Why all this hype about “innovation”? Why are all organizations large and small devoting increasing amounts of attention and resources to it? Is it just a fad or is there something deeper behind it? In this session we will discuss the broader shifts that can partially explain this interest in innovation—including whether “innovation” as a concept is useful at all. In particular, we will explore how the world has evolved, demanding more complex and systemic types of innovation, for which existing organizations and business models are not well suited. We will also discuss what this means for how organizations should be thinking about their innovation efforts.
SPEAKER BIO: Rodrigo Canales does research at the intersection of organizational theory and institutional theory, with a special interest in the role of institutions for economic development. Specifically, Rodrigo studies how individuals are affected by and in turn purposefully change complex organizations or systems. Rodrigo's work explores how individuals’ backgrounds, professional identities, and organizational positions affect how they relate to existing structures and the strategies they pursue to change them. His work contributes to a deeper understanding of the mechanisms that allow institutions to operate and change. Rodrigo has done work in entrepreneurial finance and microfinance, as well as in the institutional implications of the Mexican war on drugs. His current research is divided in three streams. The first focuses on the structural determinants of the quality of startup employment. The second, in partnership with the Hewlett Foundation, explores the conditions under which development policies and practices are built upon and incorporate existing, rigorous evidence. The third, with generous support from the Merida Initiative, explores how to build effective, resilient, and trusted police organizations in Mexico. Rodrigo teaches the Innovator Perspective at Yale SOM; he sits in the advisory board of the Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at MIT; he spent the 2014-2015 academic year advising the Mexican government on the US-Mexico bilateral relationship; and sits in the Board of Trustees of the Nature Conservancy.