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John Kao and Deloitte Launch The Institute for Large Scale Innovation.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on March 2, 2009

Look through the terrible economic news and you can just begin to see the winners who will emerge once the bad times end. For companies, countries, NGOS and even individuals, those who are taking the time to innovate in this crisis are preparing for the future. All those “saving the core” business, focussing on survival not transformation, will be at a competitive disadvantage when the global economy begins to grow again.

The demand for innovation has led the consulting firm Deloitte to team up with innovation leader John Kao (whose latest book is Innovation Nation) to launch ISLI—the Institute for Large Scale Innovation. The goal is to network innovators from around the world to focus on big challenges in economic, social and scientific spheres that shape global civic society. You know the specific problems.

The idea, according to the release is to:

” To provide a forum for leading innovation stakeholders from around the world to develop a collaborative point of view and methodologies for innovation to address global challenges;

* To focus on developing agenda setting intellectual capital and establishing advanced metrics to quantitatively capture, assess and control the progress of global innovation efforts;

* And to establish a platform for training the next generation of innovation leaders, providing them with useful management practices to take back to their home countries.”

Check out Kao talking about ISLI on YouTube.

“Global Civic Society” is an intriguing concept. The current one, built up over the past half century, is beginning to unravel. The Great Recession that is unfolding is due in large part to the globalization of financial markets—and the failure to globalize financial regulation. We have global markets for goods and capital, but not global regulation of labor or the environment or health.

As the global financial crisis leads to a global economic crisis which leads to a global political crisis, building innovation capability into the Global Civic Society is a global imperative.

Reader Comments


March 5, 2009 2:13 PM

financial markets—and the failure to globalize financial regulation.

global regulation of labor or the environment or health.

global need for ethics and cooperation.

gloabal political cooperation for the human race to exist and survive.

Bolt concepts to lead towards the above.

Harry West

March 5, 2009 5:53 PM

To me the need is not just to train the next generation of innovation leaders, but to help the current generation of business and government leaders be more innovative. I am frequently surprised by how difficult it seems for some very smart people in leadership positions to imagine a really different future. Perhaps it is because normally money, and therefore power, is in the present. As some of the largest companies have developed enormous global power, they are going to have to take on corresponding global responsibility. And that goes beyond responsibility to shareholders and following today’s regulations. We need them to partner with governments to help create a truly civic society.


March 5, 2009 8:07 PM

Dear Bruce,

Deloitte's institute initiative certainly capitalizes on the innovation for economic recovery dialogue in a very timely fashion. Yet it is also arguable that what we need is not another nonprofit institute for "agenda setting" and development of global methodologies--rather, we need to leverage current technologies that are already available and bring them to scale to solve the big problems. James Hansen has already elaborated on the reality that we have most of the tools we need to mitigate climate change. Google's launch of the PowerMeter, for example, which gives individual homeowners and businesses unprecedented capacity to monitor energy efficiency, is free. And it's here now.
Even just increasing the speed and availability of broadband Internet around the world would exponentially augment our ability to innovate to solve big challenges. Access to the Web allows communities to move towards localized solutions to global problems, which is perhaps more important than "methodologies" created by high-level, hierarchical organizations.
I'm currently in your Design at the Edge class--a really great forum for discussing the positives and negatives of these various approaches.

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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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