Course Title: Knowledge and Innovation
Part A: Course Overview
Course Title: Knowledge and Innovation
Credit Points: 12
620H Business Info Technology
|Sem 1 2006,
Sem 2 2006
Course Coordinator: To Be Advised
Course Coordinator Phone: To Be Advised
Course Coordinator Email:To Be Advised
Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities
Continuous innovation, based on the creation of new knowledge, is essential for survival in the highly competitive environment in which most organisations operate today. As a result, information systems managers rate the ability to think creatively as one of the most keenly sought attributes in new employees.
While it is not possible to teach people how to be creative, it is most definitely possible for organisations to foster a culture of creativity within which individuals can be encouraged to bring imagination and originality to their work in corporate knowledge and information management.
Without creativity innovation is impossible, and this course, therefore begins by examining some of the basic theories concerning the creative process, and goes on to explore ways in which these theories can be applied in the information technology area to kick-start what the Minnesota Research team called ‘The Innovation Journey’.
It is a complex, unpredictable process, and IT managers need to be aware of these characteristics and the techniques which are available to minimize the disruption and upset which can often follow in the wake of even a relatively minor corporate innovation.
Central to the whole process is the creation of new knowledge, which must be harnessed, shared and continually exploited if the organisation is to manage its information related processes successfully. The role of the corporate knowledge resource, and its links to creativity and innovation are explored in this course.
Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development
The course develops both generic and subject specific capabilities which are applicable in a wide range of industrial sectors and in a variety of managerial contexts, from planning at a tactical level, to long term strategy and policy formulation.
Generic capabilities include:
* Problem diagnosis and solving
* Information analysis
* Critical thinking
* Optimised electronic communication
* Flexible decision making
* Strategic planning for information system development
Course specific capabilities include:
* Oversee the development of new corporate strategic knowledge resources
* Develop a working environment which will encourage creative, innovative thinking
* Develop a flexible management style specifically attuned to the nonlinear, unpredictable timeframe associated with innovation
* Build schedules and plans which can accommodate the constantly changing operating conditions which characterize the truly innovative organisation
At the conclusion of this course, you will be able to:
* Develop an understanding of the nature of creativity and innovation within the corporate environment, with specific emphasis on the role and significance of knowledge in the processes.
* Integrate the fundamental techniques of knowledge management with these processes in order to convert enterprise intellectual capital into market value.
* Assess the impact of current and future trends on the key components of corporate knowledge management processes (i.e. technology, documents and people), and to develop appropriate counter measures where necessary.
* Develop innovative systems to support the creation of new knowledge in the corporate environment.
* Develop appropriate strategies for the management of change in the corporate knowledge environment.
* Developing innovative knowledge applications to exploit effectively the relationship between the enterprise and its industrial partners.
*Use these skills to seek competitive advantage.
Overview of Learning Activities
Web delivered lectures, containing text, graphics and voice-overs, are linked to a series of online discussions, each running for ten days and moderated by the tutor. The discussions commence with position papers prepared by designated class members. During the ensuing exchanges, all members of the group are expected to express their opinions on the topic, as well as commenting on other contributions.
The online discussions are particularly important, as these forums provide valuable training in communicating in this fashion, an important skill in an age when organizations are making use of such facilities to reduce the need for expensive and time consuming travel to enable people in remote locations to work together.
The growing use of a multiplicity of flexible alliances and collaborative working arrangements between organizations, coupled with increasing globalization mean that this trend will continue, and the ability to function effectively in an online environment will be of paramount importance.
The group discussions are designed to assist participants analyse their own experiences with innovative projects. Using examples drawn from their personal experience, participants discuss various aspects of facets of the management of these projects, using the tools and models presented in lectures to analyse the projects and identify where they succeeded, and, more importantly, where problems had appeared which could perhaps have been avoided.
Two seminars are conducted, at which industry figures will discuss their experiences, in encouraging the development of new knowledge in the corporate environment; the application of these knowledge resources to innovative projects; and the tools that are available to support these activities.
A concluding face-to-face session will be conducted, prior to the examination, at which an overview of the course will be presented, and participants will have the opportunity to raise any questions that they may still have, in connection with the term’s work.
Overview of Learning Resources
The management of innovation is one of the most widely discussed topics in the current literature of management. Whilst several books provide useful background, the majority of the readings will be web pages and journal articles, accessed through a variety of online databases, accessible through the RMIT Library.
Readings will be referred to in lectures as required. With direct links to the material embedded in the screen based document, wherever possible.
Overview of Assessment
Participants are assessed on their ability to apply the models and theories introduced in the lecture program and mentioned in the readings to develop solutions to a range of typical problems associated with the management of knowledge resources to support corporate innovation.
Criteria for assessment include:
*clarity and accuracy of problem;
*definition and summary;
*suitability, feasibility and acceptability, of solutions proposed
All online discussions, the assignment and the examination are assessed. The discussions are assessed on the basis of:
*Ongoing interaction with other group members;
*Quality of input in discussion;
*Ability to defend own point of view.
For the assignment, students are asked to select an example of a major innovation, in an organisation with which they are familiar. The innovation can be a new product, or service; or it might, on the other hand, be a new internal process; or a complete redevelopment of an existing system. The students are then asked to examine the process by which the original bright idea was eventually translated into reality.
The results of their investigation are submitted in a report of 2,000 – 3,000 words, which includes a concise description of the innovation – be it product, service or process, and goes on to discuss:
*the source of the original idea;
*the information sources used throughout the development process;
*the changes that the idea underwent, as it moved from bright idea to final form;
*the organisational issues confronted;
*the broad impact on the organisation.
The precise form of the report, and the detailed content is left to the discretion of the individual – the aim of the exercise is to trace an innovation from concept to completion.