The Innovation Capability of an organization determines how effective it can contribute to the innovation chain. Universities and research centers are expected to be a very strong partners for innovation, as the development of new ideas and knowledge is in the core of their organizational mission. But reality shows that innovation is a complex business especially if several organizations are involved. Being a reliable partner for innovation in this context is a competence that has to be developed and can not be expected to be mature even if researchers are experts in their scientific fields – and what are the essentials for being a good partner for collaboration? Several organizations have realized that they need additional competences to be more effective in transferring knowledge and technologies. But an organization is a complex system based on individual competences but also on structures and processes. So, raising the innovative capacity of an organization requires to improve these structures and processes. And same challenge applies not only to the academia – industry interface, as also the academia – society interface requires the capability for collaboration and efficient knowledge transfer for societal innovation.
Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA) and Adaptive Management for Innovation Capability Development
The development approaches of the Innovation Capability Center in the field of knowledge transfer, research valorization and innovation are highly in line with the ideas of Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation PDIA. We understand all developments as highly contextualized with a strong need for local solutions of problems that require exploration, experimentation and failures as well. We do not believe that brute force copies of external best practices, tons of foreign “lecture style” trainings or huge investments in infrastructure without real adaptation to the local systems will help to generate sustainable societal and economic impact of research driven activities.
The tools and methods of the Innovation Capability Center follow the ideals addressed in the Doing Development Differently (DDD)-Manifesto and they are conformant to the principles of PDIA. They are supporting iterative continuous management approaches that can be adapted to any maturity level of organizations and are driven in a bottom up fashion, like the ISO/IEC standard conformant process reference model innoSPICE. Our center wants to complement input-output driven approaches. According to our experiences, conventional evaluation methods might be misleading for developing innovation systems. We provide sensitive instruments in capability development which feed small initiatives with space and conditions they need to grow. Our methods are also in line with the ideas of Adaptive Management as it is promoted e.g. by organizations like USAID and the ideas of Collaborate, Learn and Adapt (CLA).