Science Team Innovation
Innovate Against Time: Drivers And Mechanisms Of Knowledge Innovation Within And Across Organizations

Project Personnel

Georgia Tech:
Dr. Toshio Murase (Post-doc)
Raquel Asencio-Hodge (PhD student)
Peter W. Seely (PhD student)
Dorothy Carter (PhD student)
Amy M. Wax (PhD student)
Kathryn Dalrymple (PhD student)
Alex Montoya (Undergraduate RA)
Tiffany Benton (Undergraduate RA)
Krista Palmer (Undergraduate RA)

George Mason University:
Dr. Steve Zaccaro (Co-PI)
Tiffani Chen (PhD student)
Tracy McCausland (PhD student)
Samantha Holland (PhD student)
Emily Medvin (PhD student)

Grenoble Ecole de Management:
Dr. Barthelemy Chollet
Dr. Vincent Mangematin

University of Central Florida:
Dr. Steve Fiore (Co-PI)

Funded By: The National Science Foundation, Award Abstract #1063901. Innovate Against Time: Drivers and Mechanisms of Knowledge Innovation Within and Across Organizations.
Link to award description

Many of the most urgent, important, and complex problems facing society today require large numbers of scientists possessing diverse expertise, representing different embedded organizations (e.g., universities, corporations, government entities, nations), and distributed in time and space to join forces integrating across multiple types of boundaries. Scientists working together in such arrangements are often called science teams (Hall, Feng, Moser, Stokols, & Taylor, 2008). This increasing collaborative component of science has been well documented across disciplinary demarcations and there is an increasing realization that collaboration is a core competency of science (Fiore, 2008).

Importantly, many of the problems of greatest importance to society require science teams that are multi-boundary, that is, multi-disciplinary, multi-national, multi-geographical positional, and multi-temporal positional. Although universities are created and largely organize effort along singular boundaries: singular discipline, nation, location, and temporal positioning, complex problems of knowledge creation more often than not ignore these organizational simplicities and require synergies only possible through collaborative scientific teamwork (Conrad, 2006; Lehrer, 2010; Masse et al., 2008). Thus, scientific teams need to successfully collaborate as part of complex, multi-boundary collectives.

The goal of this project is to better understand how leadership and communication structures, group dynamics, and processes affect scientific innovation. In partnership with George Mason University and Grenoble School of Management in France we have set up a multiteam system (MTS) of students whose overall goal is to develop an innovative solution to aid in some of the worlds most pressing ecological problems. Component teams within the MTS come from three disciplines: ecology (experts in environmental issues and policy), psychology (experts in behavior and attitude change), and business (experts in technology management, revenue models, and business ecosystems). For 9 weeks, the students work within their teams and with the MTS to integrate knowledge from the various disciplines and together come up with the most innovative solution to a real world environmental problem.