One way to describe innovation is finding a better way to do things. Finding ways to innovate shouldn’t be the responsibility of a select group of people – it’s something everyone can do. We all have the ability to observe how work gets done and decide if there might be a better way to complete tasks to save time or money.

The world is constantly evolving and so are the ways that tasks get accomplished. If we don’t reevaluate the way we do things every once in a while, our progress will fall by the wayside compared to constantly adapting organizations.

Setting up a brand new model to get processes done can be a complicated mountain to climb. Many variables go into whether or not a new plan will come to fruition, and a lot of times these attempts fall short. However, it’s still important to generate new ideas and seek out new ways to innovate, in order to build this new competency and gain the tools, tactics, and mindset for individuals and the organization to be able to adapt to rapid change.

Nelnet launched the Innovation Studio to serve as a resource for innovative initiatives, from insights to information to investments. The team piloting Nelnet’s Innovation Studio is developing a repeatable process for turning new ideas into profitable business models and wants everyone to take a critical look at how work is being accomplished. Is there any way these processes could be done more efficiently? Are there other problems we should be trying to solve? How can we learn and experiment to launch and de-risk new initiatives?

When thinking about these things, try to be curious, restless, and connected. Ask those questions that are on your mind, never get complacent in the traditional way jobs are done, and be willing to talk to those around you about topics on your mind.

One of the ways Nelnet is trying to bring about this culture is by hosting a monthly live stream event called Spark. In these sessions, innovators across the organization discuss new ideas, key insights, and cutting-edge technology in efforts to better fulfill Nelnet’s goals and demonstrate that everyone should try to find new ways to improve what they’re doing.

Another way to foster this culture is by staying connected. Putting names to faces makes it easier to recognize and talk to a coworker when you see them in real life. With so much of our daily communication being online, sometimes you never know what exactly the person on the other side of the screen looks like, and you won’t make that connection if you don’t see them in person.

It’s important for all our associates to be connected, which is why we encourage all employees to put a picture of themselves on their email accounts and in the associate directory. If we can easily connect with one another, it will also be easier to talk about those important topics. Learn more about updating pictures and personal information.

If you’d like to learn more about Nelnet’s Innovation Studio or have an idea you’d like to see brought to life, visit