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The Organization and Architecture of Innovation


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Table of Contents

Chapter 1
Organization and Architecture
Chapter 2
The Process of Innovation
Chapter 3
The Flow of Communication in Space
Chapter 4
Increasing Awareness
Chapter 5
Two Management Tools Employed Together

About the Author

Professor Thomas Allen is the originator of the Allen curve. In the late 1970s, Tom Allen undertook a project to determine how the distance between engineers' offices coincided with the level of regular technical communication between them. The results of that research, now known as the Allen Curve, revealed a distinct correlation between distance and frequency of communication (i.e. the more distance there is between people - 50 meters or more to be exact - the less they will communicate). This principle has been incorporated into forward-thinking commercial design ever since, in, for example, The Decker Engineering Building in New York, the Steelcase Corporate Development Center in Michigan, and BMW's Research Center in Germany.


"WOW! The collaboration between Allen and Henn is a unique synthesis of fundamental work on social networks, organizations, and innovation with fundamental ideas on physical space and architecture. The Organization and Architecture of Innovation is a deeply insightful book on how the social, organizational, and physical worlds interact to create the conditions for communication across boundaries. Unlike any other book that I know of, the book is rich with example of putting research-based knowledge to work with demanding clients. This is a fabulous piece of work." -- Michael Tushman, Paul R. Lawrence Class of 1942 Professor, Harvard Business School "For 40 years, researchers have recognized that communication is critical to innovation, and that architecture determines such communication. This book finally integrates understanding of architecture, communication, and innovation. Clearly and engagingly written, it synthesizes scholarly research and practical application to illustrate how architecture can be a hidden source of innovative advantage. Engaging cases and illustrations make it accessible to almost any audience. For its substance, it should be within easy reach of anyone interested in innovation." -- Andrew King, Associate Professor of Business Administration, Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College "The Organization and Innovation of Architecture once more illustrates vividly Tom Allen's excellence in identifying essential challenges of technological change and providing well-founded solutions. Being the undisputed eminence behind the now worldwide accepted management initiative of mastering technology and innovation, he shares with us his latest findings which strike the very core of innovative organizations: The existential dependence on communication processes between individuals and groups, and approaches on how to best design them using path-breaking principles of spatial configuration of buildings. In fact Tom Allen brings to our attention an until now astonishingly 'forgotten' main dimension of management: the spatial dimension as the indispensable counterpart of the structural dimension. The carefully researched and well-written book closes a hitherto existing and crucial gap in management textbooks. It is therefore a highly recommended reading for scholars and students in all management sciences as well as for management practitioners on every level. -- Prof. Hugo P. Tschirky, PhD, DBA, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Department of Management, Technology, and Economics; Member of the European Institute of Technology and Innovation Management "The Organization and Innovation of Architecture by Thomas Allen and Gunther Henn is timely and highly welcome. Everyone involved in understanding and increasing the gold standard in managing technology and innovation groups, at companies and universities alike, will discover a rich plethora of insightful ideas and practical approaches in this work. The book builds upon the pioneering work on communication in technology development by Professor Allen. Worldwide, thousands of scholars and managers have been thoroughly inspired by Allen's insights over the last three decades. The present work further translates those insights into highly relevant and, at the same time, practical lessons for implementation. By explicitly focusing on the symbiosis between organization and architecture, the authors successfully fill an important gap in the management of innovation and technology literature. This book is an evident must for every professional involved in innovation management." -- Koenraad Debackere, Professor of Technology and Innovation Management, K.U.Leuven, Belgium "This fascinating book explores the impact of organizational and spatial factors on communication and innovation. Rooted in Tom Allen's classic research with R&D engineers and scientists, it brings the subject right up to date in the context of the BMW Projekthaus, designed by the book's co-author Gunter Henn. This concise work is a 'must read' for all those concerned with enhancing the innovation and product development process in high-tech businesses." -- David Probert, Reader in Technology Management, Centre for Technology Management, Institute for Manufacturing, Cambridge University Engineering Department

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