Social infrastructure of innovation

Using social network analysis to understand the coordination of innovation.

The Social infrastructure of innovation program links science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines with social science researchers.

Innovation is a social process, and we use social network analysis to understand how to coordinate innovation most effectively.

Professor Dean Lusher leads the team that is currently working in partnership with various organisations and industry bodies – including the Boeing Company, CSIRO and Chemistry Australia – to understand the formal and informal social interactions between people and organisations that underpin innovation.

Current projects

Understanding barriers and enablers of globally dispersed R&D

This project with Boeing Global Technology aims to understand the barriers and enablers of globally-dispersed research and development (R&D). Coordinating the activities and interactions of skilled knowledge workers across distance, time zones, diverse cultures and different knowledge domains is a difficult endeavour. We use social network analysis to provide evidence-based recommendations around improved organisational design for knowledge management across globally-dispersed work groups.

CSIRO-Swinburne strategic collaboration opportunities

The CSIRO-Swinburne strategic collaboration project examines current collaborations between these two organisations. The aim is to identify further opportunities to work together, and to do so more effectively. The project uses primary data sources, including social network surveys, but also secondary data from patents, publications and grant databases in order to identify patterns and opportunities for collaboration.

New techniques for training chemistry Masters students

The ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre for the Chemical Industries project will examine new techniques for training chemistry masters students at the University of Melbourne and the University of NSW (UNSW). Chemistry Australia – the pre-eminent national body representing Australia’s $40 billion chemistry industry – is a key partner in this training centre. The Social Innovation Research Institute is involved in understanding the network of connections built up between industry and academia through this new teaching delivery method, which will see students spend extended placements in industry.

Contact the Social Innovation Research Institute

There are many ways to engage with us. If your organisation is dealing with a complex problem, then get in touch to discuss how we can work together to provide solutions.

Call +61 (03) 9214 8180