Sociology for Transdisciplinar Innovation: Useful R&D for Solving Real Problems. Case Study.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 11:30
Location: Hörsaal 48 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Maria Elena FABREGAT CABRERA, University of Alicante, Spain
Raul RUIZ CALLADO, University of Alicante, Spain
Francisco IBANEZ, Innovatec S&C, Spain
If there is a process where transdisciplinarity must be a fact, that is the process of innovation and, in particular, technological innovation in products and services. The research reality of European universities and companies, however, does not always reflects the need for collaboration between different fields of knowledge. The transdisciplinary work between social and technological researchers (most complex than multidisciplinary, since it does not operate in parallel, but together) is the only one able to offer solvent innovations, from a technical point of view that, at the same time, guarantee practical solutions to real problems. It is usual, instead, that as a result of this inter-disciplinary distance, lots of "ownerless" innovationsare generated, implying an enormous waste of economic and labor resources.

The methods and techniques offered by sociology show great potential for the organization, guidance and systematization of innovation teams. This paper presents the extensive experience of the research staff of the Department of Sociology I (at the University of Alicante) in the management of national and international innovation cross-disciplinary teams. Methodological conclusions of the detailed analysis of more than a decade of work in this field are presented. The success stories, best practices, mistakes for learning and organizational management improvements are also provided. The procedures used by the research team of sociologists, and its theoretical foundation, are set with the intention of spreading its usefulness as a tool in this field of application, justifying the importance of sociological knowledge in managing creative heterogeneous teams capable, instead, to cooperate harmoniously for generating technological innovations of great social impact. To conclude, considerations on the work that remains to be done, the possibilities of expansion of the discipline in this field and teaching models used in the University of Alicante for training future sociologists in this field are offered.