TRACK Workshop: Managing Innovative People

Event Type

Knowledge Management, Leading Innovation Organizations, Culture, Employee Innovation, Organization and Future of Work

Innovative people are at the heart of successful innovation. Managing innovative people, however, can be challenging. It requires as a baseline the practices generally associated with management, but it requires, in addition, a set of practices that bring out the best of people in a context that does not always appreciate them.

The workshop will focus on the pragmatics of managing creative people and building innovative organizations. It does not focus on technical management but rather on the range of skills a researcher or technical staff member needs to be both successful and fulfilled. These include: building relationships, addressing the common challenges of managing independent and creative staff, hiring for success in the organizational context, engaging people with widely varying motivations, approaches to mentoring, and helping people to manage their career paths.

The workshop will feature practical illustrations based on the real-world experiences of the instructors, all of whom have managed large organizations over decades. It will include hands-on break-out sessions that will give participants confidence in applying the concepts. Upon completion, participants will have identified techniques that can help them increase the effectiveness of their management style.

Meet the Instructors

Workshop Outline

  • The Innovation Context
  • The Management Molecule
  • The Challenges of Managing Creative People
  • Hiring and Retention
  • Employee Engagement
  • Managing New Technologies at Work
  • Mentoring
  • Career Challenges

The session will include break-out exercises to work with the tools and techniques to improve understanding and build connections with the other participants.

Who should attend

The workshop is designed for those in innovation functions or within businesses who have responsibility for managing people. It is helpful for new managers and those interested in expanding their repertoire of practices. This course covers a broad range of business issues and can be viewed as a springboard to the participant’s professional advancement.

Registration Fees

IRI Members: $295
Non Members: $395 

Due to limited seating, we request that you cancel at least 48 hours before a scheduled class. This gives us the opportunity to fill the class. However, if you do not cancel prior to the 48 hours, you will lose the payment for the class.

All IRI events are broadcast in Eastern Standard Time

Martha J. Collins, PhD

Chief Technology Officer

HarbisonWalker International (HWI)

Dr. Collins has 33 years’ experience as an innovator in the chemical, refractory, and oil and gases industries.  She has worked in research and development organizations leading innovation teams developing and acquiring new products, platforms, and technologies.  In all, she has led the efforts to develop over 50 new products commercialized in diverse markets.
Martha is the Chief Technology Officer for HarbisonWalker International (HWI), a global producer of refractory ceramic products that serve as high temperature linings in the manufacturing processes of more than forty industries such as steel, glass, cement, paper, chemical and energy.  Prior to joining HWI in 2016, Martha served as Halliburton’s Technology Director for Global Innovation responsible for disruptive new technology and enabling innovation processes across the enterprise.  She spent 14 years at Air Products and Chemicals in various leadership roles with increasing responsibility in technology and innovation management. She was elected Chairman of the IRI Board in 2013-14.  Martha spent time early in her career developing profitable new products and technologies for Eastman Chemical Company and for Union Carbide Corporation.  Martha holds a PhD from the University of California, Davis and has 13 U.S. patents; she is married and the mother of three sons.

Jiim Euchner

Jim Euchner


Outside Insight Consulting, LLC

Jim Euchner is Visiting Professor at Aston Business School (UK) and Editor in Chief of Research-Technology Management, a peer-reviewed journal for practitioners of innovation, technology and research management. He was previously Vice President of Global Innovation at Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, where he led the development of new businesses and helped launch four businesses on three continents.  Prior to his work at Goodyear, Jim held positions as Vice President of Growth Strategy and Innovation at Pitney Bowes, Inc. and Vice President, Network Systems Advanced Technology at Bell Atlantic (now Verizon).     Jim has worked in the field of intelligent systems for over 25 years. In his consulting practice, he helps companies to implement businesses enabled by emerging technologies, including AI, the Internet of Things (IoT), automation, and predictive analytics. He helps companies to move quickly and in a disciplined way from concept to cash.  Areas of focus include the use of lean startup approaches in large organizations, business model innovation, and the challenges manufacturers confront in moving to services-led business models.    Jim is industry co-chair of the Aston Advanced Services Partnership and past member of the Scientific Advisory Council for the Nissan Autonomous Vehicle program. He is also a co-founder of the MIT Innovation Laboratory, a consortium to nurture innovation in organizations. Jim has published and spoken extensively on innovation and technology management. His google scholar page can be found at    Jim received his Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University in mechanical and aerospace engineering and his Master of Science degree from Princeton University, where he was a Guggenheim Fellow.  He also holds an MBA from Southern Methodist University. He has received several awards for his work in AI, including two selections as Innovative Applications of AI, the Carnegie Mellon University/AMS Award for Managing Information Systems, and the Franz Edelman Award (finalist).  

Spencer Pugh

Spencer Pugh


Prospect Ridge Consulting, LLC

Dr. Spencer Pugh is an executive with over 40 years of experience in technology development, product commercialization, and business management.    He is the Principal of Prospect Ridge Consulting, LLC, and serves as Chief Scientist and Board Director of the start-up MagPlasma.  Most recently, he was Vice-President, Research and Development, for Michelman, a specialty chemical company headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio.   Prior to that, Spencer was the Vice-President and General Manager of the Energy and Environment Global Business Unit of Battelle, the research and development non-profit headquartered in Columbus, Ohio.  He started his professional career with the Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester NY, where Spencer was a Senior Laboratory Head.  He holds a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Stanford University.   He is a Six Sigma Black Belt and is also a Certified Licensing Professional (CLP), licensed by the Licensing Executives Society (LES). He has been active in the Innovation Research Interchange (IRI) for over 15 years and has served on its Board of Directors twice. 

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