Offspring Solutions launched its lab for innovation and remote operations management with the goal of spurring innovative solutions from both internal and external stakeholders including employees, partners, universities and other stakeholders. The Solutions Optimization and Innovation Lab (SOIL) opened in the corporate offices of Offspring Solutions in Kingstowne, VA.
“Innovation is the key to our economy, our nation, and the future of Offspring Solutions and small businesses must take a leadership role,” said Offspring CEO Alex Armour. This lab will foster the ideation and commercialization of employee- and partner-based innovation that makes a significant difference in the value of our client delivery model.”
The concept for the SOIL had both academic and entrepreneurial origins. CEO, Alex Armour, created the lab in an effort to bridge this interaction gap through what’s coined as “engaged scholarship” The term “scholarship of engagement” is an emergent concept first used by Ernest Boyer in a 1996 article by that title. The term redefines faculty scholarly work from application of academic expertise to community engaged scholarship that involves the faculty member in a reciprocal partnership with the community, is interdisciplinary, and integrates faculty roles of teaching, research, and service. While there is variation in current terminology (public scholarship, scholarship of engagement, community-engaged scholarship), engaged scholarship is defined by the collaboration between academics and individuals outside the academy knowledge professionals and the lay public (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity. The scholarship of engagement includes explicitly democratic dimensions of encouraging the participation of non-academics in ways that enhance and broaden engagement and deliberation about major social issues inside and outside the university.
“It’s clear that innovation isn’t bounded by organizational structures, company bureaucracies, or particular areas of study,” says Armour. “We bring together our seasoned information technology consultants with their counterparts from other fields such as design, business, government, law, medicine, and science to create an ecosystem of innovation for our clients and stakeholders. Our interests are continually forward-thinking and always aligned with the best interests of our clients.”