Innovation as a Process

The 2015 PLL Summit “The Innovation Imperative” features Karl T. Ulrich, Vice Dean of Innovation at Philadelphia’s  Wharton School  of  the University of Pennsylvania, and co-author of Innovation Tournaments: Creating and Selecting Exceptional Opportunities.

In Innovation Tournaments, Ulrich and co-author Christian Terwiesch argue that “innovation can be managed as a process” and provide the analytics and steps to do just that.  Reminding us that “any problem is an opportunity,” they present a detailed guide to the process of developing innovative ideas, winnowing them down, and identifying those that are most likely to be successful.

Along with the several processes involved in filtering innovative ideas, we are reminded that failure is always an option. “Fail early, fail often, and fail inexpensively” is repeated throughout the book. Innovation may not always result in wild success, but the authors contend that the excitement of the team working on the innovation also has a value. We are counseled to “follow a personal passion,” and to look for opportunities to redefine what matters.

While Information Professionals in a legal setting don’t always work in groups large enough to effectively utilize the traditional Innovation Tournament, we do practice our profession in supportive groups that are fertile ground for using (even informally) a tournament.  Association Committees, Special Interest Sections, Chapters, and informal networking groups can all use the form of an Innovation Tournament to successfully identify actionable opportunities for their environment! We know that members of our profession are a wildly creative, innovative group. The Innovation Tournament gives us the focus we need to honestly analyze our ideas to give those which are most likely to succeed the chance they need.  The pay off?  Solving a problem or meeting a need successfully and earning a reputation for wise stewardship of your organization’s resources.

At this year’s PLL Summit, Karl Ulrich will facilitate an Innovation Workshop with Summit attendees, providing attendees an introduction to the tenets of Innovation Tournaments and practical experience in navigating an Innovation Tournament that can be used in a variety of settings.

You won’t want to miss this unique opportunity!  See PLL Summit Registration information here.

-Juli Stahl Hughes, Director of Library Services, Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, LLP


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