Version 1

Prepared by the SPN Research and Innovation Subcommittee of the Steering Committee

Document Lead: Sophia Lafferty-Hess, last updated May 13, 2020


This document outlines (potential) methods and modes of communication for the incubation of ideas within (and beyond) SPN membership. These modes are broad opportunities for SPN members to share ideas for future projects and initiatives and raise awareness around cross-institutional research opportunities. These projects and initiatives might be informed by the SPN Research and Innovation Continuum (Appendix 2) or could fall within other SPN strategic areas. When appropriate, ideas can then be funneled through the Fundraising and Project Framework (Appendix 3) to help identify potential funding opportunities (as needed) and/or to help develop the idea via other community driven projects.

Potential Modes for Incubation

Mode for Incubation Existing vs. New Type of Communication Description Roles Next Steps
SPN Monthly Meetings “Seed Topic” Discussions Existing Synchronous Time during monthly meetings  that facilitate SPN members to explore a topic of interest – Facilitator

– SPN Staff

Determine ways to harness these conversations for further incubation
SPN Working Groups Existing Synchronous/


Groups that already generate new ideas that may feed into the continuum – Coordinator

– SPN Staff

– R&I member

Communicate with WGs about the continuum and fundraising framework
Incubation Hours New Synchronous Scheduled times where an identified area of interest/idea can be further explored – Facilitator

– SPN Staff

– R&I member

Set-up a pilot and evaluate
In-person Meet-ups New Synchronous Times at conferences for SPN members to discuss topics/ideas and build relationships – SPN Staff Set-up a pilot and evaluate
Incubation Space New Asynchronous An online platform where SPN members can share new ideas for projects – SPN Staff

– R&I member

Determine one online platform to test for a pilot and evaluate
External Collaborations/


New Synchronous/


External professional communities or groups, which have complementary goals and may introduce ideas – SPN Staff Determine mechanisms to introduce these external ideas to the SPN community


Roles and Responsibilities

The roles and responsibilities outlined below are not exhaustive and are meant to be extensible. The roles and responsibilities needed to support the Research and Innovation Framework will vary based on organizational funding level and situation. These roles (excluding “SPN staff”) could be filled by either volunteer contributions from SPN member affiliates or by SPN staff members.

Facilitator or Guide

Guides the synchronous discussion on a particular topic, fit ideas on the research continuum/matrix, and works with SPN staff to determine the flow of an idea through the project pipeline. The facilitator may be a member of the R&I sub-committee, SPN Staff, or a SPN member who has particular interest in the incubation of a particular idea.

SPN Staff

Helps organize and schedule synchronous events and online asynchronous spaces. Takes notes  when needed and provides general organizational support for guiding members to appropriate R&I resources.

R&I Member

Communicates with other stakeholders concerning new R&I resources and provides general direction on how to support new ideas within SPN. Helps organize pilots for the new incubation modes and assists in evaluating success and next steps.


Connects groups with each other; identifies possibilities for collaboration based on the activities and missions of the various groups. This isn’t necessarily a fixed role in any particular group, but can be embodied by anyone seeking to connect affiliated groups.



To avoid overload of information channels among SPN members, it will be important to assess and recommend a small subset of venues for the incubation of ideas from the potential modes outlined above. Potential options for the asynchronous online incubation space include:

  • Google Docs – Create thematic folders to include brief summaries of ideas/projects where individuals are looking for collaborators.
  • Email topical lists – Allow SPN members to opt-into various topical email lists (i.e., a research data sublist or an education sublist) where open sharing of ideas is encouraged for the purposes of incubation and collaboration.
  • Slack – Create sub-channels for open discussion of certain ideas within topical areas.
  • Other online options – Trello, Evernote, etc.


NESTA (2011). Incubation for Growth.

Hughes, M., Ireland, R. D., & Morgan, R. E. (2007). Stimulating Dynamic Value: Social Capital and Business Incubation as a Pathway to Competitive Success. Long Range Planning, 40(2), 154–177.

Narvekar Rajiv S. (2006). A new framework to understand the technological innovation process. Journal of Intellectual Capital, 7(2), 174–186.

Brant, J. & Lohse, S. (2014). The Open Innovation Model. International Chamber of Commerce.

Brant, J. & Parthasarathy, S. (2015). The Dynamics of Global Technology and Knowledge Flows. International Chamber of Commerce.

OECD, & Eurostat. (2019). Oslo Manual 2018: Guidelines for Collecting, Reporting and Using Data on Innovation, 4th Edition. OECD.

Back to Research & Innovation Framework Overview

Preferred citation:

SPN Steering Committee. SPN Research & Innovation Framework: Incubation of Ideas. Software Preservation Network.