A Word about Innovation

Innovation is about solving problems.  Bert and Phyllis Lamb’s interest in innovation might be best described as a concern for efficiency and effectiveness.

Phyllis designed homes for individual clients and for sale. Bert built them. They looked for ideas, improvements, and cost benefit analyses that would make the construction process faster, easier, and less expensive.  Later, when Bert was Superintendent of Parks and Golf Courses for the City of Palm Springs he pursued innovation in the same way: How could play on the city golf course be made faster, how could employee work schedules result in less “down time?” How could the City keep the workforce engaged and rewarded?

Herbert Spiro observed that “…the most awesome problems facing mankind can be solved, if they can be solved at all, only through politics.” (Politics as the Master Science, pg. 161)  Thus, being innovative means identifying a problem that is amenable to politics.

With that in mind, what might count as an “innovation” for the Lamb Prize?  Among many others, the list includes:

  • A problem-solving solution encompassing a new efficiency.
  • An idea for institutional engineering–new institutional design–following the tradition of the American founders.
  • A mechanical solution, such as in a new technique. An example from recent news articles is “big data,” mining meta-data.
  • A new policy or an approach to a policy problem.
  • A new grand idea, a new philosophy.
  • A new way of understanding or conducting the science of politics. For example, using a research method in a new way or critiquing a current method.
  • An idea addressing implementation or administration, such as personnel management, budgeting, or finance.

Engage with us!  We want to read your good ideas!

This entry was posted in Guidance for Applications, Guidance for Nominations, Innovation. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Word about Innovation

  1. Pingback: Claire McMorris Receives the Lamb Prize at the WSSA | The Bert & Phyllis Lamb Prize in Political Science

  2. Pingback: How to Apply for the Lamb Prize | The Bert & Phyllis Lamb Prize in Political Science

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