Methods for Enabling Innovation Learning

Posted: 13 Jan 2017

See all articles by Carlos A. Osorio

Carlos A. Osorio

Yuken Impact Research Lab; Deusto Business School

Date Written: January 11, 2017


There are fundamental differences between “teaching innovation” and “enabling people to innovate”. In this paper we study the technical and behavioral challenges for enabling innovation learning. We present the relationships among emotional resilience and technical performance, major sources of cognitive limitations, bias and technical points of failure, based on theoretical constructs and experiments with nearly 1,000 participants of varied gender, technical and psychological diversity. Our experiments are based on a method that has achieved superior results in learning and impact (40 team-based theses raised US$13 million in funding, obtained 13 patents, and launched 19 startups and 11 corporate ventures in 5 years). The method was designed with the objective of building innovation capabilities in a developing country, and has been refined through exploratory and experimental iterations since 2006 at Universidad Adolfo Ibanez (Chile), Deusto Business School (Spain), MIT (US), and in corporate settings across fifteen countries including the US, Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium. The underlying methodology is based on cognitive load theory, emotional response and decision-making under uncertainty, and mobilization of capabilities. It includes a process, methods and tools for addressing the technical challenges of an innovation journey, as well as thinking and making routines for enhancing cognitive and emotional responses that affect technical performance. We have identified theoretical gaps, and explanations for how cognitive and emotional factors affect teams performance on diverse stages and tasks during innovation, and propose a construct for understanding the mediating and synergic roles of cognition and emotions at individual and team levels. The methodology was awarded the 2015 Wharton QS Reimagine Education Award for best innovation in teaching delivery. It is based on understanding innovation as a highly risky and uncertain journey of learning that is driven by discovery, enabled by empathy, and fueled by failure in order to achieve superior impact.

Keywords: learning, innovation, cognition, emotion

JEL Classification: O31, O32, O39, D8,

Suggested Citation

Osorio-Urzua, Carlos Alberto, Methods for Enabling Innovation Learning (January 11, 2017). Available at SSRN:

Carlos Alberto Osorio-Urzua (Contact Author)

Yuken Impact Research Lab ( email )

Monsenor Sotero Sanz 161
Santiago, RM 7500007


Deusto Business School ( email )

Hermanos Aguirre Kalea, 2
Bilbao, Euskadi 20012

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