Spring 2008

Innovation Extracts provides a quick look at current thought regarding leadership and management of planning and improvement initiatives.

If you have any questions or comments about what you read here, or if you would like to suggest items for future Innovation Extracts, please contact Louise Sandmeyer, Executive Director of the Office of Planning and Institutional Assessment, at 814-863-8721 or psupia@psu.edu.

Quality Endeavors Issue No. 108 March 2008

Innovation Extracts: “The Increasing Dominance of Teams in Production of Knowledge”

In their article in Science (Vol. 316, 18 May 2007, pp. 1036-1039, abstract at http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/1136099), Stefan Wuchty, Benjamin F. Jones, and Brian Uzzi detail how their analysis of nearly 20 million research papers from the past 50 years and 2.1 million patents shows that, regardless of the field, more and more research is being done by teams.

Quality Endeavors Issue No. 107 February 2008

Innovation Extracts:
The Power of a Positive No: How to Say No and Still Get to Yes

William Ury, Bantam Books, New York, NY. 2007

Working with limited resources, whether it’s time, funds, equipment, or people, one can’t always say “Yes” eagerly to each request for a service, product, decision, or action.  But it’s hard to say “No”, whether in the family, community, or work environment.  As presented by William Ury in The Power of a Positive No (Bantam Books, 2007) saying “Yes” may be as likely to have negative consequences as the perceived negative impact of saying “No”. Ury introduces the concept of the ‘Three A Trap’. These are the three alternative responses one often uses instead of saying “No”:

  • Accommodate: agree to do something one doesn’t want to do
  • Attack: use power and say “No” without respect
  • Avoid: provide no response to avoid offending, which creates frustration

These responses can produce a vicious cycle. Accommodation can lead to resentment, which may lead to an attack response the next time, leading to a feeling of guilt, and accommodation or avoidance for the next round.

As an alternative, building on the concepts of relationship, positions, and interests first introduced in Getting to Yes (Roger Fisher and William Ury, Penguin Books, 1991), Ury presents the ‘Positive No’, integrating relationship and interests in a three step response. In the first step, the respondent internally acknowledges and says “Yes” to their own or organizational interests. This gives them the power to say “No” to the request in the second step. However, the “No” response is given respectfully, possibly with explanation of the respondent’s interests and reasoning. This leads to the third step, in which the asker is invited to agree and say “Yes” to the “No”, maintaining the relationship. The book provides more detailed information on approaches to prepare, deliver, and follow through on a ‘Positive No’.

Ury recommends that we respond from purpose, not emotion, for our needs but not against others, and be proactive, not reactive. He uses an analogy of taking time on the balcony to look down at the situation and observe and think before responding. Ask questions, listen to the answers, and look for third options that can be proposed from a positive perspective.

Quality Endeavors Issue No. 106 January 2008

Innovation Extracts: 56 Smart Business Ideas for Higher Education

In their December 2007 issue the staff of University Business magazine brought together information on 56 ways institutions of higher education have found to operate more efficiently and effectively. You can read the article at http://www.universitybusiness.com/viewarticle.aspx?articleid=963.



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