Working at the Fringes

When we work at the edges and combine different perspectives and ideas into the decision making process, we get crazy wild creative ideas. Is this scary? Probably, but I’d rather have a creative idea than a status quo idea.

The fringes, also known as the borders or outer edges, is where true innovation occurs. So play there and help others learn to do the same! -Kayla Schnuelle

Rural America needs community members to play at the fringes and experiment with new ideas to set them apart and help create desired futures. The need for innovation has never Innovation-quotes.jpgbeen greater. Often times we play it safe or keep doing what have always done because we know it has a safe outcome.However, as time passes this keeps us and our communities at status quo and our community starts going backward. Where is the innovation and bold thinking?


How do we develop innovative ideas that propel us or our communities forward? Here is what we need to know:

  1. All new ideas are combinations of existing ideas
  2. At the fringes, we have better ideas
  3. By getting out of our comfort zones, we create more opportunity for innovation
  4. Diversity creates more innovative ideas (diversity of people, backgrounds, thoughts)
  5. Bringing people together from different fields or professions is key
  6. Develop a platform for innovative problem solving and big idea generation

I’ve seen some incredible examples of playing at the fringes and it is leading to some very cool outcomes in rural communities.  Try it. Get out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself to think bigger, futuristic, more creatively.

A community is only as good as its leaders and in rural communities there is a constant need for good change makers. Part of being a good leader is being innovative and encouraging others to be innovative with us, that is when we create communities of the future.

Be a catalyst in your community and play at the fringes and encourage others to do the same. You might be surprised with the crazy cool ideas that emerge.

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One thought on “Working at the Fringes

  1. I couldn’t agree more! I especially like points #4 and #5, because there is no way to gain all the knowledge of a certain field that is outside the one you function in, and there is no way to swap out the experiences you’ve had with someone else. So, collaboration is the key. Sharpening each other’s ideas is crucial. When we can recognize and utilize the strengths in others that are unlike ourselves, and by doing so be on the cutting edge, that is a win-win.


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