MIT to Pioneer Science of Innovation

Irving Wladawsky-Berger in the Wall Street Journal: ““Innovation – identified by MIT economist and Nobel laureate Robert Solow as the driver of long-term, sustainable economic growth and prosperity – has been a hallmark of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology since its inception.” Thus starts The MIT Innovation Initiative: Sustaining and Extending a Legacy of Innovation, the preliminary report of a yearlong effort to define the innovation needed to address some of the world’s most challenging problems. Released earlier this month, the report was developed by the MIT Innovation Initiative, launched a year ago by MIT President Rafael Reif…. Its recommendations are focused on four key priorities.
Strengthen and expand idea-to-impact education and research. Students are asking for career preparation that enables them to make a positive difference early in their careers. Twenty percent of incoming students say that they want to launch a company or NGO during their undergraduate years…
The report includes a number of specific ideas-to-impact recommendations. In education, they include new undergraduate minor programs focused on the engineering, scientific, economic and social dimensions of innovation projects. In research, it calls for supplementing research activities with specific programs designed to extend the work beyond publication with practical solutions, including proof-of-concept grants.
Extend innovation communities. Conversations with students, faculty and other stakeholders uncovered that the process of engaging with MIT’s innovation programs and activities is somewhat fragmented.  The report proposes tighter integration and improved coordinations with three key types of communities:

  • Students and postdocs with shared interests in innovation, including links to appropriate mentors;
  • External partners, focused on linking the MIT groups more closely to corporate partners and entrepreneurs; and
  • Global communities focused on linking MIT with key stakeholders in innovation hubs around the world.

Enhance innovation infrastructures. The report includes a number of recommendations for revitalizing innovation-centric infrastructures in four key areas…..
Pioneer the development of the Science of Innovation. In my opinion, the report’s most important and far reaching recommendation calls for MIT to create a new Laboratory for Innovation Science and Policy –…”