What is Local Innovation Works?
Local Innovation Works supports and trains emerging leaders, fosters the creation of living-wage jobs that serve local needs, and funds innovations. We seek to generate equitably distributed wealth circulated throughout our community.
- Build the Local Innovation Lab as a resource for job creation and emerging leader development in the Rogue Valley.
- Develop the Community Investment Fund to build a more inclusive, equitable, and circular local economy
- Develop community conversation methods to discover local values and needs that the Local Innovation Lab and Community Investment Fund can support
The mission of our first project, the Leadership Innovation Lab, is to empower and support the next generation of community-minded learners and local entrepreneurs as they work together on projects that benefit all community members.
The Team Behind Local Innovation Works
We started as a loose group of concerned citizens and are moving into more formal arrangements as a 501(c)(3) focused on helping our communities thrive. Then, the fires came and we broadened into offering three core projects:
- Local Innovation Lab – Internships and leadership development in partnership with SOU to support fire relief efforts, nonprofits, and businesses who can serve local needs and create good local jobs.
- Community Investment Fund – micro finance to support local entrepreneurs who may not qualify for traditional financing but who have a vision to create a good job for themselves and others by meeting local essential needs.
- Community Conversations – hosting conversations that align values and promote action for the benefit of our diverse, thriving community. We focus on conversations to clarify values, identify opportunities for collaborative solutions, and aligning on actions that can move us toward our shared goals.
We start locally because that’s a quick route to what’s true and relevant, but we are always looking to develop models and methods we can share with others.
Stephen Bárczay Sloan is founder of the Humane Leadership Institute and author of Humane Leadership: Tools to Engage, Empower, and Improve Performance.
Ellen Holty is the Program Director of the Local Innovation Lab.
Bret Anderson, is the Chair of the Economics department at Southern Oregon University
Julie O’Dwyer founded JulieO Design and serves on the board of directors of the Ashland Food Co-op.
- Southern Oregon University
- Humane Leadership Institute
- Ashland Independent Film Festival
- Oregon Extension college semester program
- Ashland Food Coop
- Ashland Food Bank
We believe this moment calls for a return to shared values of strength tempered by equity, care that generates autonomy, and a wise balancing of the paradoxes built into being individuals in community.
Header image by Grayson Soldahl.