How-To Salons

These mini-modules will introduce various practical skills in a workshop format designed to fit inside of or adjacent to ordinary class sessions (adjacent to might mean offered as a follow up 90 minute workshop or an online module students can do alone or in groups on their own time or a popUp workshop at an unconventional time).

Theory - From Adam Smith to Clayton Chrisensen

This module will cover - too superficially, to be sure - what folks have said about innovation over the centuries. We will revisit the likes of Smith and the division of labor, Marx's ideas about the dynamics of capitalism, Schumpeter on creative destruction, and Christensen on disruptive innovation.

Funding Innovation

How do people find the money they need to take an idea from first inkling to ongoing concern? This module will introduce an array of methods for funding innovation outside established organizations. This will include popular crowdsourcing methods (how they actually work, what it takes to be successful, and how to avoid pitfalls), an overview of the stages of investment in new ideas, etc.

Service Innovation

"Service Innovation" can mean different things to different people. Here we mean innovation in services as distinguished from innovation in tangible products. In this module we will become familiar with the range of things that come under this heading and how practitioners distinguish among them and we will try to identify ways in which innovation of services overlaps with and is different from innovation of things.

Failed Innovations

"Don't be afraid of failure," "Fail early and often," and "Don't hire someone who hasn't already failed five times" are phrases you'll hear a lot in innovation circles. Dwelling on failure may seem like time wasted - especially since almost all innovative ideas fail - but in this module we'll take the view that there is more to learning from failure than just the next iteration on a particular project.

Innovation and Organizations

Can innovation be managed? Can managers encourage or facilitate innovation? Does innovation run counter to standard best practices? Why are some organizations more innovative than others? Does it take the same thing to be an innovative organization in private sector, non-profit sector, and government sector environments? In this module we will try to draw some contrasts between conventional organizational behavior and innovation with a focus on lessons from innovative entities that shake up how we usually think about running an organization.

IDEO Design Thinking Process

This module introduces the mechanics AND the underlying logic/theory of the IDEO human centered design thinking process. We will introduce the shape of a typical DT workshop with special emphasis on skills/mindsets such as (1) you are not the user, (2) research before ideas, (3) downloading research to the group, (4) creative collaboration in disciplined brainstorming, (5) clustering and prioritizing, (6) prototyping as learning experiments, (7) using feedback and iterating.

Diffusion and Dynamics of Innovation

Dynamics of innovation can refer to two processes: how innovation proceeds within an organization and how an innovation spreads in the market place. This topic is more about the latter. We introduce ideas like first mover advantage, early adopters, early/late market, crossing the chasm, tipping points, saturation, s-curve, etc.