Innovation Forum

This post won’t be for everyone, but if you are interested in great technical events happening in Columbus Ohio, read on.

I recently had the privilege of being invited to participate in an Innovation Forum sponsored by the Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University.  Why me you say?  The Professor that is running the program, Mike Bills, is a long time colleague and friend and we frequently discuss wide ranging technology topics including topics near and dear to my heart such as innovation planning, product design and management, and technology trends.

Note:  we also sometimes discuss politics – this never ends well given two individual with widely divergent views. Therefore if you meet Professor Bills, I’d stick to technology topics only.

The purpose of the forum is to:

  • Create a dynamic, heterogeneous group focused on the learning, teaching, adoption and deployment of top-line value creation through new product, service, and process development within leading businesses, and
  • Promote the role of multi-disciplinary collaboration, creative thinking and consumer-centered ideation and incubation, and the process for applying innovation to a wide range of challenges and opportunities facing businesses and our community.

Our first meeting essentially accomplished two things.  First, an explanation was provided of all the University’s offerings around innovation.  The list was impressive and includes the forum, four 800 level courses (BUS M&L 855 – Innovation Practice, etc.), and executive education class (Innovation Practice – New Product & Service Creation For Top-Line Growth), innovation fellowships, and “if” or “Innovation Fisher” which is a graduate student organization within the MBA program chartered to organize internships, consulting engagements, and various other events.

The second task was to start to get to know each other via discussing the forum’s central hypothesis – the Innovation process is of increasing importance because of: 1) a series of disruptive changes to the marketplace, 2) which in turn has caused a shift in control of the purchase process away from manufacturers and towards consumers, 3) resulting in the diminished effectiveness of traditional, core competency based R&D and commercialization of new products and services.  The discussion was lively and wide-ranging with different people weighing in on some of the classic issues regarding innovation:

  • How to manage the innovation process without stifling creative thinking,
  • Should the innovation process include the voice of the customer, or should the customer be ignored (i.e. what does the customer know about innovation!), and
  • How do you get process-centric organizations to think differently and drive innovation around your core businesses.

Indeed a pleasant way to spend the first two hours of the day made all the more pleasant by Fisher’s absolutely first class facilities.  If you are interested in learning more about the innovation forum I suggest you reach out to Professor Mike Bills at Michael Bills

I welcome your comments.
Mike Brannan