The Mack Institute’s Year in Review

It’s been a full year since the Wharton School announced the newly renamed Mack Institute for Innovation Management, after a generous gift from William and Phyllis Mack enabled us to significantly widen our scope. Building on our previous focus on technological innovation, our expansion to an institute established us as a hub connecting researchers, business leaders, and students in the study of innovation management.

Here’s an overview of the past year’s activities, and what we’re looking forward to in the year ahead:

Enhanced Thought Leadership

Pharma WorkshopWe’re continually advancing scholarship in our field. In 2014, we awarded over $200,000 in funding to Wharton researchers and their colleagues at Penn and other institutions.

We also produced two reports which emerged from faculty-led, research-centered workshops: The first discussed the possibilities for integrated customer solutions to challenges facing the pharmaceutical industry, and the second focused on the opportunities and threats that Massively Open Online Courses present to MBA programs.

Over the next year, our new Mack Talks series will provide key innovation ideas from our researchers, senior fellows, and event speakers – stay tuned for new videos throughout the summer.

Expanding our Reach

Spring Conference in San FranciscoWe’ve grown our global presence. Our recent West Coast conference brought together leaders from top Silicon Valley firms to discuss how established companies can retain their competitive edge. At home in Philadelphia, our Fall Conference connected PVMI’s worldwide network of researchers with automotive industry experts to address the challenges of integrating new technologies into established industries.

Further abroad, our faculty taught master classes and hosted panels at Wharton Global Forums in Panama and Beijing, and we’ll continue our participation at future Global Forums. We also expanded our already diverse network of corporate partners, which now includes not just firms across the U.S., but also in China, Japan, and Sri Lanka.

In the U.S., listeners across the country can now tune in to “When Things Go Wrong” on Sirius XM’s Wharton Business Radio (Channel 111), a show that breaks down callers’ frustrating experiences from the perspective of service management experts.

Leveraging our Network

Emerging Scholars WorkshopWe’re connecting scholars, students, and business leaders across Penn and beyond. For the second year, we partnered with the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences to co-organize the Y-Prize competition, which fosters cross-disciplinary collaboration on campus and promotes the commercialization of Penn technologies.

In April, academics from over thirty institutions discussed emerging research at the Wharton Technology and Innovation Conference. We also hosted over twenty visiting doctoral students for our weeklong Emerging Scholars Workshop, which took an evolutionary approach to problems of strategic management.

In the coming year, our new Collaborative Innovation Program will offer exciting opportunities for students to work with our corporate partner companies on addressing current innovation challenges.

Increased Student Engagement

Wharton India Economic ForumWe’ve expanded our sponsorship of students across the university. As part of our commitment to fostering the next generation of leaders, we supported a wide variety of student initiatives. We continued our sponsorship of the student-led BizTech@Wharton Conference, Wharton Technology Club, and Penn’s undergraduate team in the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition.

Additionally, we formed new partnerships with the enterprising students behind the Penn Design Challenge, the MBA Innovation Summit, the People Analytics Conference, the Wharton India Economic Forum, and others. We look forward to continuing to increase our student sponsorship in the year ahead.

What’s Next?

Saikat Chaudhuri“We’re excited to be taking the erstwhile Mack Center to a new level of engagement and impact as the Mack Institute,” says Executive Director Saikat Chaudhuri. “During this past year, we launched a number of new activities, and laid the groundwork for additional initiatives to come in the coming year. Our newest efforts will include focusing on increasing our original research and further supporting the commercialization of research at Penn. We’re looking forward to continuously expanding our role as thought leaders on innovation management and its application here at the university and beyond.”