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Innovation in Social Action

by Langdon on July 9, 2010

What happens when 1000 innovators and community leaders get together?  Great things can!

For the last few years, InnovationLabs has partnered with CFED, an organization that has for more than 30 years dedicated itself to expanding economic opportunity for all Americans.  We’ve shared lessons and methods in innovation with CFED and its broader community, and we’ve learned a great deal about community, advocacy, and policy in return.

One of the innovation methodologies that we feel the strongest about is the imperative that organizations should manage innovation portfolios, and use the innovation portfolio management process as a way to accelerate learning across the entire organization while optimizing the chances of success for each individual project at the same time.  CFED has embraced this concept in the form of a program through which community-based entrepreneurs and innovators are supported as CFED innovators-in-residence, and given financial and organizational support to develop their ideas.

Last fall at the Innovation@cfed summit conference, 200 leaders gathered in a think-tank environment to engage in a codesign process to help move the entire portfolio forward.  Through a day-long series of interactions, the conference participants interacted with CFED’s innovators in residence to address their key issues and questions.  It was a great example not only of the portfolio process, but also of how to engage an entire community in support of innovation.

If you’re interested in learning more about CFED’s innovation portfolio, click here.

Next up is CFED’s 2010 Assets Learning Conference, to be held in September in Washington DC.  1000 leaders and innovators from across the Assets & Opportunity field will gather to discuss innovations, vision and strategies in assets practice, policy and research.  The conference program is focused on the  challenges facing low‐ and moderate‐income American individuals and families in asset building, homeownership, entrepreneurship, children’s savings and education, behavioral economics, manufactured housing, community and economic development.

For more information, visit the conference website at

* The photo above is from the October 2009 Innovation@cfed summit conference.


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