COM 597: Innovation Communities

Course Description:

Can innovation be crowdsourced? Equipped with a range of new digital communication technologies, “users” innovate every day — creating solutions to their own problems through sharing and collaboration. Disruptive new models of collective innovation are emerging in forums, in “free” and “open source” efforts, and in hacking initiatives. Organizations increasingly want to tap into this community-driven DIY dynamic, but frequently struggle to structure their own innovation processes in relation to these unique communities. This class will explore some of the techniques that firms can use to harness this surge of innovation by introducing a new “democratized” or “user-centric” innovation paradigm. We’ll look at how user communities bolster their ability to innovate through specific technological tools and innovative social routines. Through practical examples, you will learn how to effectively use communities both as sources of inspiration and as collaborators.

Student Testimonial:

This class was the perfect combination of digital technology and community/network development. Each week we looked at a case study to analyze why an online community did or did not work and how outside forces influenced its success or demise. We explored hacker communities, maker communities, online gaming communities and more. Mako always led an engaging class discussion (which you could only get from an expert like he is in the field of online communities), his is lectures were informative and reflective of the reading material and he always made good use of class time. I appreciated that he made himself available online or during office hours, especially while we developed and dove into our final projects. Plus, he’s just a cool person to talk to. This class taught me about things I didn’t even know existed, and I am so glad that I took this course.