The Thames River Innovation Place (TRIP) initiative is an unprecedented alliance of public, private, and nonprofit sectors in New London and Groton. The purpose is to spur new business development, support existing entities as they seek to grow, and identify catalytic projects that make the Thames River region more attractive for people to live, work, and start businesses.
Since its formation in fall 2016, TRIP has been engaged in a research and planning process to identify underlying patterns evident in historically successful efforts in New London & Groton. These observations have generated Design Principles to guide the improvement of new ideas and existing entities. Still in draft form, these are currently:
Aim high and grow into it—by design
- Example: top chef Dan Giusti started Brigaid in New London Public School system to prototype how to transform how school lunch happens nationally
Hold true to who we are and what we have the potential to be
- We are not Newport or Portland, ME. What works best here will be leveraging core assets and what is authentic, not bolting on an idea from somewhere else.
Create unlikely partnerships to produce outsized impacts
- Example: Spark Makerspace is working with Yestermorrow, a Design / Build school in VT to train up a local green team to do building repair and restoration
Pursue success by improving the greater system with reciprocity
- Example: increased oyster production cleans the water and creates additional revenue
Foster enlightened agency
- The greatest “innovation” will be more and more people actively engaged in improving our place through enterprising efforts
TRIP is working to infuse these Design Principles through producing a new series of events called Innovation Boosts. These are intended to be an opportunity to improve work, connect with other innovative people and ideas, as well as open the door to potential to funding and other resource opportunities.
Innovation Boosts will happen in a variety of ways:
Topical, for example focussing on opportunities in new technology, food and farming
Geographic, for example focussing on a specific neighborhood to identify a coordinated set of activities and businesses that would improve the whole place
Workshop format with several unrelated teams facilitated through the same set of questions, mostly in small group work
Saturday February 4th from 9 - 1pm is the first public Innovation Boost facilitated by expert consultants guiding the planning phase of the initial TRIP work, the Regenesis Group. The goal is to identify and improve potential projects for a state grant application to achieve official “innovation place” status. Teams with ideas or current projects / organizations are invited to attend a session. Each team must have a minimum of 3 participants. For those who do not have a team but would like to attend it is encouraged to come and join a team of thematic interest to you for the session.
For those interested in learning more about how the Innovation Boost concept came to be through the Story of Place there is an informative presentation featuring Ben Haggard and Bill Reed from Regenesis on Friday February 3rd from 5:30 - 7:30. They will share key stories, themes, and insights from the Story of Place process underway in New London & Groton. Story of Place is a research and interview approach exploring underlying historical patterns evident in a place that make it uniquely what it is.
Special thank you to the MS17 Art Project and Visual Art Library for hosting these TRIP events.