Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Innovation Across Boundaries

On October 10th, 2006, the I3M Research Symposium spent a full day addressing the issues of innovation in business. Symposium participants included people from organizations such as Parsons Brinckerhoff, Washington Mutual, Quellos Group LLC, the Disaster Resource Network, Boeing, NPower Seattle, Casey Family Programs, Nervana, SchemaLogic and Geospiza. University of Washington iSchool and business school faculty members also participated. Dr. Desouza gave a presentation of the innovation process and proposed a model consisting of five stages that capture the innovation process. Those stages were idea generation and mobilization, screening and advocacy, experimentation, commercialization and diffusion/implementation. A panel discussion with business practitioners helped to define innovation, discuss issues of implementing procedures for innovation and revealed several strategies for handling idea screening and incentives for innovation.

The symposium broke into small groups to discuss innovation issues.
Many big questions emerged from this debate, such as: Are process and incremental innovation fundamentally different from creativity and idea generation? Is innovation part of daily practice?

A discussion of the development and instantiation of rigorous Communities of Practice (CoP) at Parsons Brinckerhoff followed. Key themes included the need to reward leaders of communities and the crucial role of injecting business practices into CoPs.

The symposium proper ended with proposals for future research on the topic of innovation in business, presented by University of Washington faculty. A delicious dinner and reception followed.

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