Insights for Innovators From UVA Darden Executive Education’s Innovation Summit

By Jay Hodgkins

Darden Executive Education hosted its second annual Innovation Summit in the Washington, D.C., area in May. At the summit, titled Growing and Enabling Innovators, University of Virginia Darden School of Business Professor Ed Hess offered insights on how organizations can grow and innovate for summit participants representing industries from the military and nonprofit to health care and investing.

Executive Education covered the event on its blog, including some of Hess’ key insights:

In our society, humans are programmed to strive for operational excellence and not make mistakes. Yet innovation relies on experimentation and failure. It is a mindset shift that individuals are not capable of making on their own because of cognitive and emotional inhibitors such as ego, fear and biases. It requires the right environment, processes and leadership. Characteristics of successful organizations in the Smart Machine Age include traits such as:

  • An environment that fosters high employee engagement through positive, psychological safety and the ability to meet people’s self-determination needs
  • A culture that leverages technology and data to promote candor, continual learning, permission to speak freely and freedom to fail
  • Processes to prevent autopilot thinking and responses
  • Leaders who are people-centric, collaborative and actively seeking input and ideas from others

Read the full article here.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business prepares responsible global leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences. Darden’s graduate degree programs (MBA, MSBA and Ph.D.) and Executive Education & Lifelong Learning programs offered by the Darden School Foundation set the stage for a lifetime of career advancement and impact. Darden’s top-ranked faculty, renowned for teaching excellence, inspires and shapes modern business leadership worldwide through research, thought leadership and business publishing. Darden has Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C., area and a global community that includes 18,000 alumni in 90 countries. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


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