center for innovation & research

“innovation” is INTENTIONAL, CONTINUOUS and ASPIRATIONAL problem-solving

NJHSA's Center for Innovation & Research is in the development process and aims to be an array of resources the Network could apply to help Members transform ideas and opportunities into actions through collaborations and partnerships with start-up companies, universities, foundation and corporations, philanthropists and government 

Supporting Member Innovation

At the 2017 October Executives' Conference in Phoenix, Mike Mozenter, founder of Bizlogx facilitated a lively workshop on the Network's efforts to develop a Center for Innovation and Research. The PowerPoint Presentation is available for viewing here

Guided by the principles of design thinking and entrepreneurship, we will engage with Members and their clients, create measured tests, and continuously consider lessons-learned. Our goal is to build the Center based on the results of these efforts - incorporating what works and abandoning what doesn't.

Based on feedback from leaders of dozens of Member organizations, our actions will fit within the following categories of Network assistance:

  1. Capture, curate and organize information;
  2. Pilot and test programs and technologies;
  3. Facilitate sharing of ideas, competencies, and data; and
  4. Apply the tools of design thinking, innovation, and entrepreneurship to discrete projects.

We will provide you with a more detailed information on our progress at the April conference. 

Next Steps

Five questions were discussed during the 3-hour workshop. Intrigued? Read the answers here

  1. What is the Center for Innovation and Research?
  2. What does the word "innovation" mean and how is it relevant to my day-to-day challenges?
  3. Are Members currently engaged in innovative activities that others would value?
  4. What could the Network do to help Members transform more innovative ideas into actions?
  5. What are the next steps in establishing the Center for Innovation and Research initiative?


DESIGN THINKING solves the unsolvable. Design thinking puts you inside the minds of your clients and enables you to craft perfect solutions every time. Design thinking is the only sure path towards organizational perfection! OK, maybe a bit of an overstatement, but design thinking is both a perspective and a set of tools that can help you improve existing solutions and craft high-impact new ones. If you've heard the term, but you're not exactly sure what it means, take a look at this 15-minute Ted Talk by Tim Brown, one of the leading gurus of Design Thinking and the CEO of the innovation and design firm IDEO. 

What is an “innovation process”?

The answer to this question involves both “good news” and “bad news.” The “good news” is – frameworks exist to help for-profit and non-profit organizations integrate continuous innovation into their day-to-day operations. The “bad news” is – frameworks are not recipes. Frameworks help you identify core assumptions, develop questions to test those assumptions, and engage productively with current stakeholders and potential clients and partners. Frameworks provide you with a place to start, but in the case of innovation, the process becomes unique for every organization. In the September 2017 issue of the Harvard Business Review, in an article titled “What Your Innovation Process Should Look Like,” Steve Blank and Pete Newell describe “a self-regulating, evidence-based innovation pipeline.” The article provides valuable insights for those seeking to manage the chaos generated when you first decide to challenge your organizations to “INNOVATE.”


Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Lean Startup, Design Thinking

Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Lean Startup, Design Thinking - we've introduced a lot of new concepts in the last few months. Each has its own language, frameworks, processes, models, and metrics. If you're interested in learning more, visit Steve Blank is a Stanford professor and one of the country's leading thinkers and practitioners of entrepreneurship, innovation and the Lean Startup. Relevant to our work, he's extended these concepts beyond for-profit businesses to governmental, educational and non-profit organizations.  Steve Blank's site is a little difficult to navigate, but contains a treasure trove of resources. It's worth the effort. 

Jeff DeGraff, "The Dean of Innovation"


Jeff DeGraff, The "Dean of Innovation," will speak at the NJHSA Annual Conference Plenary & Awards Breakfast. Jeff has advised many of the world's leading corporations, using the Competing Values Framework that he co-created, on how to grow, change and ultimately move forward to see positive results. Jeff's ideas have gained such a following that he created the Innovatrium, an innovation institute in the heart of the University of Michigan's campus. His talent for breaking down the steps needed to innovate effectively also prompted him to write a slew of successful books on innovation.

Jeff's expertise in innovation aligns with NJHSA's, newly forming Center for Innovation & Research. Learn more here.

Innovation Working Group