Research and Media

Tag: entrepreneurship

Creating Innovation Strategy using Narrative-Based Methods

Innovate at Iowa State Presents Abram Anders

October 2nd, 4-5 p.m. On-line for Faculty, Staff, Graduate Students

Innovation Leadership and Mindset Workshop

This session will introduce narrative-based design methods developed to support a human-centered approach to creating an innovation strategy and communicating it through mindsets and practices that can impact behavior and performance. After a brief overview, participants will engage in a co-creative workshop based on these methods to explore opportunities and to envision innovation strategies for adaptive leadership at ISU.

Why narrative-based methods?

Recent studies of creativity, innovation, and adaptability have found that a fundamental challenge for organizations is to become ambidextrous in order to both exploit existing capabilities and explore new capacities. Put more simply, organizations must be able to efficiently execute on a strategy in order to perform, while also investing in research and development to innovate. At a basic level, organizational innovation requires a process that supports choosing ideas to pursue, organizing teams to implement these ideas, and completing projects in a way that leads to progress and learning.

A less frequently recognized aspect of effective innovation is the role of abductive reasoning. Recent studies show that highly innovation organizations, teams, and individuals find ways to engage noisy information, search for alternative and intermediary models, and engage in holistic and recursive processes. A key component of abductive reasoning is that deals with developing and evaluating explanations for poorly understood aspects of a problem space.

In order to support adductive reasoning, innovation strategy can be linked to practices of storytelling and narrative creation. We are, perhaps, already familiar with the ways that stories can support strategy through communication and dissemination. A story links a strategy to the reasons it matters in the form of concrete benefits for specific human beings: partners, clients, customers, users, consumers. However, stories can play an equally crucial role in discovering worthwhile problems and opportunities for innovation. Furthermore, storytelling can be crucial to creating the types of unanticipated connections that facilitate novel idea generation and development of effective solutions.

Flagship Fridays: What If – Innovators Forum

I’m excited to announce I will be the host and panel moderator for the inaugural “Flagship Fridays: What If – Innovators Forum” session this Friday, Sep 11th from 12:00 – 1:30 pm hosted by the Student Innovation Center at Iowa State University.

Our President’s “Innovate at Iowa State” panel will include

  • Wendy Wintersteen, President, Iowa State University
  • Rick Sanders, President, Iowa State University Research Park
  • James Oliver, Director, Student Innovation Center

Karen Kerns, Iowa State Entrepreneur in Residence will also share upcoming initiatives and student opportunities created to support the President’s Initiative for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

The Innovators Forum will be hosted ONLINE every Friday during our academic session. Our moderated conversations with Industry Innovators and Leaders will also feature questions from our audience of students, faculty, and professionals.

All events are open to the Public! See the full schedule and register here:

Many thanks to our fearless series leader and co-host, Karen Kerns and our co-organizer and audience moderator, Nacuya Rucker. #innovation #university #leadership #students #livediscussion #iowastate

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