Isn’t “Boot Camp” a little too militaristic for a bunch of peace-loving library staff members? Sure, on the surface it seems a little over-the-top, but go with me on this one. By calling this program Innovation Boot Camp we want to highlight the inherent tension between military precision and free-form creativity. We’re making a disciplined attempt to explore innovation, so we think the metaphor is apt (and we are quite willing to stretch it as far as it will go).

Here are a few other interesting thoughts for your consideration:

  • In traditional boot camps, failure is not an option. In the Innovation Boot Camp, failure is an essential–and expected–part of the process.
  • Traditional boot camps operate with rigid rules and a chain of command. Innovation Boot Camp thrives on breaking rules, challenging assumptions and empowering everyone to lead.
  • Traditional boot camps strive for conformity. Innovation Boot Camp only works if its membership is diverse.
  • Traditional boot camps require soldiers to complete boot camp before they ever see the battlefield. Innovation Boot Camp expects participants to jump in and take risks.

I’m sure you can think of even more angles…

By putting “Innovation” in front of “Boot Camp” we’re trying to disarm the overt military metaphor, and yet keep some of the nuances. Creativity can’t exist without at least some constraints – as we hope to demonstrate!