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Learning from innovation managers around the world

June 16-19, 2019 - Innovation managers from around the world convened in Florence, Italy, for the annual conference of the International Society for Professional Innovation Managers (ISPIM). A team from Exaptive was excited to participate in a variety of events, including giving presentations, having thoughtful discussions, and leading a workshop.

Director of Business Development Shannan Callies led a writing paper workshop in the Junior Researcher Lab. Junior researchers used the Cognitive City innovation platform to mine data and analyze the expertise and work streams among the other participating junior researchers. They also used the innovation management software to build complementary, cross-disciplinary teams and write outlines for the next ISPIM event. (You also likely saw Shannan at the Exaptive booth over the course of the conference!)

Data scientist Alanna Riederer presented Transferring Knowledge for Innovation. One way that innovative ideas ignite is through knowledge moving across a community, bridging silos as it does so, and allowing solutions to traverse this new connection. Solutions from each silo can be utilized in the other. For an idea to be shareable in this way, we need to understand the fundamental pieces of the idea, and these pieces must be accessible and easily communicated across the various personas involved. Alanna presented an example of how to pursue this process in a research environment and demonstrated how integrative software can be used as a tool to facilitate this process.

Data scientist Alanna Riederer presents at the ISPIM Annual Conference 2019
Data scientist and mathematician Alanna Riederer presents Transferring Knowledge for Innovation at the annual ISPIM conference in Florence, Italy.

CEO Dave King presented Data Science and Data-Driven Innovation. You can optimize for productivity, or you can optimize for innovation. Most organizations optimize for productivity and leave innovation up to serendipity. But if your job is to facilitate innovation, there are approaches to team building and collaboration that maximize the likelihood of new ideas and breakthroughs. When those approaches are supported by data science and computing power, innovative collaboration can happen at the scale of the organization, consortium, or even entire research community. Many of history’s greatest innovations came from serendipitous encounters that spurred new thinking. In his presentation, Dave explained how these encounters can be facilitated with intention and scaled.

Data scientist Austin Schwinn presented Illuminating Dark Assets to Measure Innovation. Innovation Managers are in charge of facilitating innovation on their team or teams, but there aren’t great measures for keeping track of whether progress is being made. The larger an organization becomes, the more likely it is to develop ‘dark assets.’ Dark assets are the data, people, or other resources that have potential for impact, but no one in the organization knows about them so they can’t be better utilized. With an innovation platform, information about available resources and expertise can be seen at a glance. It becomes easy to see how a person, dataset, or tool fit into the wider team or organization. Austin presented the use-case of a major climate science group in the EU that was able to better plan for the future and pursue more grant funding after seeing the landscape of all their team members and projects.

We first found out about ISPIM in 2018, and have been really impressed that an organization founded 35 years ago to focus on innovation could be so successful over the decades at maintaining an active, growing community of thought-leaders. We consistently find we meet other innovation managers from all over the world and from all different sectors at these events. We learn so much from them! If innovation is important to your job, we highly recommend checking ISPIM out and attending some of their events.