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What is Institutional Innovation

The Aspen Institute Roundtable on Institutional Innovation is an annual seminar that engages high level executives, mostly from large organizations, to address (and where appropriate reframe) approaches to institutional performance through innovation. The aim for this series is to develop those and other insights into plans for action.  Previous Institutional Innovation reports include, Fragmentation and Concentration in the New Digital Environment, Leveraging the Talent Driven Organization, Solving the Dilbert Paradox, Institutional Innovation: Oxymoron or Imperative?, Connecting the Edges, and Navigating Continual Disruption.  Over the years, many notable participants including, John Seely Brown, John Hagel, Stephen Gillett, Robin Chase, Ray Ozzie and David Stern have attended Institutional Innovation roundtables.

The Roundtable is generously supported by senior sponsor Deloitte Center for the Edge, as well as the other sponsors of the 2015 Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program.

This site displays the report that resulted from the 2015 Institutional Innovation convening that took place in Aspen, Colorado, July 20-22, 2015.  The series of chapters, written by rapporteur Richard Adler, captures the insights of the participants during the conference. The report explores how corporate leaders are thinking about exponential business operations—utilizing digital technologies to leverage assets, and scaling learning to accelerate innovation. It delves into strategies of modularization, rapid iteration, and utilizing transparent metrics, among other strategies, all with the aim of becoming more adaptive and increasing performance of the organization. This site acts as a dynamic space for viewers to explore the Roundtable content and engage on the topic.

About the Communications and Society Program

The Communications and Society Program is an active venue for framing policies and developing recommendations in the information and communications fields.  We provide a multi-disciplinary space where veteran and emerging decision-makers can develop new approaches and suggestions for communications policy.  The Program enables global leaders and experts to explore new concepts, exchange insights, develop meaningful networks, and find personal growth, all for the betterment of society. 

The Program’s projects range across many areas of information, communications and media policy.  Our activities focus on issues of open and innovative governance, public diplomacy, institutional innovation, broadband and spectrum management, as well as the future of content, issues of race and diversity, and the free flow of digital goods, services and ideas across borders.

Most conferences employ the signature Aspen Institute seminar format: approximately 25 leaders from diverse disciplines and perspectives engaged in roundtable dialogue, moderated with the goal of driving the agenda to specific conclusions and recommendations.  The program distributes our conference reports and other materials to key policymakers, opinion leaders and the public in the United States and around the world.  We also use the internet and social media to inform and ignite broader conversations that foster greater participation in the democratic process.

The Program’s Executive Director is Charles M. Firestone.  He has served in this capacity since 1989 and also as Executive Vice President of the Aspen Institute.  Prior to joining the Aspen Institute, Mr. Firestone was a communications attorney and law professor who has argued cases before the United States Supreme Court.  He is a former director of the UCLA Communications Law Program, first president of the Los Angeles Board of Telecommunications Commissioners, and an appellate attorney for the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.