In our dynamic and fast-changing world, with global competition and increasing automation, environmental challenges and social inequities, the capability for innovation matters. It matters for firms, for individuals, and for entire societies. This was true before Covid, but the pandemic has only accelerated some of the underlying developments.
For firms, maintaining competitiveness is becoming increasingly difficult. For example, the longevity of companies populating rankings such as the Fortune 500 is declining, increasing the churn among competitors. Consequently, corporate executives today view building innovation capabilities as one of their top strategic priorities for their firms. At the same time, successful innovation appears difficult to achieve. According to a recent study, only six percent of company leaders are satisfied with the current level of innovation performance of their organizations.
For individuals the world of work is changing rapidly. Not only are the number of jobs affected by success or failure of firms, the character of work is also changing due to technology and changing organizational arrangements. About half of all activities performed by the US workforce today are highly susceptible for automation, and it would be technically feasible to automate 2/3 of those activities now with demonstrated technology. (See McKinsey Quarterly)
And for societies, as recent political developments in many developed countries indicate, finding ways to increase employment in ways that are both meaningful and generate a decent pay, is one of the major challenges of our time.
In short, we all need to become better innovators. That’s why I focus my work on helping organizations and individuals to build their innovation capabilities. In my research I focus on creating knowledge to support this capability building activities. Design — with its human-centered ethos — is a particularly well-suited lens through which I am pursuing this goal: innovation by design!
My work includes research, teaching, training, consulting and advising on the topics of innovation and design. I write, speak, and teach on these subjects to audiences ranging from degree students, to faculty, to executives. I also work on developing new teaching materials and tools for learning about innovation, and collaborate with partners from industry and non-profits. On this website you can find various forms of my work (writing, speaking, teaching, innovating, and collaborating). Feel free to check out the “thinking” page for ideas I am currently exploring. And let me know what you think.
After 18 months of the pandemic, the world finds itself in a gigantic experiment on how the return to the office will look like for many of us. As David Gelles wrote in the New York Times this past weekend, the strategies of CEOs for how their organizations will work are almost as numerous as the CEOs.