Exploring the role of team science in innovation
6/21/2013 - Consider any of the modern miracles within your reach and you're most likely looking at the product of sustained teamwork. Indeed, breakthroughs and transformative products are rarely the work of an individual. Instead, they are typically the result of dedicated experts who commit months or years to research and development, testing—and building on one another's ideas.
This reality makes an organization's ability to establish and maintain a constructive setting for teamwork a critical component of innovation and productivity. Although research labs and high-tech start-ups might be the first examples that come to mind, any organization that depends on collaboration and knowledge sharing—think the shop floors of automobile manufacturers, professional services firms, and supply chain and logistics companies—has an interest in architectures of collaboration.
What's more, to remain competitive, business, academia, government, and nonprofits need to ensure that their approach to collaboration harnesses the collective intellectual power of their workforce. It's a challenge made more difficult by the rapid evolution of team interaction over the past decade. Decentralized teams have given way to a globally dispersed workforce, connected by emerging technologies. Most companies are still looking for a mode of interaction that matches the impact of face-to-face engagement. In this environment, leaders must constantly adapt their strategies, processes, and technology to maintain a productive environment.
The emerging field of team science is focused on research and findings on how to optimize collaboration, and Kellogg has taken a leadership role in building a knowledge base in this area. The Science of Team Science (SciTS) conference
, was created as a forum for academics and practitioners to share the latest research on effective strategies to support team science. In this way, the SciTS conference serves as a bridge between the science of team science and its practical application by organizations.
This year's SciTS conference,"Architecting Collaboration," was organized by Northwestern School of Communications professor Noshir Contractor and Kellogg professor Brian Uzzi and will be held in Evanston on June 24–27. The agenda features a keynote address by Kellogg professor Ben Jones, panel discussions with leading experts, and opportunities for attendees to build valuable skills in team learning and collaboration. Key topics will include the role of big data and social networks in facilitating engagement. For more information on the SciTS conference agenda, speakers, and topics, click here