Innovation:  WHEN, not just What? Daybreaker Parties

By Shlomo Maital


  Einstein taught us that the key to true creativity is how you frame questions, not how you come up with answers.  The question we usually assume that launches innovation is:  What?  But rarely do we ask When???   In Israel, years ago, afternoon newspapers innovated simply by printing their newspapers and delivering them at 6 a.m.   British Airways once tried serving meals on the ground, before the long flight, so people could simply go to sleep on the plane. 

   If you find a way to deliver a known liked product at a different and unusual time – this can be a powerful innovation.

   Here is an example.  Two young entrepreneurs, Matthew Brimer, 27 and Radha Agrahal, 30,  are ‘edu-preneurs’.  They are engaged in educational technology. Their company General Assembly offers on-line classes, workshops, programs and education ‘in the most relevant skills of the 21st C.’.   They had the idea of creating ‘morning raves’ – get-togethers held at 7 a.m., for two hours, before heading to work.  Daybreaker parties have no drugs, liquor or other substances. What do you do?  Mingle, chat, and dance.  Why no alcohol?  “The idea is not to flood the senses with external influences but to stimulate them through natural means. Through the music and body movement.  All the senses are engaged.”  In other words – you don’t need junk or booze to get high.

     The parties are held monthly, midweek (usually Wednesday), each time at different locations, to those who signed up earlier by email.  The idea is spreading from Silicon Alley (most of the participants are in high-tech, are young and without kids, so no need to make kids’ sandwiches and get them on the school bus), and it started in New York City and is spreading to London, San Francisco and Tel Aviv (it debuts in Tel Aviv this summer). 

   Parties have existed for thousands of years.  Change the time from midnight, to 7 a.m. – and you have an innovation.

    What else can you innovate, by taking something loved, with a set time, and shift the time completely?