Academic Focus: Innovation Clubs

by | Sep 17, 2012 | Academic Focus, Evaluation Ideas, Inside the Box Innovation, Subtraction, The Economist | 0 comments

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) wants business schools to do more to support innovation. It wants schools to reinvent curricula to be more integrative and convene executive programs that create new ideas and networks. “Through outreach activities, such as business plan competitions, student consulting projects, and business incubators, business schools’ activities contribute directly to innovation in the communities they serve.”

One things schools can do to foster innovation is to create a student innovation club. These clubs create a sense of belonging, instill a sense of identity and purpose, and they extend learning beyond the traditional classroom. Innovation clubs are a great way for corporate practitioners, innovation consultants, and venture capitalists to get involved and tap into a source of innovation talent.

Here are some examples of innovation clubs from around the U.S.:

  • Columbia Business School: The Innovation + Creativity in Business Society is a professional
    organization with the goal to build a
    community of business leaders focused on the power of creative problem
    solving and idea generation.
  • MIT Sloan School of Management: The mission of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Club is to reignite the spirit of entrepreneurship and to offer an intimate support system for entrepreneurs at Sloan.
  • UCMK Bloch School of Management: The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Club, also known as the EI Club, is an organization for students, run by students, facilitating the growth of entrepreneurship and innovation across the entire UMKC campus and the Kansas City metropolitan area. The EI club offers seminars with renowned speakers based in the Kansas City-area, networking opportunities, and entrepreneurial and innovation advising.
  • Stanford Graduate School of Business: The Social Innovation Club serves GSB students interested in exploring innovative ways to tackle the world’s most pressing social challenges and improving livelihoods for low-income populations domestically and internationally. The club believes that businesses can excel with more than one bottom line and that private sector approaches can help nonprofit and governmental organizations catalyze their impact.
  • University of Cincinnati Lindner College of Business: The mission of The Entreprenuership Club is to create a world-class center for entrepreneurship education, research, and service, provide a forum to educate students who seek to create jobs rather than just have one, and advocate creating economic value through new venture creation.
  • Northwestern University: The interdisciplinary, student-run organization InNUvation is designed to promote the entrepreneurial spirit on campus. An InNUvation-sponsored event is likely going to be the entry point for most of our university entrepreneurs and it acts almost as a portal for a variety of resources.

The AACSB emphasizes that “business schools do not and should not support innovation in the same ways; what each school does should depend on its context, mission, and other factors—which can differ significantly among schools.” It is clear that business schools should approach creating value at the “intersection of different perspectives and proactively advocate for their role in innovation.”