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2015 STS Making and Doing Program

Meeting Home | Making & Doing Main | Making and Doing 2015 | Category: Policy

Can Innovators Be Made?

Stettler, Marie, Virginia Tech

Co-Authors:

Matthew Wisnioski, Virginia Tech
Eric Hintz, Smithsonian Institution, Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation

Can Innovators Be Made? explores the history, experience, and future directions of “innovation expertise.” Over the past half-century, millions of dollars have been invested in training programs to inculcate innovative skills and qualities in scientists, engineers, and inventors, but also in youth. We are interested in: how programs for cultivating innovators emerge and evolve; what challenges their advocates face; how their success is measured; and what is at stake in normative prescriptions to pursue innovative lives. Reflexively, we ask also: how STS scholars can inform innovation policy and practice; how we can (and/or ought) maintain critical distance; how we can engage broader publics; and whether STS itself generates innovation expertise. To that end, we convened a two-day workshop of intense small-group discussion that offered a rare convergence of STS scholars with design executives, policymakers, and nonprofit advocates. Our presentation shares the results of this collaboration and explains how it can be a model for critical, participatory scholarship. 

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