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Kevin Desouza named director of Virginia Tech’s Metropolitan Institute – Press Release

Virginia Tech released the following press release on my new role at the University (Click here to access the press release - LINK).

NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION, Aug. 18, 2011 – Kevin Desouza has been named director of theMetropolitan Institute, a center in theSchool of Public and International Affairs in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies at Virginia Tech.

Desouza was most recently an associate professor at the University of Washington’s Information School and has held adjunct appointments in the university’s College of Engineering and at the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs.

"Dr. Desouza's experience with major international corporations and government organizations on strategic management issues will be a great asset to the college and the university," said Jack Davis, the Reynolds Metals Professor of Architecture and dean of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies.

Based in the National Capital Region, the Metropolitan Institute fosters basic and applied research on designing, planning, and governing of livable, sustainable,and economically-viable urban spaces. The institute also publishes several publications including the journal Housing Policy Debate.

Desouza’s work is internationally recognized and he has conducted research and lectured across the world. He holds a visiting professorship at the University of Ljubljana and has held past appointments at the Center for International Studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science and the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, among others.

In addition to his professorship, Desouza founded two research institutes at the University of Washington, the Institute for National Security and Research, and the Institute for Innovation in Information Management.

Desouza has authored, co-authored, and/or edited nine books and over 90 articles. He has also been invited to advise and consult for several major international corporations and government organizations, focusing on strategic management issues ranging from management of information systems, to crisis management. He has given over 40 invited talks and received over $1.2 million in research funding from both public and private organizations. He is also a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (UK). Desouza received his Ph.D. from the Liatuad Graduate School of Business at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

In addition to directing the Metropolitan Institute, he will also hold an associate professor appointment at the Center for Public Administration and Policy in the School of Public and International Affairs in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies at Virginia Tech. He is also serving on the Presidential Task Force working on Virginia Tech's long range plan.

He will be moving to the National Capital Region in August to begin his new position.

Virginia Tech’s College of Architecture and Urban Studies is composed of four schools: the School of Architecture + Design, including architecture, industrial design, interior design and landscape architecture; the School of Public and International Affairs, including urban affairs and planning, public administration and policy and government and international affairs; the Myers-Lawson School of Construction, which includes building construction in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies and construction engineering management in the College of Engineering; and the School of the Visual Arts, including programs in studio art, visual communication and art history.

 

Intrapreneurship: Managing Ideas within Your Organization – New Book

My latest book will be released in the Fall by the University of Toronto Press.

Description:

As an employee, you suspect that your best ideas are valuable and could greatly benefit your organization. Management also recognizes that a company's ability to compete is contingent on how well it leverages its employees' ideas. So, why are individuals at all levels of organizations typically poor advocates for ideas? Intrapreneurship provides an engaging guide for both managers and employees on how to direct the flow of ideas and foster a culture of entrepreneurship within their company's existing structure. Based on my research and experience consulting with thirty global organizations, Intrapreneurship outlines ways to mobilize all types of ideas - including blockbusters with the potential to create radically new external products and services, and more incremental innovations for improving internal processes. With practical frameworks and real life examples for both employees and managers, Intrapreneurship will help you to identify the value in your own ideas and those of others to ultimately benefit your organization.

Reviews:

You cannot stay competitive and lead your industry unless you mine the potential within your own organization. Desouza makes the case for identifying and empowering talent to steward innovation from within. Intrapreneurship will help you tap your company's greatest potential.
---Scott Belsky, CEO of Behance, National Bestselling Author of Making Ideas Happen

We are an organization that has built a reputation for innovative products that are game changers. Innovation calls for tenacity and rigor. Intrapreneurship is filled with ideas and solutions that will enable you to build a robust innovation program that is embraced by every employee in your organization. It is a must read for executives who want to distinguish their organizations by their capacity to harness ideas in each and every employee. Read it, now!
---Keith Allman, President, Delta Faucet Company

Intrapreneurship offers a fresh and timely perspective on how to harness – and not kill – the power of innovation that exists inside every organization – including nonprofits.  In his book, Desouza masterfully weaves academic research together with real life stories across industries to show us how to foster innovation and turn the best ideas into reality.  His fusion of innovation and implementation into a single, pragmatic intrapreneurship framework is where the magic happens. This book is a must read for employees and leadership alike whether you are trying to increase profits, save the world, or both.
---Neal Myrick, Executive Director, Groundwire

In corporate America, brilliant ideas that make it to market often seem like serendipitous events, and often they were. An idea found its way through the territorial land mines of the organization that more often sabotage innovation. In the world of annual capital budgets, large scale initiatives and dash boards that drive our incentive compensation, how do we as leaders foster a reliable and safe culture where innovation gets plenty of oxygen? Desouza in Intrapreneurship provides an excellent framework to foster such a culture. More importantly, this framework calls us to be servant leaders, to be leaders that help our organizations harness the intellectual power of our employees and to say “we appreciate your ideas, we welcome your ideas, we make it possible for you to work on your ideas”. Innovation need not be a serendipitous happening. It can be baked into our organizations as a competency. Desouza provides us an excellent guide to help us build and nourish an Intrapreneurship competency in our organizations.
---Weldon "Butch" Leonardson, SVP & CIO, Boeing Employees Credit Union (BECU)

Intrapreneurship is a driven from the bottom-up based upon employee initiatives. Desouza argues that ideas are at the heart of intrapreneurship. He richly illustrates his ideas from today’s businesses and incorporates theory to develop a roadmap from conception to products and services. The continuing process is: generation and mobilization, advocacy and screening, experimentation, commercialization, diffusion and implementation.  There is no silver bullet, but a rationale organizational process. Desouza challenges the thinking executive to go beyond the usual organizational notions to a new way of thinking about how to realize intrapreneurship in your firm.
---Dr. Richard M. Burton, The Fuqua School of Business, Duke University

Innovation is a key strategic priority for most large companies, and most executives today have realized they cannot just give responsibility for innovation to their R&D group or their business development team - they need to make innovation everyone’s job. But how do you do that?  The evidence suggests most companies actually do a terrific job of killing off the entrepreneurial endeavors of their would-be innovators, through their standardized procedures and risk-averse mentalities.  Kevin Desouza’s book, Intrapreneurship: Managing Ideas within Your Organization, provides the solution.  He gives guidance to the people with bright ideas, to help them build support and get their ideas taken seriously, and he offers advice on how to manage and organize a company to give these would-be intrapreneurs as much support as possible. Drawing from his own practical experience as well as decades of academic research, Desouza’s book is a must-read in companies that care about making innovation everyone’s job.
---Julian Birkinshaw, Professor of Strategic and International Management, London Business School, co-founder of the Management Innovation Lab (MLab), Fellow of the Advanced Institute of Management Research (UK), and author of Reinventing Management (2010)

As competition intensifies globally, no corporation can afford to ignore the potential of corporate entrepreneurs, or ‘intrapreneurs’, to drive growth and continual renewal. Desouza provides a new look and important contribution to the field of innovation, and he does so in a way that should be of keen interest to executives, intrapreneurs and aspiring intrapreneurs across industries. Not only does Desouza explore new territory, he does so in a highly readable, applied manner drawing from both research and practice. Intrapreneurship will enable employees and managers to overcome typical, and costly, roadblocks faced when transforming ideas into commercially viable products and services.
---Robert Wolcott, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Kellogg Innovation Network, Northwestern University

By proactively engaging managers and employees in the innovation process Desouza shows organizations how to successfully move ideas from concept through to implementation.  Enabling them to harness the power of their own ideas to reduce costs, improve efficiency and generate new business growth. Desouza uses real world examples, personal insight and research to illustrate how it is done. Desouza’s book provides a pragmatic and realistic roadmap for transforming the way organizations generate and implement new ideas, internally and externally. The book provides a simple and reliable process for building Intrapreneurship as a core competency.  Executives, managers and intrapreneurs will benefit from applying the principles and practices outlined in the book to achieve an innovation edge.
---Susan Foley, author of Entrepreneurs Inside, Managing Partner, Corporate Entrepreneurs, LLC.

Are you frustrated with the fact that companies often talk about the need to generate and collect their employee’s ideas, but in reality they lack tangible tools and processes to efficiently leverage these ideas into real projects and products? Despair no more! In his new book Desouza shows us how innovative companies do not only promote generation of ideas, but encourage the entrepreneurial spirit of their employees by supporting their efforts to develop and commercialize their ideas, both internally and also externally.  This book is a must for all managers who are struggling to design effective innovation processes and for employees who want to learn the science, and art, of pursuing ideas to their full potential inside their organization.
---Miloš Ebner, Direktor strateškega inoviranja/ Chief Innovation Officer

Speaking at Talent Management Strategies: A Series for Human Resource Executives

I will be leading a workshop on knowledge management, focusing on designing sustainable knowledge management programs for talent management on June 7, 2011. My talk is sponsored by PLS Consulting as part of their Talent Management Strategies Series for HR Executives. The workshop will enable HR practitioners to:

  • Build and lead a knowledge management program given the business strategy, goals and objectives of your organization.
  • Design a knowledge management program that leads to sustainable business value.
  • Identify, manage, and leverage valuable knowledge as intellectual assets.
  • Identify and choose among various technology options for managing knowledge.
  • Manage the grayness of the workforce through retaining valuable knowledge within the organization.
  • Engage employees through the Human Resource function of the organization in knowledge creation, sharing, and re-use.

Complexity, Policy Informatics, and Public Administration

Erik Johnston (Arizona State University), Qian Hu (University of Central Florida), and I have completed a paper for the Governance of Complex Systems: Challenges of Making Public Administration and Complexity Theory Work Workshop to be held in Rotterdam, Netherlands in June 2011.

How the Application of Complexity and Policy Informatics to Public Administration can Change the Questions we Ask and the Solutions we Discover


We argue for introducing complexity theory to public administration because it allows us to exploit new connections, to raise new questions, and to explore innovative approaches to governance and management. To support more regular, effective, and defensible use of complexity as a contribution to policy-making, public administration scholars must continue to build supporting evidence. In this paper, first, we reflect on why existing analysis frameworks create structural blind spots for understanding governance practice. Second, using examples from our own research and professional experience we demonstrate that a complexity approach allows new questions to be asked that directly connect to policy problems and facilitate decision making in a cost effective manner. Third, we explore a number of factors including practical strategies and ethical concerns that may encourage or preclude the use of a complexity framework and method in policy settings. And finally, this paper calls on public administration scholars to be thoughtfully aware of and ethically responsible for the consequences of the use of complexity methods in research and practice.

Johnston, E., Desouza, K.C., & Hu, Q. “How the Application of Complexity and Policy Informatics to Public Administration can Change the Questions we Ask and the Solutions we Discover,” A Paper for Governance of Complex Systems: Challenges of Making Public Administration and Complexity Theory Work, Rotterdam, Netherlands, June 23-25, 2011.

How Not to Silence the Resistance – Strategic Direction

My article with Nicholas D. Sweers II, Shh! It’s vive la re´sistance..., which was originally published in the Journal of Business Strategy, is featured in the current issue of Strategic Direction.

Moldova’s Internet Revolution accepted for Technology Forecasting and Social Change

Volodymyr V. Lysenko, my doctoral student, and I have a paper accepted for publication at Technology Forecasting and Social Change. This paper examines the role that information and communication technologies played in Moldova's Revolution.

Moldova’s Internet Revolution: Analyzing the Role of Technologies in Various Phases of the Confrontation

Abstract: In recent times we have witnessed the fundamental impacts that information and communication technologies (ICTs) have had on the outcomes of contentious political confrontations. In this paper, we analyze the role played by Internet-based and cellular ICTs in Moldova’s Revolution of April 2009. Specifically, we identify what, why, and how technologies were used during various phases of the uprising. Our findings show that: 1) the protesters organized their initial mobilization through social network services (SNS) and short message service (SMS); 2) Twitter was mostly used during later phases of the revolution – the active street protests and the subsequent information war -- for communication about the conflict both locally and globally; and 3) through skillful use of new Internet-based ICTs, it is possible to conduct a successful revolution without noticeable prior offline organization. Theoretical and practical implications for the study of ICTs in contentious political environments are also discussed.

 

8 Ways to Democratize Experimentation: HBR Blog

My third post on the Harvard Business Review site went live today. The post was written in collaboration with H. James Wilson and is titled, 8 Ways to Democratize Experimentation. Building on our previous post on experimentation, in this post, we offer 8 tips for organizations to consider as they try to infuse experimentation as part of every employee's work.

  1. Increase managerial attention.
  2. Train employees on the basics of conducting experiments.
  3. Accept that experimentation is a messy and untidy process.
  4. Deploy organizational resources and assets to give employees the time and space to experiment with their ideas.
  5. Build a process whereby experiments can be conducted in a systematic manner.
  6. Create a platform or bulletin board.
  7. Give intrinsically motivated experimenters the same care provided to "sanctioned," large-scale experiments.
  8. Start a working papers and presentation series for both researchers and practitioners.

 

We would love to hear your comments on the ideas presented.

Information Systems “Backsourcing”: A Framework for Knowledge Re-integration

Akshay Bhagwatwar (Indiana University), Ray Hackney (Brunel University) and I have authored a paper that appears in the current issue of Information Systems Management. The paper examines the knowledge re-integration challenges that organizations face as they try to take back previously outsourced IT operations.

Backsourcing is motivated by opportunities arising from changes in the business situation, redefinition of the character of outsourced service declining in quality or due to the discovery of flaws in the contract. The situation of backsourcing clearly has major implications for an organization in terms of monetary investments, IS infrastructure and changes in employee requirements during and after the process. The paper considers a detailed analysis of two case studies of backsourcing reported from JP Morgan Chase (USA) and Sainsbury (UK). A major contribution of the paper is to identify important strategies to be followed in backsourcing projects to ensure efficient knowledge re-integration.

Bhagwatwar, A., Hackney, R. & Desouza, K. C. (2011). Considerations for  Information Systems “Backsourcing”: A Framework for Knowledge Re-integration. Information Systems Management, 28(2), 165-173

To access the paper, please click here: LINK

Knowledge Transfer Behaviors and Social Networks: A Co-evolution Framework

Yuan Lin, my doctoral student, and I have a paper accepted for presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management in San Antonio, Texas (August 12-16, 2011).

Individuals’ Knowledge Transfer Behaviors and Social Networks: A Co-evolution Framework

The boom of the network concept in organizational research has resulted in a growing interest in the interplay between organizational members’ knowledge transfer and their social network structure. This paper treats such interplay as a co-evolution process and lay out a theoretical framework, CO-evolution of Individuals and Networks (COIN), to facilitate its modeling. Using a simplified example, we identify the components of a co-evolution model that should be constructed based on substantive theories: cross-level causal mechanisms, network structural factors, individual heterogeneity and autonomy, the relationships among model assumption, inputs and outputs. COIN synthesizes theoretical or empirical evidence that can help construct these components from multiple disciplines (e.g., organizational research, statistics, physics, economics, and sociology). It decomposes the co-evolution process into key constructs and mechanisms and organizes existing theories around them. It also exposes gaps in related work which once filled can facilitate studies on network-behavior co-evolutio

Lin, Y.A., and Desouza, K.C. “Individuals’ Knowledge Transfer Behaviors and Social Networks: A Co-evolution Framework,” In Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, San Antonio, TX (August 12-16, 2011).