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Bringing I-O Innovations to Life


by By Stephany Schings Below, SIOP Communications Manager

SIOP Thursday Theme Track Explores How to Make Our Work Stick

By Stephany Schings Below, Communications Manager

I-O academics and practitioners frequently seek to create new breakthroughs in interventions that will have a lasting impact on organizations. However, creative ideas and new interventions won’t have broad influence if not accompanied by an effective and sustained communication and implementation strategy, says Evan Sinar, SIOP Program Chair-in-Training and chair of this year’s Thursday Theme Track.

Bringing I-O Innovations to Life: Making Our Work Stick,” the 2013 SIOP Annual Conference Thursday Theme Track, will focus on this specific, yet often unrecognized, facet of SIOP President Doug Reynolds’ presidential year theme of extending our influence as I-O psychologists.

“Ideas alone don’t constitute true innovation,” Sinar explained. “Innovation pairs a raw idea with a story for communicating it, a plan to execute it, and a proponent to champion it. While entire libraries have been written on brainstorming and other idea-generation methods, clear, practical guidance on cross-setting idea execution is far harder to find. In this Theme Track, we aim to help close that gap.”

This in-depth, all-day event will take place Thursday, April 11. SIOP’s Theme Tracks are designed to be like a conference within a conference, including multiple integrated sessions scheduled back-to-back throughout the day in the same room. The Theme Tracks delve deep into a cutting-edge topic or trend and are designed to appeal to practitioners and academics at all levels.

“At its core, our Theme Track topic is about making your ideas, ideas of any form and on any topic, not just heard but listened to and acted upon,” Sinar explained. “We feel – and have carefully designed the day’s sessions and speakers to reflect – that this topic is applicable no matter where you work. Ideas are everywhere and in every work environment, but very few take hold as their originators intend. Our goal is to show you what distinguishes the innovations and idea advocates that flourish from those that don’t.”

Attendees may stay all day to take advantage of the comprehensive programming and obtain continuing education credits or choose to attend just the sessions of the most interest to them. Participants who attend the full day of Theme Track programming are eligible for 5.5 CE credits* for psychology purposes. Thee is no additional cost to attend the Theme Track beyond basic conference registration, so make sure you add this engaging day of events to your personal schedule!

“Members have repeatedly told us you want practical and actionable guidance,” Sinar said. “Each of our sessions, and the Theme Track as a whole, will include specific tips and resources to help ensure that the day’s insights will live on long after the conference closes.”

The SIOP Thursday Theme Track Committee worked hard to bring this Theme Track together. In addition to Sinar, the committee includes: Tanya Boyd, Alana Cober, Megan Leasher, Kristen Shockley, Emily Stehura, and Paul Yost.

Learning Objectives for the Thursday Theme Track:
Based on the content of the Theme Track, attendees will be able to:

  • Summarize the personal characteristics and methods associated with effectively implementing new and recurrent corporate interventions.
  • Create partnerships involving both scientists and practitioners that result in impactful interventions, programs, and systems.
  • Explain how branding an I-O or HR intervention and creating a broadly visible campaign can impact the success and staying power of the initiative.
  • Describe how to build and brand I-O initiatives that are successful and sustainable over time.
  • Describe the factors to consider when determining how to make an organizational intervention sustainable (one that will "stick").

The Thursday Theme Track will kick off with special invited speaker Abbie Griffin, of the University of Utah. Griffin’s session will bring research from outside the I-O field to spur innovative thinking, particularly around focusing on the customer and focusing on execution.

Dr. Griffin is the Royal L. Garff Endowed Chair in Marketing at the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah. Her research investigates means for measuring and improving the process of new product development and has been published in Marketing Science, Journal of Marketing Research, Management Science, and the Journal of Product Innovation Management among other journals.

Griffin’s speech will incorporate two focus areas—focus on the customer and focus on the execution—drawn from innovation research and her recent book, Serial Innovators: How Individuals Create and Deliver Breakthrough Innovations in Mature Firms. Too often people focus on the ideation part of innovation, brainstorming great ideas and getting excited about the possibilities. The hard work of innovation comes in the execution part; making a business plan, piloting, quick failure, and then moving through to execution, according to Griffin.

Dr. Griffin’s speech will serve as a foundation for the remainder of the day by framing questions of what I-O psychology can learn from an external, well-researched viewpoint on innovation execution.

“At the end of the day, participants should expect to learn not just why and when so many new ideas stall before achieving the visibility and outcomes they deserve,” Sinar explained. “But also what makes those who excel in repeatedly making their innovations a reality different from those who don’t, and how to craft messaging, to involve others, and to follow through to push past the all-too-real barriers that we’ve encountered in the past when implementing change and innovative concepts.”

Other sessions included in the Thursday Theme Track include:

  • The Intersection of Research/Practice: Effectively Using Partnerships So Research Sticks-Successful science-practice integration stems from the ability for academics and practitioners to effectively communicate and provide mutually beneficial information. The goal of this session is to bring together panelists who have prior experience successfully leveraging academic-practitioner relationships, focusing on those that have culminated in “sticky” interventions, programs, and systems.
  • Promoting Innovation: Interventions With High-Impact Branding-The session will use the IGNITE format. Presenters will engage the audience with 5 minutes and 20 automatically progressing slides to share experiences creating a broadly visible campaign around an I-O or HR intervention, sharing the whats and hows of branding an initiative that is recognizable and meaningful enough to take on its own identity within an organization.
  • Storytelling: I-O as Comedy, Tragedy, and Theater of the Absurd-What factors are most critical in building an I-O or HR initiative that is sustainable over time? In this panel, senior I-O psychologists will share stories about successful (and unsuccessful) initiatives they have led, the lessons they have learned, and the advice they have for others.
  • The Sweet-Spot for Organizational Interventions: Superglue or Teflon-This wrap-up may culminate in distribution of summary “take homes” that visually and informatively review the day’s key learning, to maximize practical application of the information presented during the day. This session will provide attendees an opportunity to hear from a panel of senior practitioners about their experiences implementing organizational interventions. The various factors to consider when deciding how sticky to make an intervention will be shared along with how to get things unstuck when needed.

“This year’s Theme Track draws on the feedback we’ve heard from the SIOP membership about high-value features of the conference: What types of sessions do you find most thought-provoking and impactful? What unique perspectives are you seeking yet not hearing anywhere else? What can you learn about today and apply to your job tomorrow, whether you’re a student, professor, or practitioner?” Sinar added. “This year’s Theme Track sessions span a range of engaging formats ideally suited for in-person attendance. We also recognize the value brought by viewpoints outside of I-O psychology. Or keynote speaker, Abbie Griffin, is an accomplished speaker, researcher, and author who will inspire us – and challenge us – to stretch ourselves beyond our natural tendencies and comfort zones in pursuing and executing on our creative ideas.”

Remember that these sessions are included in your conference registration fee. Add them to your conference schedule by using the online Searchable Conference Program and Personal Scheduler. Search for sessions and save them to your account so you can access them at the conference!

*SIOP is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. SIOP maintains responsibility for this program and its content.