Innovation's Organizing Principles

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Sample Learning Applications - Sketches

"The best insurance for the future is preparing generations of skillful, enthusiastic, and purposeful young men and women."[1]

-- Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi & Barbara Schneider



An Innovation Learning System --
Leveraged most fully, for the purposes of this site's hypothesis, a high-quality set of innovation's organizing principles would allow for an "innovation learning system," similar to the existing system for learning the methods of science.

Each sketch at this page depicts a potential element of such a system.

The notion of an innovation learning system borrows fundamentally from two prominent 20th century thinkers:

First, musings of John W. Gardner, expressed in his 1963 book about "the individual and the innovative society," capture the basic idea of a system for innovation that would resemble the existing system for science:

"(T)he classic question of social reform has been: How can we cure this or that specifiable ill? Now, another question: How can we design a system that will continuously reform (i.e., renew) itself, beginning with the present specifiable (ills) … (to the) ills (we) cannot foresee?" ... "Like a scientist in a lab, part of enduring tradition/system …"[7-2]

Second, as noted by the words of Peter Drucker, organizing principles allow for converting any skilled craft into a discipline or methodology by making it broadly teachable.[7]

In recent years, the many new expert innovation resources that have been added to earlier influential resources illuminate feasibility of articulating innovation's organizing principles, which seems to speak directly to the type of enduring tradition/system that Gardner understood was missing.

Thus, this site's response to Gardner's question of "how can we design a system" has been basically Drucker's ~response: by way of organizing principles.

Each of several learning application sketches below is assumed to fit into such a system:

Each sketch addresses the following overarching goals (which happen to be associated with the learning leverage points within the prototype principles):

  • foster intelligibility of innovation -- inform and inspire
  • foster capability for producing innovation, as direct, hands-on agents
  • foster personalized connections to the larger societal/economic enterprise that innovation and its methods address.

The sketches are divided into two sections, as follows:

I. Youth Applications -- Roots of an Innovation Learning System

II. Higher Education -- Social Innovation


For reference, the prototype principles:

For the purpose of catalyzing the change of more yield from the same resources (e.g., yield in terms of "profit, planet, and/or people"):

  • Principle #1 -- Innovation's change lever is new "value," beginning with the value to practitioners of compelling purpose.
  • Principle #2 -- Innovation's value is forcefully positive
  • Principle #3 -- Innovation's essential creative structure is hypotheses
  • Principle #4 -- Innovation's hypotheses amplify a force of integration



I. Youth Applications -- Roots of an Innovation Learning System

"(A)bstract academic learning should be presented in a context of personal and social responsibility." [17-5]

A set of application sketches reflects the opportunity to begin to establish the roots of an innovation learning system among youth:



1. Elegant Online Video Lectures

A set of short videos would feature elegant articulation and depiction of innovation's organizing principles.

At a minimum, the videos could represent a series of brief "lectures." A more developed approach could allow for increasing approximations of an online course(s), including student and teacher forums, assignments, quizzes, webinars, etc.

Introductory videos might resemble the Khan Academy's Introduction to Algebra:

For youth, a seeming ideal online location for video lectures would be within the youth-oriented Khan Academy's online collection. This has the clear benefit of accessibility; however, equally important, the notion of organizing principles and an innovation learning system seem to represent a strong fit with Salman Khan's philosophy of learning, as described in The One World Schoolhouse and discussed within public interviews.

For example:



2. Searchable, Interactive Online Gallery of Examples

"Human beings can observe and/or be shown how the activities of humanity have changed the environm`ent, fostering the realization that other people may be able to also bring about change. ... A sense of what has been done helps lead to a sense of what might be done, as well as an appreciation for the kinds of established constraints that might affect imagined changes." [3]

An online "gallery" of offerings is to provide plentiful and varying examples in such a way that it aids intelligibility of innovation's constants and variables:

These two vantage points -- a marketplace view and a practitioner's view -- are to aid visitors in both browsing and interacting (e.g., searching, grouping, etc.). Overall, the aim is support the view of every innovation example as but a variant on themes of fundamentals. From cognitive science:

"The surest way to help students understand an abstraction is to expose them to many different versions of the abstraction."[5]

An Ongoing World's Fair of Innovation --
The ideal experience of visiting an eventual online gallery of offering profiles might be like visiting a hands-on world's fair or museum or trade-show:

Wings and special exhibits could be curator-determined, but also interactive, such that visitors could customize, archive, tag, and share their own collections. Visitors also could receive notices of (or search for) new profiles.

A wing's cluster of profiles might reflect any combination of constants and variables. For example, curated wings might feature profiles of offerings that are:

  • "world changing";
  • based on new technology;
  • based on "appropriate technology";
  • based on ordinary knowledge;
  • illuminating of the "social differential," including catalysts for change in customers' behavior and capability;
  • growing out of startup organizations versus other types of organizations;
  • contributing to sustainable development;
  • within ventures seeking a "triple bottom line";
  • based on "seizing opportunity" versus "addressing a problem";
  • illustrating increasing complexity, from an effective new connection of simple knowledge to a connection of a complex web of knowledge;
  • and so on.

Since visitors could go from one wing to another within a second or two, rather than walking long distances, there could be a large number of wings. Also, a visitor could arrange a wing's profiles according to personal preferences and could create, save, and share their own wings.

The possibilities for clustering are limited only tags. In addition to variables such as those above, tags might highlight offerings that are:

  • co-created with customers;
  • based on public-private partnerships;
  • benefiting a certain category of customer (retirees, teens, women, children, etc.)
  • originally conceived of as new utility with subsequent need to figure out a successful means of revenue;
  • enacted within public service agencies;
  • featuring "disruptive" innovation for any sector;
  • featuring successful "sustainable" innovation for any sector;
  • enacted by youth;
  • catalyzing change in customers' behavior or capability, arranged by difficulty of change and learning;
  • led by a woman;
  • featuring a like-business-model (e.g., matchmaking of any type);
  • filling a gap in the marketplace;
  • and so on.
See more.

The fair (or museum or trade show) also could offer learning tools beyond its collection of profiles. It could include resources for educators (e.g., practice topics for youth), links to related resources such as "Open IDEO," and much more. For example, in association with the online course sketched just above, an early assignment could instruct students to:

  • search for a set of offering profiles that address a cause(s) of personal interest
  • plus choose a favorite offering, and explain why that choice
  • choose the way s/he would most like to support and/or modify such an endeavor
  • describe the way that seemingly differing offerings share constant fundamentals
  • comment on the types of knowledge that are behind the idea of an offering
  • for an offering that draws upon advances in science and/or invention, contrast the offering's innovation hypotheses with the related hypotheses for science and invention
  • create a cluster of offerings that reflect a personal basis for interest (e.g. searching by a personalized combination of tags), and share that cluster with others
  • etc.


Subscribe to "Offering of the Day" --
The gallery could deliver an "offering of the day (or week)" delivered via email or social media (and perhaps featured independently in news media as "good news"). Subscribers could opt for particular industries for their offering of the day, with everyone receiving one universal selection. The latter is to support intelligibility of innovation's constants across industries and more, including supporting cross-pollination.

Essentially, an offering of the day is to put innovation's concrete purpose and practice into public drinking water, to stimulate conversations and questions. The offerings should be clear enough for middle school students.

Prototype Gallery --
To demonstrate the idea, see a rudimentary prototype at

How this might become --
The practitioner vantage point is fundamental to robust intelligibility of innovation hypotheses and other core elements of methodology. Indeed, the gallery represents an opportunity for private-public partnership. It's an opportunity for practitioners of many types to provide their intellectual support of the societal good of education, including the K-12 level.

Feasibility of accessing the practitioner vantage point would likely need to draw upon pilot testing. As one way to start, a gallery of exploratory profiles could be based on interviewing up to hundreds of practitioners with successful offerings. And this would not even need to be primary research. For example, research that served as the basis for findings within The Innovator's DNA included a similar goal regarding "when and how" entrepreneurs "came up with ideas that launched new businesses or products." If the authors were inclined, this research could be used further to test the idea of an online databank and template-based profiles. If other scholars and organizations possess similar primary research, a combination of data sources could provide for suitable representation of innovation's spectrum of classification.

Whether "intelligence" for the profiles is primary or secondary (but valid), results of this type of experimentation -- incorporating widely varying examples -- might contribute to development or testing of the hypothesis for valid first principles.

Curation is in part to ensure that profiles achieve the goal of distinguishing constants from variables, including supporting strong use of tags. It's also to support visitor experiences. However, the end is more important that the means, and curation may not be the best approach, other than perhaps to establish a starting point of a critical mass of examples. Beyond such a start, the most fruitful type of databank may be one that is "crowdsourced" -- drawing upon what Clay Shirky calls "cognitive surplus," representing "the shared, online work we do with our spare brain cycles."[6] Shirky points to the prime example of contributions to Wikipedia.


Benefits --
Even well short of the ideal, the intended benefits of a searchable, template-based online gallery of innovation examples is to:

  • aid intelligibility (seeing innovation as but variations on a small set of themes)
  • inspire; support exploration of personal interests
  • spread knowledge of successful offerings (especially of the often local or regional examples of social innovation, which can be "borrowed").

Overall, an online gallery would aim to establish structural capital -- that is, "to organize and distribute strategically collected data for

  • rapid knowledge sharing
  • collective knowledge growth
  • shortened lead times
  • more productive people."



3. Hands-On -- Project Based Learning








Social Innovation within Higher Education

"Better training, higher expectations, more accurate recognition, a greater availability of opportunities, and stronger rewards are among the conditions that facilitate the production and the assimilation of potentially useful ideas." [11]



1. Key Concept: "Social Innovation Differential"

The concept of a social innovation differential is to acknowledge that social change (here addressed as offerings aiming primarily to catalyze greater yield in terms of "planet" and/or "people") often includes two fundamental distinctions, which represent considerations added to the core prototype of innovation's organizing principles:

a. Resource leverage often requires that an offering catalyze sustained change in customer behavior and/or capability, beyond adoption.

This first distinction represents an amplification of the core set of organizing principles:

See at this site's home-page introduction of the prototype principles, one of the explanatory comments for principle #2 (Innovation's value is forcefully positive): Needed customer response to value can vary (e.g., need for change in behavior in addition to adoption).

Although this aspect of customer response is not unique to offerings aimed focally at "planet" or "people," it's typical of such offerings. As Drucker put it, social innovation involves “changing people.”


Indeed, in some cases of social innovation, the existing resources that offerings aim to leverage are the human-resource customers. This is fundamentally different from offerings proposing new value that is already fully embedded.


For social offerings, two fundamental types of response, or change, needed are in: behavior and/or capability. For example:

  • Curbside recycling pick-up can offer the value of ease, but advancing the yield of natural resources via recycling calls for customers to change their behavior (catalyzed by the value of ease).

    Behavior change often is associated, too, with offerings aiming to advance customer health.

  • An educational offering like the online Khan Academy may catalyze use among student customers; however, the use must be effective if the offering is to realize the Khan Academy's aim of advancing learning/capability.

For such offerings, there may need to be different positive catalysts for respective types of change (adoption, behavior, capability).


2. The end-customer is not always the purchasing customer

This second distinction of the social differential, again an amplification of the prototype of core organizing principles, comes from Stephen Goldsmith's The Power of Social Innovation. As Goldsmith has explained, the social system’s end “user,” or customer, often does not have the market-based customer’s power of choice.[2] Instead, those choosing an offering might be purchasers such as philanthropists, practitioners within public-service institutions, etc.

To compensate for this often-missing dynamic of the market, an offering's "how" hypotheses may call for attention (and creativity) that goes beyond considerations associated with commercial channels of distribution.

  • "How" hypotheses associated with an offering targeted to end users may need to catalyze change for multiple customer levels or segments, often within complex systems of social service delivery:

    For example, initial offerings of food recovery -- intended to advance yield on resources toward the social goal of reduced hunger -- needed to consider fitting catalysts for change among:

    • food recipient “end” customers, plus
    • customers who have recoverable food to provide (e.g., grocers and restaurants),
    • distribution channel customers (e.g., social service agencies),
    • funding source customers, and
    • volunteer labor customers.

    As another example, an offering of instructional improvement intended to advance yield on resources toward a societal goal of student learning (and/or economic goals associated with student learning) may need to consider fitting change catalysts among:

    • student “end” customers, plus
    • teacher and school-leader customers, and
    • additional decision-making customer groups (e.g., school system, parents, and/or taxpayers).
    • the overall political system
  • How hypotheses may involve alternate means to acquire end users' influence.
  • For example, one means is to involve end users in the co-creation of offerings, with the benefit of mutual learning between customer and provider.

    Another example: "(B)uilding a system so low-income families can rate social service programs the way customers rate restaurants on sites like Yelp" ... "If foundations and government agencies began using customer rankings as a criteria when allocating funding to social service programs — that is, if working poor families got to shape the services they needed to get ahead — it would represent a major, and radical, step forward." [2-2]


In combination, these two distinctions can be viewed as a cross-section:

Type of Sustained Change:




Multiple Customer Levels or Segments:

-- End Customer

“ ” “ “

“ ” “ ”

“ “ “ “

-- Other Potential Customer Groups, including service providers, purchasing customers, voters, policymakers, and more.

“ ” “ “

“ ” “ ”

“ ” “ ”



2. Innovation Methods

This sketch is based on three fundamental ideas:

The sketch is not a blueprint. It's to put concrete ideas on the table as a suggestion of possibility. As an overview:

The sketch aims to support participation that is as broad and flexible as it is grounded. In the quest for advances toward societal goals, John Gardner advised: "Be hospitable … Nothing is more decisive for social renewal than mobility of talent."[12]

Faculty and students could be affiliated with a range of disciplines, especially those associated directly with what might be considered the social production system's "industries" (e.g., public health, education, natural resource stewardship, economic development), but including disciplines that contribute specialized knowledge and skill across industries (e.g., information study and systems, management, engineering, and more).

The sketch addresses in turn:

  • sample curricular substance
  • the organizational model of a hub.


a. Sample Curricular Substance

Curricular substance, which would be woven into and throughout a set of innovation methods courses, is addressed within the subheadings of: foundational concepts, knowledge strands, hands-on practice, and discernment.

i. "Social Differential" & Other Foundational Concepts

Similar to the way that the study of quantitative research methods begins with key concepts such as reliability, validity, and the Central Limit Theorem, begin by explicating the foundational concepts that are represented by innovation's organizing principles. Within this, a potential "social differential" is fundamental.

In unpacking the principles, delve into the conceptual aspects of innovation's roots:

  • the concept of resource leverage overall and particularly in the social production system;
  • the social production system and how it relates to, and overlaps with, the commercial production system;
  • the social sector tradition of "interventions"
  • the fit of cultural, political, and socioeconomic dynamics;
  • social innovation's range of offerings, including distinguishing between constants and variations;
  • social innovation's "customers," including multiple levels of customers;
  • the fit of value and values, with respect to both customers and practitioners;
  • core strands of pertinent knowledge;
  • how pertinent knowledge serves as capital and the locations of this knowledge (e.g. in humans, structures, and customers);
  • leading examples of social innovation offerings across social "industries" (e.g, public health, education, natural resources);
  • conceptualizations pertinent to social innovation offerings, which might include those originally associated with developing nations such as: "tiered pricing," "patient capital," and appropriate technology.
See more.

Also, draw continually on the unifying frame of developed first principles as a platform that situates (and facilitates inclusion of) a vast array of theories, bodies of knowledge, and more. For example:

  • complex systems
  • human development
  • principles of teaching and learning
  • behavioral change
  • positive psychology
  • knowledge capital; knowledge management; "big data"
  • design thinking
  • development/design of offerings
  • creative processing (from neuroscience, psychology, and more).


ii. Knowledge Strands

Overall, emphasize the fit of pertinent knowledge of the highest quality as capital within the practice of developing and deploying effective social innovation hypotheses. Consider both "what" knowledge is pertinent and "where" it is located:

What knowledge?
Sample elements of a base on which to continually build, organized by the prototype principles' thematic strands of pertinent knowledge:

See more.

Industry/Operations -- This strand of knowledge is associated with the schools and departments most directly associated with the social production system's respective "industries" (e.g., health, education, natural resources).

The innovation methods programming is not a primary source for this knowledge strand, but rather draws upon the knowledge, emphasizing its focal fit.

For example, with resource leverage occurring within the production system's operations: What is the knowledge that supports the value produced by the social industry? What is the nature of the operations producing the value? Consider, for example, goals, structures, and "customers" :

  • the source and nature of societal aims related to the industry
  • structures and models of operations/enterprises to realize the aims (e.g., for-profit and nonprofit enterprises, government agencies and operational systems, foundations, and more)
  • types and levels of "customers" within operations.

Customer Knowledge -- This begins with the innovator's view of all operational dynamics as transactions. Concretely, who are customers? What do they adopt as "value"? What value do they produce? How do social innovation's multiple types of change (adoption, behavior, and capability) relate to the customer segments/levels?

Human and Social Dynamics -- Consider, as Bruner put it, "how the world is put together from a human and social standpoint." This strand situates leading sources of knowledge about human and social dynamics associated with value, social production, and leverage. It includes both enduring work (e.g., Foucault's Discipline and Punish) and emerging work (e.g., positive psychology's theory of well-being, Crossing the Chasm's pattern of adoption/change, etc.).

Anything & Everything -- With innovation hypotheses as new connections of knowledge, establish the fit of this thematic strand of knowledge in relation to the preceding strands.


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Where is the knowledge located?
Thomas Stewart defined intellectual capital, with reference to commerce, as "organized knowledge that can be used to produce wealth." Stewart's work emphasized the importance of knowing "where to look for" such knowledge, including a three-part classification: in humans, structures, and customers ... and especially in the interplay among these sources.[13]

Human capital, represented by "the capabilities of the individuals required to provide solutions to customers," "matters because it is the source of innovation and renewal."

Structural capital "packages human capital and permits it to be used again and again to create value." Providing for "knowledge that doesn't go home at night," structural capital's structures organize and distribute strategically collected data for:

  • rapid knowledge sharing
  • collective knowledge growth
  • shortened lead times
  • more productive people

For this level of programming, an important structure is peer-reviewed academic research. This curriculum provides the time and place to become facile in accessing and interpreting research-based knowledge, which fits with Clayton Christensen's conception of "integrating and applying" knowledge.

Customer capital is the knowledge buyers and sellers have of each other, rooted in mutual learning and in overall relationships that co-create value:

"If only you knew what your customers want, you could sell more to them. If only your customers knew what you could do, they would buy more from you. … Value creation is more and more a collaboration between buyer and seller."


iii. Sample Hands-on Practice

Students' hands-on work focuses on the innovator's core practice of leveraging knowledge by developing and deploying effective innovation hypotheses, expressed as offerings.

Per the prototype principles, these hypotheses address:

  • "what could be" -- an anchoring change-catalyzing value proposition
  • "how it could become" -- associated hypotheses for an operational/business model

Regular opportunity for hands-on engagement is intended to bring to life as many foundational concepts as possible and can be supported by many existing and emerging innovation models and tools. In fact, the hands-on work can provide practice with selecting models and tools. (See quick reference to a mapping of the tools to the prototype first principles.)

Hands-on engagement also can support finding a personal style of practice, based on varying approaches to the practice:

For example, Tom Kelley, co-founder of the design firm IDEO, emphasizes in his book,The Ten Faces of Innovation that there is more than one productive personal style of attunement to, and engagement with, innovation's purpose. Kelley presents ten different personal orientations (e.g., the anthropologist, the experimenter, the convener, the cross-pollinator) that can lead to the same fundamental sensing of "sharp edges" ... "crying out for improvement."[14]

Team work should be as cross-functional as possible, and some hands-on practice may benefit from purely individual work.

iii. Discernment

The prototype of innovation's organizing principles incorporates the thematic view among thought and action leaders that effective innovation hypotheses draw integrally upon practitioner discernment. For social innovation, discernment may be particularly multi-faceted -- encompassing, for example, creative discernment plus "wisdom" and moral bearings.

Fortunately, existing scholarship addresses the multiple aspects of discernment and its teaching. Curricula for social innovation methods should draw on the best resources available for this element of instruction.

See more.

John Gardner's work provides at least one example of enduring influence. From 1963, Gardner's Self-renewal; the individual and the innovative society speaks to creativity's integration with the moral bearings for helping to lead societal renewal (including understanding the values of ~customers). For prospective practitioners, Gardner argued: "It is not exhortation they need but instruction":

“(W)e must help the individual to re-establish a meaningful relationship with a larger context of purpose. … (O)ne of the reasons young people do not commit themselves to the larger social enterprise is that they are genuinely baffled as to the nature of that enterprise. … They do not see where they fit in. If they are to commit themselves to the best in their own society, it is not exhortation they need but instruction. … We must also help the individual to discover how such commitments may be made without surrendering individuality."[15]

Additional potential resources include:

-- Sternberg incorporates his in-depth work on the topic of wisdom within the WICS model. In WICS, Sternberg's "balance theory of wisdom," includes balancing interests among varying stakeholders and balancing the short and long term.

Sternberg's body of work also addresses the teaching of wisdom.[16] On the importance of its cultivation, Sternberg notes: "Human intelligence has, to some extent, brought the world to the brink. It may take wisdom to find our way around it." [17]

-- Robert Quinn's model for "transformative" change also is pertinent, including its element of moral reasoning. Quinn's concept of leadership of, and participation in, change that is "inner-directed and other-focused" is fundamental to this web site's prototype of innovation's first principles for both commercial and social ends. His work, too, addresses development. [18]

-- Other ideas expressed by innovation thought and action leaders, such as:

  • the force of "truth" (or a "truth force), associated in part with practitioner integrity and moral bearings;
  • the function of empathy;
  • the societal dynamic of "middle level" values, with citizens able to see their "infidelity" to those values;
  • moral leadership, including moral reasoning;
  • moral imagination.

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Finally, social innovation's discernment includes judgement about fitting one's efforts into a broader context of efforts directed at social advances. For example, Bill Drayton has emphasized knowing what has been tried before; students should understand this as a standard of practice and also a valuable aspect of knowledge. Similarly, Gardner wrote:

"Clearheadness does not slay dragons; it only spares us the indignity of fighting paper dragons while the real ones are breathing down our necks. But those are not trivial advantages."[19]


iv. Trajectories of Development

The curricular substance is to support trajectories of learning associated with the programming's dual learning objectives: intelligibility and capability with innovation methods, particularly for social ends. At an overarching level, benchmarks of development might be linked to a model like WICS, featuring the synthesis of creativity, intellectual abilities, and wisdom.

Within that framework, more concrete trajectories of understanding and capability might include:

See more.

  • a natural orientation of inner-direction and other-focus
  • developing and implementing effective innovation hypotheses, based on integrating and applying knowledge from multiple pertinent strands and sources, including from academic research;
  • assessing and testing innovation hypotheses
  • co-creating offerings with customers
  • interpreting research findings and generally relating the methodologies of research and invention to innovation's direct methodology;
  • understanding one's preferred innovation "personas" and related personal strengths
  • understanding one's intrinsic motivators and passionate interests
  • personal creative confidence and discernment;
  • working within cross-functional teams;
  • and more

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c. Organizational Design

In this sketch, a multi-disciplinary hub provides for the above curricular substance.

A hub is to connect the highly dispersed human and knowledge resources associated with social innovation within a university and beyond (including those located at the frontline of the social production system).

A hub might resemble the organizational structure of the University of Michigan's Center for the Study of Complex Systems, with both core and affiliate faculty providing centralized programming for students from all areas of the university.

Facilitated by a developed version of organizing principles, a hub is to support collaborative programming and learning that is as grounded as it is flexible, dynamic, and generative. It's to support synergy. For example:

Overall, a hub for social innovation methods might create the type of synergistic "city" effect of support for robust practice that Steven Johnson describes in Where Great Ideas Come From.[24] With continual virtual and in-person contact, a hub could create a potential social innovation town square. It could become a practice-based destination.




3. Social Innovation Case Studies

Again, a separate page of this site features the learning tool of case studies of three social innovation offerings, viewed through the lens of innovation's organizing principles.

That page begins by reviewing the "social innovation differential" for the principles.

The stories of three successful and scaled-up social innovation examples are based on existing in-depth information about their development and implementation, considered through the lens of the prototype principles.

The examples are:

The link to the separate page is here.




4. Higher Education -- Concluding Comments

Although there have been signs of change in academic programming, social innovation's practice tends to be learned informally and unsystematically, even as its power is badly needed.

In The Innovative University, Clayton Christensen and Henry Eyring argue that the curriculum gap for innovation overall is in accord with the traditional research university "jobs" of discovery, memory, and mentoring, with little attention to the jobs of "integrating and applying" the new discoveries: "Leading innovation is undervalued, as are other forms of scholarship that do not result in traditional publication."[25]

At the same time, some significant proportion of new social system offerings -- or "interventions" -- are generated by university faculty, even as the faculty members, like most any other developer of offerings for this system, probably did not have the benefit of innovation methods preparation. Similarly, there is little or no structured development of expertise for the next generation of faculty or for the students preparing to participate directly in the social system, representing a new generation of frontline leaders.

Additionally, some faculty are focused on the research mission but recognize the output of their work as a valuable input for innovation. As one anecdotal example:

Within a 2011 "Distinguished University Professor" lecture at the University of Michigan, the professor discussed unique longitudinal research results related to a societally articulated U.S. challenge of relatively low incidence of girls preparing for STEM fields. The results revealed many actionable insights (in addition to revealing myths), and the lecturer noted: ~"There's an opportunity here for an intervention."[26]

It may be that these particular research results were channeled in some way to those most likely to leverage them broadly and capably. But I looked around the sparsely-filled auditorium wondering about this connection -- or absence of connection -- between an effective researcher and effective innovation practitioners. Imagine if this prominent researcher and others in the audience knew of a vital hub on campus (or other structured programming) for social innovation methods. The greater likelihood of "rapid knowledge sharing" would fit with the structural capital associated with social innovation programming.





In Sum --

Based on the prototype organizing principles, a grounded and connected innovation learning system holds promise to support societal needs by helping individuals understand how their own interests can align with larger purposes.

The more that the methodology's constants can shine light on its nearly endless variation, the more it seems that learners can access innovation's methods and find in them a deeply personal value. For society, the more that this value is experienced, the more likely it seems that there will be advances in innovation capability.




[1] Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Barbara Schneider, Becoming adult : how teenagers prepare for the world of work, (Basic Books: New York, 2000), p236

[2] Interview with Tavis Smiley, October 2012.

[3] David Henry Feldman, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, and Howard Gardner, Changing the World, A Framework for the Study of Creativity, (Praeger Publishers: Westport, CT, 1994), p 38

[4] Csikszentmihalyi, 1996, p 336

[5] Willingham, 2009, p 67

[6] Clay Shirky, Cognitive Surplus: How Technology Makes Consumers into Collaborators, (The Penguin Press: New York, 2010) 

[7] Peter F. Drucker, Post-Capitalist Society, (Harper Press, 1993), p 46. Drucker held that this conversion is made possible for any skilled craft by way of explicating "organizing principles" and thereby making a practice broadly teachable. Drucker cited the prior examples of engineering and the physician's differential diagnosis.

[7-2] John W. Gardner,Self-renewal; the individual and the innovative society (Harper & Rowe, New York, 1963), p 5, p 7

[7-5] William Damon, Path to Purpose, How Young People Find their Calling in Life (Simon&Schuster: New York, 2008)

[8] Peter F. Drucker, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, (HarperBusiness, 1985), p 27

[11] Judy Estrin, Closing the Innovation Gap, Reigniting the Spark of Creativity in a Global Economy, (McGraw-Hill, 2009)

[12] John W. Gardner, 1963, p 94-95

[13] Thomas A. Stewart, Intellectual Capital (Currency Doubleday: New York, 1997), pp ix, 76, 108, 110

[14] Tom Kelley, The Ten Faces of Innovation, (Currency Doubleday: New York, 2005), p 25

[15] Gardner, 1963

[16] Robert J. Sternberg, Wisdom, Intelligence, and Creativity Synthesized, (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK, 2003)

Robert J. Sternberg, Linda Jarvin, Elena L. Grigorenko, editors, Teaching for Wisdom, Intelligence, and Creativity Synthesized, (Corwin Press: Thousand Oaks, CA, 2009)

[17] Robert J. Sternberg, "Wisdom as a Form of Giftedness," Gifted Child Quarterly, Fall 2000, 44:4, 252-260

[17-5] Csikszentmihalyi and Schneider, 2000, p 236, p234

[18] Robert E. Quinn, Change the World: How Ordinary People Can Accomplish Extraordinary Results, (Jossey Bass: San Francisco, 2000)

[19] Gardner, 1963, p 119

[20] Thomas A. Stewart, Intellectual Capital, (Currency Doubleday: New York, 1997), p 132

[21] C. K. Prahalad and M. S. Krishnan, The New Age of Innovation, (McGraw-Hill: New York, 2008)

[22] Public comments at post-primary celebration for then-gubernatorial-candidate, Rick Snyder, August 2010, Ypsilanti, Michigan

[23]Larry Brilliant, 2010, "Great Conversations," University of Minnesota,

[24] Steven Johnson, Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation, (New York Riverhead Books, 2010), p 76

[25] Clayton M. Christensen and Henry J. Eyring, The Innovative University: Changing the DNA of Higher Education from the Inside Out, (Jossey-Bass: San Francisco, 2011), p 343, pp 368-369

[26] Jacquelynne Eccles, Distinguished University Professor lecture, "Two Roads Diverged in a Yellow Wood," delivered March 14, 2011, University of Michigan