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The theory of innovation is experiencing a great resurgence. There are a number of resources that provide various methods companies and government agencies can use to create an environment encouraging innovative thought. The following are a selection of books, institution, and events that discuss this topic in length. In no way is what is presented exhaustive of what is available. This merely provides a starting place for an innovation novice to begin in their search for more information and a better understanding of an essential topic that will ensure survival in a competitive marketplace.

Books on how to incorporate innovation into business and government agencies

making innovation work book cover

Title: Making Innovation Work: How to Manage It, Measure It, and Profit from It
Author: Tony Davila, Marc J. Epstein, and Robert Shelton

Making Innovation Work presents a formal innovation process proven to work at HP, Microsoft and Toyota, to help ordinary managers drive top and bottom line growth from innovation. The authors have drawn on their unsurpassed innovation consulting experience -- as well as the most thorough review of innovation research ever performed. They'll show what works, what doesn't, and how to use management tools to dramatically increase the payoff from innovation investments. Learn how to define the right strategy effective innovation; how to structure an organization to innovate best; how to implement management systems to assess ongoing innovation; how to incentivize teams to deliver, and much more.

the art of innovation book cover

Title: The Art of Innovation
Author: Tom Kelley

In The Art of Innovation, Tom Kelley, general manager of the Silicon Valley based design firm IDEO, takes readers behind the scenes of this wildly imaginative and energized company to reveal the strategies and secrets it uses to turn out hit after hit. In entertaining anecdotes, Kelley illustrates some of his firm's own successes (and joyful failures), as well as pioneering efforts at other leading companies. The book reveals how teams research and immerse themselves in every possible aspect of a new product or service, examining it from the perspective of clients, consumers, and other critical audiences.

cradle to cradle book cover

Title: Cradle to Cradle
Authors: William McDonough and Michael Braungart

The authors are partners in an industrial design firm that devises environmentally sound buildings, equipment and products. They argue that conventional, expensive eco-efficiency measures things like recycling or emissions reduction are inadequate for protecting the long-term health of the planet. TShe authors propose a new approach they've dubbed "eco-effectiveness": designing from the ground up for both eco-safety and cost efficiency.

The Green Collar Economy book cover

Title: The Green Collar Economy
Author: Van Jones

In The Green Collar Economy, acclaimed activist and political advisor Van Jones illustrates how we can invent and invest our way out of the pollution-based grey economy and into the healthy new green economy. Built by a broad coalition deeply rooted in the lives and struggles of ordinary people, this path has the practical benefit of both cutting energy prices and generating enough work to pull the U.S. economy out of its present death spiral.

Innovations in Government book cover

Title: Innovations in Government
Author: Sandford Borins

What is the future of government innovation? How can innovation enhance the quality of life for citizens and strengthen democratic governance? Innovations in Government: Research, Recognition, and Replication answers these questions by presenting a comprehensive approach to advancing the practice and study of innovation in government. The authors discuss new research on innovation, explore the impact of several programs that recognize innovation, and consider challenges to the replication of innovations.

Blue Ocean Strategy book cover

Title: Blue Ocean Strategy
Author: W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne

This book challenges everything you thought you knew about the requirements for strategic success; W. Chan Kim and Rene Mauborgne argue that cutthroat competition results in nothing but a bloody red ocean of rivals fighting over a shrinking profit pool. Based on a study of 150 strategic moves spanning more than a hundred years and thirty industries, the authors argue that lasting success comes not from battling competitors, but from creating "blue oceans": untapped new market spaces ripe for growth. Such strategic moves-which the authors call "value innovation"- create powerful leaps.

Sustaining Innovation: Creating Nonprofit and Government Organizations that Innovate Naturally book cover

Title: Sustaining Innovation: Creating Nonprofit and Government Organizations that Innovate Naturally
Author: Paul C Light

This book is about innovation that occurs more than once. It shows how to take the first steps towards innovativeness, see how to survive the inevitable mistakes and the tools for keeping the edge once the journey is complete. It also describes the different pressures faced in the government and that the government mist challenge the prevailing wisdom and advance the public good.

The Silver Lining: An innovation Playbook for Uncertain Times book cover

Title: The Silver Lining: An innovation Playbook for Uncertain Times
Author: Scott Anthony

This book shows how innovations flourished despite the tough economic climate of their time. Silver Lining looks to drive fresh growth by re-featuring existing products and services and reinventing outdated processes; mitigate risks by conducting strategic experiments and forging alliances with customers, competitors and suppliers. (The author is the president of innovation consultancy Innosight. Author of The Innovator’s Guide to Growth (Harvard Business Press, 2008), and coauthor of Seeing What’s Next (Harvard Business Press, 2004))

The Triple Helix: University - Industry - Government Innovations in Action book cover

Title: The Triple Helix: University - Industry - Government Innovations in Action
Author: Henry Etzkowitz

The Triple Helix describes assists students, researchers, and policymakers in addressing such questions as: How do we enhance the role of universities in regional economic and social development? How can governments, at all levels, encourage citizens to take an active role in promoting innovation in innovation and, conversely, how can citizens so encourage their governments? How can firms collaborate with each other and with universities and government to become more innovative? What are the key elements and challenges to reaching these goals?

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University Courses Teaching Innovation

Courses offered at Harvard University related to Innovation

  • Innovations in Democratic Governance: Solving Public Problems
  • Effective Implementation: Learning from Effective Implementers
  • Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Learning
  • Science, Technology, Innovation, and Public Policy
  • Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Public, Private, and Social Sectors
  • Leading Innovative Ventures

For more informatuon:
A Guide to Cources Related to Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School (PDF) (50 pp, 381K, About PDF) Exit EPA Disclaimer

Massachusetts Institute of Technology course related to Innovation

  • Innovation in the Internet Age: Emerging
  • Disruptive Technologies: Predator or Prey

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Institutes and Centers for Innovation Research

Harvard Kennedy School Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation Exit EPA Disclaimer

The Ash Institute fosters excellence in government around the world in order to generate and strengthen democracy. Through its research, publications, curriculum support, and Global Network, the Ash Institute explores critical issues in democratic practice and effective governance. The Ash Institute also administers the Innovations in American Government Awards Program. The Program identifies and promotes best practices and exemplary projects that can be adopted in other settings, providing public officials and senior executives with innovative leadership models. Since 1986, over 300 programs have been recognized and nearly $20 million in grants have been awarded.

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Events and Seminars

Stanford Graduate School of Business Center for Social Innovation Exit EPA Disclaimer

As an institution, the Stanford Graduate School of Business believes that business schools have a responsibility to teach students to be innovative, principled, and insightful leaders who can change the world. The Center leverages Stanford's knowledge, expertise, and networks, bringing community leaders together with our faculty, students, and alumni to address social problems on several fronts. The center is housed in Stanford’s School of Business. There are periodical webinars or longer seminars for interested people who do not attend the college.

Business Strategies for Environmental Sustainability Exit EPA Disclaimer

October 24-30 2010
Application deadline: September 13, 2010
Location: Stanford Sierra Conference Center

The program is designed to cover a range of issues on the topic of sustainability that are central to those who are leading sustainability initiatives in their roles as leaders in business, government, public agencies, and environmental advocacy organizations.

GreenBiz Innovation Forum Exit EPA Disclaimer

October 19-20, 2010
Location: San Francisco, CA

The GreenBiz Innovation Forum is the first event for global companies focusing on how to embed innovation into their DNA to achieve both environmental and business goals. It features an innovative program, combining world-class discussions, facilitated workshops, hands-on exercises, and small-group consultation to provide you with insights and tools that can be put to work inside any company.

The Brookings Institute Exit EPA Disclaimer

Inside Congress: Understanding Congressional Operations Exit EPA Disclaimer
September 10-14, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

Walk the corridors of the Capitol and witness the legislative process for yourself with this fast-paced, in-depth course. Hear from members of Congress, congressional staffers, journalists and advocates and observe the House and Senate floor action as you explore how bills are initiated, written and passed. Speakers highlight current national policy issues and explain the importance of the committee process, floor procedure, advocacy and the relationship between Congress and the media. Your new knowledge of Congress will help you advance your legislative agenda long after your week on Capitol Hill has ended.

Creative Leadership: Fostering the Mindset of Innovation
April 12, 2010
Location: Washington, DC

Attend this high-energy, interactive workshop and learn how to grow your great ideas and effectively communicate your vision. Innovation expert Chic Thompson demonstrates that collaboration, improvisation, and reflection are essential to cultivating creativity. Learn how to unleash a new and productive energy in your organization through techniques designed to keep your brain alive.

Innovative Business Practices for the Public Sector Exit EPA Disclaimer
November 15-19, 2010
Location: Washington, DC

Take advantage of this rare opportunity to learn from the best in the business world with visits to the headquarters of today's most innovative companies. Tap into some of the best minds in the private sector and learn how corporate leaders deal with some of the same challenges facing federal agencies, including human capital issues, organizational turnaround, technological advances, change management, and effective communication.

Are Green Expo 2011 Exit EPA Disclaimer

April 2011
Location: Washington, DC
Conference & Expo Show for Alternative Energy and Green Industries. Its main objective is to call all the companies that have an innovative offer for the technological environmental transformation. It is the perfect launching platform for any product, service, initiative or project in the Renewable Energy and Green Industries at a corporate as well as a consumer level .

Science and Technology Policy Issues Exit EPA Disclaimer

June 20-24, 2011
Locations: Washington, DC

Explore how the U.S. government deals with science and technology-related policy issues, and discuss ways to foster federal agencies' creativity, innovation, and effectiveness. Hear directly from renowned scientists on their new discoveries, and learn whether the political environment threatens or supports current R&D and policies.

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Online Resources related to encouraging innovative thought in government

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