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19 BizEd November/ December 2014 1 BY ROBERT S. SULLIVAN I nnovation is a topic of many conversations at business schools today, and for good reason. Business schools long have had reputations for producing only suit-and-tie Wall Street-ready graduates. But we are now in the midst of an "innovation revolu- tion," in which business schools are expected to produce graduates who can flourish in an innovation economy. While innovation can be defined as the ability to move ideas forward in ways that add value to the community, there is a second definition that is equally important to business schools—the ability of organizations to continuously rein- vent themselves, so they can grow and thrive. In a sense, all organiza- tions need to behave like startups! It also is critically important that business schools (and universi- ties) constantly reinvent themselves. Every year, they might look a little different than they did the year before, as they reassess whom they serve, what they do, and how they do it. They must continuously con- sider what innovation looks like for their stakeholders and adapt their programs to meet the needs of their communities. That is what we do at the Rady School of Management at the Uni- versity of California, San Diego. Founded in 2003 as a startup busi- ness school, the Rady School was launched at a time when no state support was available. The school was created to serve the innovation economy of Southern California, a hub of science and technology. Here, more than 600 life science firms and over 100 telecommunica- tions and software startup com- panies operate within five miles of our campus. This unusual environ- ment has shaped our identity and inspired several strategies that I believe could help other business schools better define their own paths to innovation: Establish a clear identity. As we built the Rady School, we knew we had to be as specific as pos- sible about who we were and what community we would serve. If we based our identity on general busi- ness education, we risked blending in with other schools. On the other hand, if we aligned our programs and mission with the community we served—in our case, one heavily steeped in life science and technol- ogy—we would establish our value from the start. That strategy not only has given us a clear direction, but also has served us well in other ways. Dur- ing the last financial crisis, several individuals donated enough money to help the Rady School make up for a budget shortfall and support our mission. While other schools Start with Reinvention Innovation can be defined as the ability of organizations to continually reinvent themselves, so they can grow and thrive. 3 sible about who we were and what community we would serve. If we based our identity on general busi- ness education, we risked blending 2 ogy—we would establish our value That strategy not only has given - ing the last financial crisis, several individuals donated enough money 4 in the UC system were instituting furloughs, our faculty never had to take pay cuts. The members of our community know that our school exists because of them and for them. For that reason, they assume an extraordinary responsibility for our success. Work across disciplines. Many Rady faculty collaborate with pro- fessors in disciplines such as engi- neering and health science. Some have co-authored papers that have appeared in journals such as Sci- ence and Nature, while others have secured grants from the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Energy. One group is working with the Scripps Insti- tution of Oceanography to study issues related to the oceans, the atmosphere, and environmental sustainability. Reimagine faculty rewards. For a business school to be innovative, it must align the way it rewards and recognizes faculty with that goal— something that does not always happen through traditional paths to teaching and publication. At the Rady School, for instance, we consider Science to be an A-level journal. If we continue to use old metrics, we will do only what we have done before. However, we know that our future must look quite different from our past. Reach across campus. A great way for business schools to inspire innovation is to push beyond their boundaries—literally. At every uni- versity, disciplines such as engineer- ing, health science, and the liberal arts are recognizing that business needs to be part of their curricula.

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