EECS500 Fall 2017 Department Colloquium

Leonard Polizzotto
Innovation and the Creation of New Value
White 411
11:30 AM - 12:30 PM
November 28, 2017

Is there a need for universities to be more innovative?

Most organizations, whether commercial, academic or government are all seeking ways to create greater value through innovation. Almost all measures of innovative performance show poor results. Yet, there are unprecedented opportunities! We have found that few organizations have systematic innovation processes.

Innovation is not the result of luck or a lone genius. It is a disciplined process that can be learned, shared, and improved. The Practice of Innovation embodies techniques that have been tested and refined for decades with a broad range of organizations. It is a hands on, interactive approach that analyzes projects you are currently engaged in and helps you to employ the elements of innovation needed to improve your probability of success. Our discussion will include:

• Introduction to what constitutes innovation and its 5 disciplines

• How to determine “customer” needs

• Development of value propositions based on these customer needs

• Iteration, the genius of teams, and value-creation forums

• The relationship between customer, “competition”, and your capabilities

• Creating a sustaining Competitive Advantage and your “golden nugget”

• Eliminating risk and “bringing your idea to life”


Dr. Len Polizzotto recently retired as Draper Laboratory’s Vice President responsible for new programs, leading efforts to leverage Draper’s capabilities to solve new important national needs. He was responsible for establishing Draper’s Bioengineering Center on the USF campus in Tampa, a Multichip Module Facility in St. Petersburg, establishing Draper’s energy business and leading two medical consortia. One, IMEDS, was focused on developing systems to provide real time decision support to clinicians at the bedside in the ICU. The other was aimed at developing quantitative bio markers for PTSD.

Prior to joining Draper in 2007, Polizzotto served for six years as Corporate Vice President for Business Development for SRI International, a world leader in contract R&D services where he established a center for proteomic drug development in Virginia, as well as helped develop and teach a course on innovation to company executives throughout the world. A 25-year tenure at the Polaroid Corporation preceded this, concluding with the assignment of Corporate Vice President for New Business Development.

Between corporate experiences, Polizzotto directed the Center for the Globalization of Technology at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, as well as taught courses in electrical engineering and design. In the past, he founded one and led another high tech start-up, both in the biomedical area.

Polizzotto received his Ph.D. in visual sciences, combining electrical engineering, perceptual psychology, and ophthalmology, from Tufts University. He earned M.S. and B.S. degrees in electrical engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, with Distinction, and completed The Executive Program at the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business. He is a member of Tau Beta Pi and was an NCAA Post Graduate Scholar. He holds eleven patents and is a Charter Fellow in the National Academy of Inventors. He is the author of numerous articles on human color perception, digital imaging, microphotography, and innovation, as well as two books on drum set instruction.

Currently, Polizzotto is an Executive in Residence at Northeastern University for Research and Innovation in the College of Engineering and for Technical Program Development at Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security helping to develop and implement innovative ways for industry, the government, and academia to collaborate. He is also a partner in The Practice of Innovation teaching innovation fundamentals to industry and academia globally.