Collaborative Leadership For Innovation

Bringing Leaders Together Across Sectors, Research Disciplines And Regions

The Innovation Institute views the process of identifying and securing support from key stakeholders as market testing and validation of a project concept.  The Innovation Institute has played an important role as a convener of critical stakeholders in specific industry clusters and with respect to pressing economic development issues or opportunities.

Our work with entrepreneurs, researchers and government and civic leaders throughout Massachusetts has helped the Innovation Institute develop a unique perspective on the strengths and challenges of different industrial sectors and regions across the state. Through active engagement in the field, we have developed an understanding of the strategic, effective role the Innovation Institute can play to enhance the innovation economy.

Sector-specific collaboration among industry, government and academic leaders helps create conditions which enhance the potential for wealth creation, business formation and job creation at a scale beyond the individual firm. To do so requires, first and foremost, assembling leaders who are disposed to forms of collaborative leadership and engagement which enable the origination, socialization and execution of novel approaches to economic development. How does one recognize an individual who will be capable of collaborative leadership?

Time and again the Innovation Institute has been called upon to initiate, organize, facilitate, support and sponsor specific initiatives which call upon participants to experiment with new forms of leadership and collaboration. Collaborations are most successful when participants embody the following:

Expertise: Collaboration to achieve economic growth centers on achieving and optimizing a competitive advantage in a given industry, sector or market. Therefore, leaders whose acumen and expertise in a given industry is self-evident are excellent contributors.

Collaboration: A genuine dialogue to achieve widespread economic prosperity will fail to materialize unless participants can check their personal, professional and organizational self-interest at the door. This is not a matter of altruism. A community of innovation is predicated on the felt experience, by all involved, that they are enjoined to a conviction of fomenting prosperity.

Passion: Without passion the act of collaborating for economic growth is pre-ordained to produce mediocre impacts.

Patience: When individuals from different professional domains initially converge there is inevitably discomfort as collaborators build a common lexicon and shared purpose. There can be no substitute in the formative stages of building a collaborative leadership team to the experience of affording the time for genuine dialogue. This is when the trust is built that enables the team to reach beyond the ordinary.

Commitment: Leaders who collaborate to stimulate change must appreciate that this is not an act of simply lending one’s name to a masthead. Either there is a commitment to actively participate in the dialogue or there is no genuine commitment.

Disruptive: The innovation process and act of creating competitive advantage at the regional scale is, at its very core, going to disrupt the status quo if it is to produce results Through experience, the Innovation Institute at MassTech has built capacity in the skills needed to recruit, organize and support leaders who view genuine collaboration as the means to improving the economic ecosystem. In countless examples – medical devices, broadband, life sciences, digital games, Tech Hub, manufacturing, marine science and technology, creative economy – our team has produced exceptional impacts because there were authentic leaders whose aspirations could only be fulfilled by stepping into the unfamiliar territory of collaboration so as to make a difference at the scale beyond the individual firm, academic institution or government office.

Through experience, the Innovation Institute at MassTech has built capacity in the skills needed to recruit, organize and support leaders who view genuine collaboration as the means to improving the economic ecosystem. In countless examples – medical devices, broadband, life sciences, digital games, Tech Hub, manufacturing, marine science and technology, creative economy – our team has produced exceptional impacts because there were authentic leaders whose aspirations could only be fulfilled by stepping into the unfamiliar territory of collaboration so as to make a difference at the scale beyond the individual firm, academic institution or government office.

We recognize that innovation is a social process.

Technology and business opportunities emerge through the hard work of people in industry, academia, government, and civil society. Our work seeks to enhance the innovation capacity of people across all of these spheres.

We recognize that great and often unexpected things happen when people come together and talk to each other.

As an often-neutral party and a public agent, we use our convening power to bring together industry, academic, government, and civic leaders to explore, identify, and pursue innovation opportunities.

We recognize that underlying a vibrant industry cluster, there is a community of innovation.

We use our convening power to help us build and strengthen communities of innovation across industries and regions in Massachusetts by bringing people together to develop lasting relationships. Often, these initiatives lead to organized entities.

We recognize that the innovation process varies across industries and regions.

We work closely with our partners to identify and develop industry-specific initiatives that both reflect plausible interpretations of emerging trends and address clearly defined opportunities.

We recognize that serendipity is inherent throughout the innovation process.

Our work seeks to create conditions that increase the likelihood that research outcomes will translate into innovation and that our partners are capable of recognizing and seizing unexpected opportunities.

We recognize that innovation is about the future.

The time horizon of innovation outlasts quarterly market results. As a quasi-public agent, we value and pursue a long-term time horizon in all of our work.

Growing the Research Enterprise

“It’s more than the actual money. The Innovation Institute has provided the glue, the vision, and the competence to enable public and private research colleges and universities to capture new federal research investments and, by helping us grow the research enterprise in Massachusetts, we are creating new opportunities for discovery.” – Jack Wilson former President, University of Massachusetts