Patient, Steady Progress Gets Results
Create West Virginia is an irrepressible grassroots movement. It's an innovation-economy, love-this-place kind of organization. Since 2007, Create West Virginia volunteers have creatively united people from around the world and in this state, in thought and action. We engage the kind of people you want as your neighbors, your peers, your kids' teachers. We think a better place is something that everyone can relate to, and champion, and do better business in. And what do we mean by better?
We focus on improving awareness, understanding and adoption of best practices in technology, entrepreneurship, education, diversity and place making. Read on...
Eight Statewide Conferences
As a result of eight statewide conferences and over 20 local community training workshops, innovation and creative economy vocabulary has begun to percolate throughout West Virginia's culture. Since 2007, communities such as Buckhannon, Fayetteville, Huntington, and Princeton have begun to emphasize entrepreneurship, technology, and quality of place as a growth strategy.
Create West Virginia has provided hands-on support for pilot innovation projects such as West Virginia State University EDC's "DigiSo" social and digital media. We named it, designed the programs, introduced co-working for digital innovators, kids, other community contributors to the state. We're told that we designed the only project of its kind in the nation; and won a national award for creativity and innovation from the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals. DigiSo is an incubator and digital media maker space. The EDC is its brick and mortar home, acting as a co-working space, training center and flexible workspace. We designed summer "maker" camps that were a hit for young, entrepreneurial problem solvers. Our emphasis on problem-solving, design-thinking and multi-media production inspired many to make their organizational resources available to a wider range of makers in new ways.
We piloted the state's first startup workshop focused on Lean Startup Principles. Lean Startup 60X at DigiSo taught people how to develop minimum viable products, test assumptions, and acquire customer input before committing to business decisions that cost significant resources.
The Block Project brought young people from Rand and Charleston, WV, together with their peers in Harlem, New York City, to explore poetry, writing and digital storytelling.
Education Innovation Zone
Create West Virginia supported the successful passage of the 2009 Education Innovation Zone Act, which gave individual schools the opportunity to create flexible curriculum and programming to enhance student learning and success. This ongoing program has awarded 35 grants so far, supporting innovations in the areas of technology, pedagogy, scheduling and professional development in individual schools. Create West Virginia has also been a strong advocate of the State Department of Education's initiatives in entrepreneurship.
As the Create West Virginia movement grows from a volunteer initiative to a professionally staffed organization, expect to see more hands-on support for organizations and communities that are eager to tap into innovation and creative community building as a strategy for growth and improved quality of life.
Also, expect new pilot initiatives to launch directly from Create West Virginia to help our state make the cultural and economic changes necessary to leap forward in embracing technology, entrepreneurship, diversity, quality of place, and lifelong education and skill-building.
Together, we'll usher in an unprecedented era of productive creativity. Want to be involved? Get in touch!