Ingo Boltz at DMS Speedgeek

Ted Fickes

Editor, writer and strategist

Fostering and promoting innovation in organizations and communities of practice can be challenging. Staff and leaders are immersed in their day to day work. Innovation? Seems critical but time consuming and, well, it will probably just happen.

Innovation rarely just happens. People need encouragement, safe space and support to bring their new (or just plain crazy) ideas into organizational programming and strategy.

SpeedGeeking is one way to shine a light on and support the spread of innovative ideas. A SpeedGeeking session at the Greenpeace Digital Mobilisation Skillshare was one of the most talked about parts of the week.

In brief, SpeedGeeking is a fast (and fun) way to share ideas and experiences, get feedback, and even find people that can help.

At the DMS, ten SpeedGeek presenters gave a five minute presentations ten times to small groups. These presentations (about online community, campaign innovations, planned engagement campaigns and much more – check some of the out here) exposed over a hundred people to new ideas. Because the group listening each time was small it was easy to ask questions and get direct feedback.

We have participated in and helped organize SpeedGeeking sessions at several events. Participants are always excited about the results. Presenters get great feedback, fresh insights, and support. Listeners get exposed to some of the best campaigns around, opportunities to offer critical insights, and new ideas to bring to their own work.

Allen Gunn and the team at Aspiration have a great piece about conducting SpeedGeeking sessions on their wiki. It’s definitely worth checking out if you’re putting together a SpeedGeek or just thinking about it.

The power of SpeedGeeking is its ability to quickly expose a community to creativity, lessons learned, and new ideas in a safe environment. Sessions are usually mixed into conferences but they can be great opportunities for staff retreats or – on a smaller scale – a replacement for the monthly staff meeting.