Networks of Innovation

From Santa Fe Institute Events Wiki

Summer School on Global Sustainability

This series of lectures explores the role of networks in the innovation process—first in the generation of new ideas and the recognition of new opportunities and, second, in the execution of those ideas—and the implications for innovations advancing global sustainability.

Networks of Innovation, I
The challenges of idea generation and opportunity recognition remains one of the least understood capabilities of individuals and organizations. Professor Hargadon combines evidence from historic and modern innovations in "sustainable" technologies to examine the dynamics of innovation and provide a theory that builds less on the scientific breakthrough and creative genius and more on the ability of individuals and organizations to exploit their networks to create innovations from existing resources and opportunities.

Networks of Innovation, II
The difference between successful and failed ventures is often determined by the subtle but critical details of their design and execution. Using historic and current cases of successful and failed innovations, Professor Hargadon provides framework for understanding how design and execution affect the success of both change efforts in sustainability, and outlines successful strategies that individuals and firms have used to advance new technological platforms.

Some additional readings on some of the topics I talk about in these lectures:

How Breakthroughs Happen, this book sums up my early research on the networks driving innovation.

FastCompany Article, this article describes the UC Davis Energy Efficiency Center and our networked approach to fostering innovation.

The diffusion of innovation, a quick synopsis of the "Diffusion of Innovations" literature, which is valuable but, alas, we won't have time to go into in these lectures. The longer and more comprehensive read is Everett Rogers, Diffusion of Innovations

Green Tech Entrepreneurship Academy, for a quick description of the Green Technology Entrepreneurship Academy. For more information about this program, go here

When Innovations Meet Institutions: Edison and the Design of the Electric Light, is the study which looks at how Edison, in order to enable adoption of his system, went to great lengths to reduce the differences between his new electric light and the incumbent gas lighting system.

American Genesis, by Thomas Hughes and one of the truly great histories of technological evolution and how it shaped our country. A must read for someone wanting to alter or displace the systems this evolutionary process has left us with.

For more suggested readings on the management, on innovation and entrepreneurship, and on business history, I've compiled a set of lists here