Your Bootstrapping Brilliance™ Toolkit 0

"A five-point strategy for yielding more brilliant outcomes in your initiatives, teams, and organizations, leading to more brilliant businesses, communities, and societies, and a brilliant world."

Overview 1

Bootstrapping Brilliance™ is a practical strategy for increasing the capacity for innovation and systemic transformation within initiatives, organizations, and societies, while increasing their Collective IQ. Also known as Bootstrapping Innovation™, this strategy is designed to help the organization jump the curve more rapidly from the current path of doing business and transforming itself, to a future more brilliant accelerative path. For Lean, Agile, Exponential, and Design Thinking practitioners, this strategy dovetails to bring added leverage and acceleration at scale. And serves as a template for what Doug Engelbart envisioned for networked improvement communities (NICs).

Five organizing principles offer strategic insight, alignment, and leverage to increasingly accelerate and expand results:

  1. Network your community of stakeholders, innovators, alliances
    Form your team - ask who should be part of the solution, inform your team, join forces in networked improvement communities?
  2. Leverage collective smarts
    Equip your network - ask how best to engage, capture, exploit your Collective IQ?
  3. Target whole capability
    Augment your goals - ask which essential capabilities will you improve?
  4. Accelerate co-evolution
    Get strategic - push out on the frontier with rapid prototypes, use expeditions and pilot outposts to advance your target capability, explicitly co-evolving tool and human elements
  5. Bootstrap your ABCs
    Get the multiplier/scaling effect - walk your talk, improve how you improve, network your networks...

For a more detailed overview, see our Bootstrapping Brilliance Highlights.

Bootstrapping Brilliance is a distillation of Doug Engelbart's strategic vision put to practice. It is essentially the same strategic approach he applied in his own research team for a powerful multiplier effect with continuous breakthrough results, which he continued to refine and teach throughout his career in key lectures and management seminars now available at the Engelbart Academy.


While Demming provided the improvement approach for the industrial age, Doug provided the innovation approach for the knowledge age.
Curt Carlson, Founder & CEO, The Practice of Innovation; executive coach, author, then Pres. & CEO, SRI International [Source]


Resources 2

The Basics 2a

You can apply these tools alone, or as an extension to your in-place innovation practice. Strategies like Lean Startup lay a great foundation for Bootstrapping Brilliance, and offer a large, inclusive, experience-rich community with easy-to-use tools and loads of case examples. Here are links to the basics of both practices.

  • Lean Startup Basics - a brief introduction, with links to key resources

  • Bootstrapping Brilliance Highlights - one page overview

  • Watch Bootstrap Brilliance basics

    Christina Engelbart presents the big picture strategy in her talk "Taking the Challenge Forward" at the 2018 event CHM Live: Solving today's great problems? Lessons from Engelbart's Demo @50. [see event site] During the presentation, she references a short tribute video shown earlier in the program: A New Paradigm for Humanity's Collective IQ.


    Christina Engelbart briefly presents Doug's strategy as practiced in his lab, and (@10:20) distills that into the five point strategy for Bootstrapping Brilliance. Christina's talk, presented at the Coalition for Networked Information, introduces a case example presented by Professor Gardner Campbell. [see abstract] See Bootstrapping the Future under Case Examples below for Gardner's case retold (@19:20).


Case Examples 2b


Learn From Doug Engelbart 2c

  • Watch Doug Engelbart presenting

    Short teaser of Doug presenting. Visit our Engelbart Academy for more of Doug on his foundational strategic framework and call to action presented to a variety of audiences.


More Case Examples 2d

Articles 2e


Getting Started 3

BI diagram
Start by mapping your team or organization

Get your toolkit here


Further Inquiry 4

For more background