital Networks will be stimulated by broader sharing of the process by which small tech business startups can be successful.

Frank Odasz has been innovating online in rural Montana for over 25 years.
A multimedia presentation for Governor Bullock and staff is recommended.
Frank@lone-eagles.com  406 683 6270