Resource:The Secrets of Fostering Innovation Within Any Group

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Innovation comes from passion.

Robotic systems enthusiast mechanical engineer Jonathan Bopps was the current University Innovation Fellow for the online session of “ The Secrets of Fostering Innovation Within Any Group”. Our team members Maia Peterson, Sofia Muñiz Irazabal, Surya Kosaraju and Canberk Bal were all deeply interested in the topic to brainstorm and exchange their ideas on the aim of hearing our interviewee’s story. Jonathan was tremendously open-minded and informative with his answers while approaching each participant. He started the discussion by addressing his willingness to hear what does innovation stand for each participant and their personal stories on innovative activities.

Determine the mission

“Using innovation as a force to contribute back to our community, by also fostering the entrepreneurship spirit on campus.”

Our aim is to introduce innovation as something that can be a start and that can grow, a complement for building a spirit of innovation in our community in the interaction with the educational community. This process start in the classroom, and innovation for us is needed to happen interacting with people. So our main objective is being able to foster innovation and make people in our community to establish connections, to put their ideas together and find the way to make they happen.

Idea Generation and Iteration

One of the examples Jonathan walked us through where he fostered innovation was his involvement with the newfound makerspace on campus. Finding himself on a campus of engineering and tech students who loved their pajamas and the comfort of their dorms, Jonathan and his team followed the Design Thinking process to come up with a way to attract people to the makerspace. The ideation step is one of the most important steps in the innovation process: the more ideas produced the more creative the ideas become. As such, Jonathan was also an advocate for sharing bad ideas as it ignites discussion general fuels interest among participants.

Jonathan and his team were able to continually improve their process and the experience of visitors in the space by practicing feedback loops and utilizing their effective communication skills. Engaging the users of the space, with food for example, yielded much higher results in terms of feedback they could use to continually improve the space. This aligns with the iterative prototyping part of the design process. By making informed decisions based on user feedback, Jonathan and his team were able to identify and implement innovative solutions to relevant problems the makerspace was having.

Secrets to Fostering Innovation

1. Psychological Safety

  • Every member in the team should feel accepted by the remaining and also feel respected.
  • Every member should have the capacity to show and utilize one's self without dread of negative outcomes.
  • At the point when teammates are propelled at work and need to share a thought for enhancing execution, they much of the time don't speak up out of the fear of  being cruelly judged.

2. Diversity

  • The team should always consist of people coming from various backgrounds.
  • The roles that every member plays should also be diverse and flexible.
  • When it comes to being flexible, the potential team leader should be the most flexible.

    Skill Diversity

    Skill Diversity identifies with the sorts of aptitudes colleagues carry with them and their level of competency inside these abilities.

    Personal Diversity

    Personal Diversity identifies with the individual attributes of the colleagues, including their age and their social foundation.  

3. Tending to People's Needs

Clear needs distinguishing and reaction to those recognized needs keep the team pushing ahead toward shared and wanted objectives. There is a feeling of proprietorship among individuals.

One should always listen to the teammate's needs, acknowledge them, support them and then inform of the circumstances and the feasible solutions.

Pull in people with diverse ideas

To maneuver individuals into the group, one would need to lead meeting and so on with a few motivating forces(such as pizza and etc.) This gets the general population speaking and dicussing about their thoughts. 

Rather than faulting the lack of candidates for your absence of diversity in ideas, endeavor to scan for more individuals with thoughts that are diverse.

It is also important to have a sense of purpose that is being represented efficiently by the current members of the team as it has a strong effect on people when pulling them into the team.

Without a sense of purpose that hasn't been made clear to the new members, their diverse thoughts and ideas will never come to life because of the lack of motivation.


As a conclusion there had been a fruitful discussion surrounded by many various approaches taken by each participant. Jonathan was a great role model to erase some of the question marks we would possibly have in our minds regarding how to foster innovation in any groups.  We, as a team believe that there has been a successful session with him to walk through the University Innovation Fellows journey. In addition to that, Jonathan concluded the conversation by giving some tips on our teamwork and agreeing that we should always be striving to make interactive and attractive programs rather than trying to be perfectionist. In this way, we believe that students can achieve more by getting to brainstorm with others comfortably and we, as UIFs will be the ones who will pioneers of such interactive opportunities to them. Our objective is to have diversity on our makerspace because it is a strategy for a global learning.


Fall 2017

Surya Sai Mourya Kosaraju

Canberk Bal

Maia Peterson

Sofía Muñiz Irazabal