Spokane Journal of Business

Innovation Collective to expand

Cd’A incubator also plans to launch new software

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Coeur d’Alene-based business incubator Innovation Collective LLC plans to expand its programs into nine new communities and launch its new software, Reflect Space.

Nick Smoot, CEO and founder, says the company is expanding into Idaho communities of Sandpoint, Lewiston, Pocatello, Kellogg, and other parts of Silver Valley. It also hopes to establish a presence in Yakima, Wash.; Utica, N.Y.; Reno, Nev.; and Albuquerque, N.M.

“There’s definitely clustering in the Northwest,” says Smoot. “We’re in full-on go mode. It’ll be a fun year.”

The organization is looking to expand into other U.S. communities but likely will cap it at 10 communities for the year, Smoot says. It also hopes to extend overseas, he says. 

Partnering communities will work with Smoot’s team to focus on rebuilding their towns and inspiring hope. Smoot says under 25 percent of young Americans believe their lives will be better than their parents, a statistic he says historically has been more in the 90 percent range.

“I think it comes down to realizing that Americans don’t have hope in the American dream,” says Smoot. “And because of that, we’re building our business as an American dream factory … on a mission to rebuild capitalism.”

His organization plans to bring its five-year initiative, which starts with story-telling sessions, to inspire innovation and creativity in a large cross-section of the population, says Smoot.

Innovation Collection typically will hold around 70 events a year in each community. It also will convene think tanks, offer mentoring sessions with representatives of Fortune 500 companies, and create coworking spaces.

The idea, he asserts, is to jump-start people’s brains, get them off the internet and social media, and forge real connections with people in the community.

“As crazy as this sounds, we are desperately in need of Americans who use their brains,” Smoot contends.

Smoot says artificial intelligence and the shift to using machines for labor is threatening low wage positions and contends that the only way to change the game is for employees to bring ideas and innovation to companies and make themselves invaluable assets to the organization.

Program start dates are dependent on location, but most will begin between February and March, Smoot says.

Innovation Collective will also launch its new software, Reflect Space, this year, he says.

He describes the software as a culmination of Innovation Collective’s ‘Great Eight’ into an online human network. Great Eight is a reference to the eight programs offered by Innovation Collective, including Coffee & Concepts, Fireside Chats, and City Compass.

The concept, says Smoot, is to provide an online platform to augment in-person meetings where one can go to reflect on personal growth in eight key areas, track their progress, and find assistance when needed, with the goal of helping people achieve a healthy life. Smoot says he believes one cannot pursue dreams without being in a healthy place.

The software will be available to businesses, associations, groups, churches, colleges, and others who wish to build a social community and foster relationships within a group.

Smoot says his hope is that the program will change human interactions and could lead to changes in information distribution in the media and trainings offered at schools as people discover their passions and flourish.

“This is born out of the realization that we all need real relationships that help us chase our goals, and we don’t have them. This software allows you to connect in a real way,” says Smoot.

The software is in the final stages of development, he says, and will enter internal beta this week.

Natasha Nellis
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Reporter Natasha Nellis joined the Journal in May 2018 and covers real estate and construction. Natasha is an avid reader and loves taking photos, traveling, and learning new languages.

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