Industry meets academia at UIC Business innovation conference

Group working on poster

A brainstorming session at the innovation conference, which included academics, business people and doctoral students. Photo: Jason Ko/UIC Business

Academics, industry practitioners and doctoral students from around the world came to the UIC Forum and UIC Innovation Center July 18-20 to hear about the latest trends in new product development and innovation research.

Executives from industries such as consulting, health care and financial services joined academic scholars at the 2014 PDMA-UIC Innovation Doctoral Consortium, hosted by the College of Business Administration’s department of managerial studies in partnership with the Product Development and Management Association.

“We were excited to bring together a highly selective group of people passionate about innovation,” said Jelena Spanjol, associate professor of marketing and consortium co-chair.

“Our consortium is a unique forum for innovation scholars and practitioners to engage in conversation and collaboration and we are pleased to showcase UIC’s leadership in the domain of innovation,” Spanjol said.

About 50 participants attended the event, which offered interactive panels and workshops and a speed-funding dissertation competition with students competing for $5,000 in prize money.

Andrew Taylor, partner and managing director at the Boston Consulting Group, gave the conference’s keynote address. Taylor, who heads the group’s innovation strategy practice area, spoke about “the rising bar for world-class innovation,” adding, “what was leading edge three years ago is table stakes today.”

Sophie Xiao presents her group's poster

Ph.D. student Sophie Xiao presents her group’s poster at the innovation meeting. Photo: Jason Ko/UIC Business

“I learned a lot from the distinguished researchers and journal editors, and received excellent feedback on my dissertation research,” said Ph.D. student Yahzen “Sophie” Xiao after the conference.

Xiao said the consortium offered opportunities to network with doctoral students from universities in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia who share similar research interests.

“I cannot say enough about how wonderful this experience was,” she said.

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