The Future of Collective Innovation

Seminar | February 13 | 11 a.m. | 3110 Etcheverry Hall

 Elizabeth Gerber, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Design and Faculty Founder, Design for America; McCormick School of Engineering; Northwestern University

 Department of Mechanical Engineering (ME)

Socio-technical infrastructure offers remarkable opportunities for improving innovation and the global economy by engaging geographically distributed and diverse individuals to identify, ideate, and implement new ideas, expanding the sources of innovation beyond the formal organization. But it is also possible that collective innovation will fail to achieve its potential by becoming increasingly professionalized potentially raising the expectations for participation and failing to reach out to diverse networks, undermining participation from individuals who participate. Can we foresee a future of collective innovation in which there is broad participation from identification to ideation and ultimately implementation? This talk frames the major challenges that stand in the way of this goal. Drawing on theory from design engineering, social computing, and organizational theory, I outline a framework that will support collective innovation that is inclusive, collaborative, and comprehensive and highlight 4 challenge areas: Roles, Communication, Trust, and Reputation.