Productable Way

Q&A: Shaping Great Innovators with the Holodeck Accelerator

We sat down with Nick Chagin, Productable’s senior innovation facilitator and workshop leader, to talk about the Holodeck Accelerator program and why it’s so crucial for innovators to build their skillset.

We talk a lot about People Empowerment here at Productable. To us, this means giving innovators the skills and support they need to develop any concept. 

We’ve been working with the U.S. Air Force for more than a year to facilitate this growth and empower Airmen to solve any problem. Last month, we kicked off the Holodeck Accelerator, a three-month intensive program designed to rapidly accelerate their concepts. During the program, innovators attend a series of hands-on workshops that cover a wide variety of concept development topics including:

  • How to present their idea to the world with elevator pitching, writing a problem statement, finding a unique value proposition and branding.
  • How to demonstrate a strong return on investment, develop a pilot strategy and establish a competitive edge. 
  • How to effectively pitch their concept to decision-makers and keep their project moving forward with the right action and/or funding.

We sat down with Nick Chagin, Productable’s senior innovation facilitator and workshop leader, to talk about the Holodeck Accelerator program and why it’s so crucial for innovators to build their skillset. 

Some of the topics seem very introductory. Why is it important for innovators to cover the basics even if their innovation is in a later phase?

It’s always helpful to revisit best practices, even if they are relatively introductory. It's also common in innovation management to overlook the importance of establishing a strong foundation in the basics, so we focus on these with all innovators, whether they have been working on their innovations for two months or eight years.

And even if all of the innovations in our Holodeck Accelerator don’t scale across the Air Force, these innovators are learning imperative 21st-century professional skills. Communication, creativity, problem solving and perseverance are all muscles that the cohort flexes throughout the entirety of the program. We are confident that these curricula are innovation exercises that have long-term effects on an innovator’s professional development.

Productable's Problem Statement Canvas for Innovation
Download the Problem Statement Canvas here.

We all know that innovation storytelling is key to getting a yes. How will the accelerator program help innovators tell their story?

The first month of the program is almost entirely centered around helping innovator’s tell their story. Elevator pitching, unique value propositions, branding design and strong problem statements are necessary foundations in sharing your innovation with the world.

Once innovators work on and improve these foundations for their innovation, this content is visible in the Productable platform, which can be seen by key decision-makers. So by equipping innovators with the opportunities to improve how they tell their story in the Productable platform, they improve how decision-makers perceive their innovations.

Failure is a hot topic in the innovation community. Why should innovation failure be celebrated and what do you do to celebrate failure in the accelerator program?

There is so much to learn from doing and iterating and pivoting and failing. We talk a lot about failing forward at Productable. It’ simply part of the innovation game, and it’s part of the accelerator program, too. 

As a first step in incentivizing innovation, whether it fails or scales, all participants who complete the program requirements will earn a Certificate of Innovation from Gen. David Allvin, the vice chief of staff for the Air Force, to celebrate their focus on innovation.

We celebrate failure during the program, too, by sharing barriers to success in our collaborative workspace. This way, innovators can leave feedback and advice for how members of the cohort can overcome their shortcomings.

I have personally failed dozens of times throughout this program and am not shy to share these failures with the cohort. 

To learn more about the Holodeck Accelerator and apply for the next cohort, visit:

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