116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
If you Google Iowa innovations, you'd likely find articles that push shock value for readers rather than known fact — articles with titles, “Eight surprising inventions from Iowa.”
But my question is, what is that a surprise? The answer could be our messaging.
Everyone should know the sliced bread we find so convenient originated here.
Ames is where the computer was created.
And, yes, those Pinterest addictions have deep Iowa roots.
There have been some pretty cool things to come out of Iowa. Yet it was highlighted in a meeting I was in the other day that, despite the awesome tech development, creative forces of nature and educational superheroes we have here in the state, we are known for our corn.
When those early presidential nomination campaigns are pounding through our state, the backdrops are almost always corn fields over technology.
I was skeptical when I moved to Iowa. As a native Californian who had spent some time traveling through the military, I wasn’t sure what this state would have to offer me.
Now, working for a nonprofit that takes its mission of “Accelerating World Changing Ideas from Iowa” quite seriously, I get to see the amazing opportunities across this state daily.
Our messaging is part of innovation.
What if you had the best idea to solve the rising gas prices challenge? Everyone would love and embrace it. Your solution could truly solve many problems.
But what if you couldn’t talk about it? You couldn’t convey what it was, who would benefit, the problem it solved?
A tool we use to help clients who find themselves here is called the Business Model Canvas, or BMC. This tool was created by Alexander Osterander and has gained both popularity and relevance in the start-up and innovation space.
The BMC helps you answer key questions about your idea so that you create the story to tell others. BMC is brilliant in it’s simple complexity.
I was recently at a national entrepreneurial gathering and was introducing myself and my work. As part of it I touched on the entrepreneurial and innovative aspect of working in Iowa.
The audience giggled, thinking I was being sarcastic. Seriously. I got to do some big picture editing for them and rapidly understood how much work I would have to do to stay relevant with this group.
We think differently at NewBoCo. And we help other organizations think differently from start-ups to educators to corporations.
And we know how many people across the state are benefiting directly and indirectly with this work.
To further the impact, let’s give ourselves some credit and use the tools we have created wisely.
I am now going to log onto my computer, add this article to my Pinterest board, and make some toast from my freshly sliced bread.
Jennifer Murphy is NewBoCo’s director of innovation services.