Thinker, professor, strategist, traveler, and rhetorician in training
A page about Steve Diasio.
Writing & research
open innovation, decision support, collective intelligence, long tail of expertise!!!
Steve is a Clinical Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Muma College of Business at the University of South Florida. Steve has been a researcher at ESADE Business School in Barcelona, Spain, Imperial Business School in London, UK in the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Group and has taught at other universities in Europe.
As a professor, he teaches courses in management and uses design thinking for problem solving in the areas of innovation, strategy and entrepreneurship. Steve is the founder of the Finger Puppet Management Framework- an innovative way to teach management in the classroom, where students create TV shows to learn management and innovation. Steve was the ‘expert in residence’ in a teaching collaboration with the Patterson Foundation, Feld Entertainment (Ringling Brothers Circus and Disney on Ice). Steve view’s his work at the intersection of management and design and is an advocate for using design approaches to solve challenging business and societal problems.
Steve has launched two MBA courses: Management Design Thinking and Innovation and Dali at USF and is the only course on the topic in the state of Florida. This course is offered as a 1-week intensive course and a 6-week online course.
Prior to pursuing his Ph.D., Steve worked at Aon Corp. as a project manager designing front and back-end underwriting systems, a not-for-profit in Chicago, clerking at the Chicago Board of Trade and at a leading fashion designer in London.
To read more about Steve and his role at USF, check out the Faculty Spotlight page.
Writing & research
As a researcher of innovation, Steve's contributions include extending the open innovation paradigm through his investigation with IBM Innovation Jams. Steve argues that inflows and outflows of knowledge within open innovation are relevant beyond product and service innovation and through the application of emerging technology can support managerial decision-making. Research during his Ph.D. studies at ESADE Business School culminated in framing his Open Model of Decision-Support research agenda.
Download Not All That Jazz Jamband as a Metaphor for Organizing New Models of Innovation Article.
He has worked as a lead researcher on several European projects including: IA5 Research Project sponsored by the Spanish Ministry of Industry focusing on open innovation- a precursor to Europe's Open Cities and the development of a cognitive system with the GREC research group on Project SENSUS and chocolatier Oriol Balaguer.
Steve’s research touches on the use of metaphors to understand models of innovation. He argues the dominant metaphor of a jazz band to understand innovation and creativity is outdated and limiting. Steve suggests new metaphors are needed to understand emerging models of innovation. Steve offers the metaphor of a ‘jamband’ as the new lens to view these new modes of innovation. Drawing from the legendary ‘jambands’ such as, The Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers Band and even Dave Matthews Band, insights into the microfoundations and mechanisms to design these emerging models of innovations can be made. Click Here for news coverage on topic.
Steve is a track chair for the Open Innovation track at the European Academy of Management Conference. Click here for the call for papers.
Steve is the founder of the annual Design School Social Media Rankings (see below).
Diasio, S. (2019) An Alternative History of Open Innovation- A Complementary View to Xerox PARC, European Academy of Management Conference, Lisbon, Portugal.
Diasio, S. (2017) Open Models of Decision Support: Towards a Framework, ISPIM - International Society for Professional Innovation Management, Melbourne, Australia.
Diasio, S. (2017) Problem-Solvers and Solution-Seeking Firms: Connecting Learning to Innovation Contests, European Academy of Management Conference, Glasgow, Scotland.
Diasio, S. (2016) A Techno-Social Perspective of Innovation Jams- Defining and Characterizing (under review at journal).
Diasio, S. (2016) Learning from Open Innovation Contests: Exploring Problem-Solvers and Solution-Seeking Firms, ISPIM - International Society for Professional Innovation Management, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Diasio, S. (2016) Not All That Jazz! Jamband as a Metaphor for Organizing New Models of Innovation, European Management Journal. Volume 34, Issue 2, Pages 125–134 (Impact Factor 1.43)
Diasio, S. (2016) A Techno-Social Perspective of Innovation Jams- Defining and Characterizing (Awarded Best Paper in Innovation SIG), European Academy of Management Conference, Paris, France.
Diasio, S. (2015) Evolution and Definitions of Innovation Jams, DRUID15 Conference, Rome, Italy.
Diasio, S. (2015) Not All That Jazz! Jamband as a Metaphor for Organizing New Models of Innovation, European Academy of Management Conference, Warsaw, Poland.
Diasio, S., Bakici, T. (2010) A Process View of Open Innovation, DRUID-DIME Academy Winter 2010 Conference, Aalborg (DK).
Diasio, S., (2010) An Intermediary’s Perspective on Co-creation: Mechanisms for Knowledge Management, AMCIS 2010 Proceedings. Paper 332. Lima, Peru.
Diasio, S., Agell, N., (2009) The evolution of expertise in decision support technologies: A challenge for organizations, CSCWD, pp. 692–697, 13th International Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work in Design, Santiago, Chile.
Principles of Management Fall 2015 4.6 out of 5.0
"The Finger Puppet Management (Framework/ Project) was a very effective experienced based learning tool."
Strategic Management Capstone 2015 4.7 out of 5.0
"Professor Diasio has been one of the best professors I have had the pleasure of working with. He is very passionate about what he teaches, as well as inspirational. His teaching method is different in ways of some other professors, but this difference is the contributing factor on what sets him apart from others. He allows us to work on our group presentations on our own time and is there for any feedback that will help us perform and present better next time around. I also appreciated some of his 'energy' exercises to help loosen us up and maintain focus. I definitely recommend and promote his teaching expertise."
Entrepreneurship 5.0 out of 5.0
"I think this was a great course that taught me: effective business strategies and research, self-discipline-
the meaning of commitment to an entrepreneurial venture various methods of raising money being
acutely aware of reality and trends; being a keen observer of patterns and how that might translate into
noticing and predicting trends in business and society how to effectively present business ideas."
Principles of Management- 5.0 out of 5.0
"How could I ever compare this class to my future ones? And I realized it’d be very hard to. How many classes throw the “energy” around the room? How many classes pass the “red bra”? Not too many as I have experienced already."
Principles of Management- 4.7 out of 5.0
"I have never had a Professor like Dr. Diasio. Dr. Diasio made learning fun... especially when it came to learning about management. I actually thought out of the box with him and we had so much fun in this class. I love how we were put into real life situations, like how we would be in the real world."
Principles of Management- 4.3 out of 5.0
"His way of changing the conventional way of doing things really made me think about what I was doing and helped me learn the material."
Project Management 4.5 out of 5.0
“Teacher [Steve] was always there to give great feedback and help with students. It made our work that much better.”
Organization and Management 4.6 out of 5.0
“I think Steve is a great teacher and he makes the evolution of modern teaching a great learning experience. Steve has great ideas, I can’t wait for him to come up with more.”
Insights from Online Teaching using Youtube and Instagram
As educational institutions move towards online course delivery, technology is increasingly playing a critical role in how student engage with the curriculum and learn. Having taught several online courses and experimented with different types of technology, I have found my courses gravitating to two social media platforms: Youtube and Instagram. Higher Ed has been talking about Facebook and Twitter, but little discussion has been made about how Youtube and Instagram can be used in the online classroom. This post is to help shed light on how these social media platforms can be used to drive learning.
The following represents insights from my online teaching experience which includes:
-A course Youtube Channel https://youtu.be/s4tbcHsvkBc
-A course Instagram https://instagram.com/fingerpuppetmanagementtv/
1. The ability to engage with a wider audience and not limited to learning with those enrolled in the classroom and before, during and after the course.
Traditionally courses have been insular and confined to predefined boundaries. In an online course this may be the learning management platform you use. This posits who and where people learn. Having opened my course using Youtube and Instagram, learning has been pushed outward- allowing knowledge and learning to flow freely between the boundaries of the course and the public (external collaborators). It has enabled students to engage with the curriculum before the course starts, while it is going on and to continue the learning once they have finished the course. Using these social media platforms allow students to engage with a wider audience (the public) and in crafting their voice and communication skills and in even building a following. Since my students create TV shows (Finger Puppet Management TV https://youtu.be/s4tbcHsvkBc ) in my management course, they are learning about management as they complete the project, but also educating those who view the videos (many of very high quality entertainment value). With 10,000 views from 120 countries around the world, the course Youtube channel demonstrates the potentiality to cultivate large audiences for learning beyond the traditional classroom.
2. Learning from others visually by seeing peer examples and work.
Students can learn from many approaches. To complement the experiential and verbal learning that happens in my class, social media provides opportunities to learn visually. Visual learning allows for ideas, concepts and connections to be made through images- static or through videos. Using Youtube and Instagram allows visual learning to take place, when student post their work to these platforms. I have seen students learning from peer work, as they watch the videos other students have created on Youtube or Instagram. This provides clarity in what is expected and to replicate expectations and outcomes. With over 700 student created videos on our course Finger Puppet Management TV Youtube channel and 550 Instagram posts (https://instagram.com/fingerpuppetmanagementtv/), students can learn from others visually before, during and after the course.
3. Encourage and support peers via likes, hearts, thumb ups, comments and emoticons- many of these come from outside the classroom when you have an open classroom where public can interact.
Feedback is critical in improving ones work. Generally feedback in the classroom is either written or verbal. I have learned from using Youtube and Instagram in the classroom, students are receiving feedback and support in the form of likes, hearts, thumb ups and emoticons. These forms of feedback are quick and students are able to gain encouragement as a result. Emoticons have been the most interesting, since they portray arrange of meanings far beyond what a binary (likes vs dislikes, thumb up vs thumb down) approach could. Anyone who has seen emoticons being used will quickly realize it becoming a language in and of itself. This type of feedback can be from students enrolled in the course or from the public that wants to engage with the course.
4. Sense of being together in a community- a way of building togetherness even if they are around the country while taking the class.
Online courses provide flexibility for students; however they are often isolated from others in the course. Social media has acted as a bridge in building a shared community and in fostering a sense of togetherness among my students. As students share and collaborate using Youtube and Instagram they see the work of others that are going through the same course and facing the same challenges. In this way, students do not feel alone, but instead feel invested in the course, build a shared identity; sharing common symbols and build an environment of trust and safety. This has helped raise the quality of work among the students as a result. Since others are watching, students are motivated to produce work they are proud of and happy to show the community.
5. Learning to engage with new technology and social media in a professional manner.
No doubt many millennials know how to use the technologies that drive social media; however their behavior between what and how they share from personal and professional settings is a skill that will be of growing importance as social media becomes embedded in our workplace. The next generation of mangers will be using platforms such as Yammer and Facebook at Work in entirely new ways. These will enhance collaboration to share knowledge through different forms (files, videos and surveys) and in influencing decision making. Preparing students know will enable them to be prepared and leaders of this trend.
From my students’ feedback, these platforms help to enable a more engaging online learning environment. It is important to note, Youtube and Instagram should be used as tools within a larger online learning approach and not seen as a panacea to ineffective teaching. To help support this, institutions should develop clear social media guidelines that are in line with privacy laws and the values of the institution.
Thinking of Creativity and Innovation.
Is our Thinking of Creativity and Innovation Elitist?
If you are easily offended please stop reading. If you feel a bit uncomfortable after reading this post then I did my job, and if you aren't- then I didn't tell you anything that you didn't already know.
A recent post by Sawyer (2015) suggests our elitist views of creativity have impacted our understanding of what creativity is and is riddled with these elitist values. Having missed some of the most creative people to research on, Sawyer (2015) compares using creative high-status professions (that are regularly the focus of creativity research) to a set of professions that potentially broaden our ability to understand creativity in order to break with this elitist perspective and limiting research agenda.
So what are these elitist creative and non-high status professions that shape or potentially shape future understanding of creativity? (If you are a professor, designer, artist beware).
Adapted from Sawyer (2015)
~Stage actors: compared with children’s party clowns. I’d be the first to agree that actors are highly skilled. But they’re basically reading from a script, and following director’s instructions. Compare that to a person who hires herself out every weekend as a clown, for children’s birthday parties. That person has to create their own facial makeup and costume; their own name and persona. They have to decide on a set of interactive and fun activities that correspond to the ages of the children at that particular event; they have to interact and respond, in the moment, to unexpected developments and children’s personalities. Lots of creativity researchers have studied Broadway stage actors. But has anyone studied party clowns? No.
~Ballet dancers: compared with football cheerleaders. As with actors, elite ballet dancers are highly skilled. But they’re basically following choreography that was created hundreds of years ago. Compare that to a team of cheerleaders performing at a high school or college football game. The team’s routines are often designed collaboratively by the cheerleaders themselves. They have to decide when, in each game, is the best time to execute a specific routine. Lots of creativity researchers have included ballet dancers in their studies. But has anyone ever studied cheerleaders? No
~Musicians: compared to vintage motorcycle mechanics. I myself am a highly trained classical pianist, so I’m talking about myself here: performing sheet music does not require creativity. Contrast this to vintage motorcycle repair: I own a 1982 BMW motorcycle, and I recently took it into a legendary mechanic here in North Carolina. Watching him take apart and analyze my motorcycle, I saw a very high level of creativity. Every one of these old motorcycles is slightly different, and everyone has its own set of unique problems. (I highly recommend the book Shop Class as Soul Craft; it’s a brilliant discussion of this work.) Lots of creativity researchers have studied violinists and pianists. But has anyone studied the creativity of engine mechanics? No
~Writers of novels and short stories: Compared to ministers who write Sunday sermons. In contrast to the first three occupations, being a fiction writer requires creativity. But imagine the church minister who has to compose an original sermon (and most likely prayers as well) every Sunday. Each sermon involves great creativity. Lots of creativity researchers have studied novelists. But has anyone ever studied the creativity of ministers? No.
Instead of pouring more gasoline on the fire, I would like to break from Sawyer and push this argument towards researchers of innovation. There is no shortage of research on companies such as Apple, Google, IBM, and P&G, but how has these studies inhibited our understanding of innovation? Is it possible to look at other places, companies, forms, models that challenge our existing assumptions of innovation? It is important to highlight some researchers are investigating under represented industries to add to our understanding and the nuances of innovation. These include (not limited to) the SME researchers within the open innovation research paradigm. Some of these focus on pet insurance, radiators and bicycles. The frugal innovation literature also offers a view that separates from the glamorous companies we are obsessed with and provides a deep connection between scarcity and innovation. Moreover, even the accepted metaphor for innovation- jazz has elitist elements and no new metaphor has been developed to fit current more inclusive models of innovation.
How we think, research and frame our understanding of creativity and innovation has significant impact in our future ability to apply these concepts to solve challenging social problems that penetrate all walks of life. It is our interest to continue to challenge existing assumption and search out areas of research that may offer insight into the existing values and cultural concepts embedded in creativity and innovation.
If we continue this reasoning further, what does it say about Florida, Tapscott, Martin, and Nussbaum's argument for the chosen "creative class?" Is it moot and collapse? Or are they open to study clowns, cheerleaders, mechanics and ministers too? Is it possible to discover more about creativity and innovation in other professions? What can we learn from say- garbage (men and women), dog walkers, puppeteers, the circus, or innovative business models from salsa studios (in my next post)?
If you are interested in breaking this elitist mold, consider joining the few courageous heretic researchers not aligning creativity with a select few, but instead seeking out creativity within all professions and walks of life. As Rehn (2013) would suggest, "it's time to think creatively about creativity."
Lastly, to researchers of creativity and innovation, Sawyer reminds us that “correlation is not causation.”
Do we have a problem? How are you feeling?
Project Yachts for Millennials @USF St. Petersburg
The students are charged with developing strategies for The Moorings to grow its market share with the millennial generation, with the goal of making The Moorings the premier luxury yacht charter provider for this demographic. The students will use the strategic management process and design thinking tools to create a platform that communicates The Moorings mission, values, and products to the millennial generation.
The project bridges industry and learning in the classroom by providing students with an opportunity to solve problems The Moorings are facing today, giving students real world experience before they graduate. Through this collaboration, students will research and present findings about the yacht charter industry as it relates to millennials, apply strategic planning tools to develop new growth opportunities within this market, and gain valuable experience that add to the student’s portfolio for employment.
The project is in connection with Dr. Steve Diasio’s Strategic Management course, supported by The Moorings team- led by Maria Badia, Shannon Brennan, and Ian Pedersen. The students will present their ideas to The Moorings over the semester and the winning teams will present to The Moorings’ executives at their Clearwater, Florida headquarters at the end of the semester.
See project work:
Destination Dubai: Mentoring Students in Business Plan Development & Pitch
Since 2011, Steve has mentored 10 students in the development and acceptance to the Education without Boarders Conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. In March of 2013, two of Steve's entrepreneurship students were selected as ambassadors to the conference and part of the best submission process for their business plans.
Steve's designer students joined more than 1000 fellow youth from 130 different countries at the conference, hosted by the Higher Colleges of Technology of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. As a conference primarily focused on STEM- Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics education, Ringling College's attendance represented a first for the school and for the design community to have students compete for funding. This reflects the changing role the Arts can play in education to solve challenging societal problems around the world.
Student business plans created:
1. A New Educational Model for Students of Developing Countries- focused on revising the curriculum of Ghanaian schools to suit the needs of those students.
2. The Gamified, Open Source Learning Platform- focused on turning the education system into a game-like environment.
Innovation In The Classroom
The Role of Improv!
How my students learn
Steve's teaching philosophy is highly correlated to active learning. To learn more on how this happens in practice read the Business Students Present Strategic Initiatives to Valpak article and see the video demo below.
Design thinking & management.
Student work examples: Design approaches to learning management.
Project Yachts for Millennials
Working with The Moorings to developing a competitive advantage by targeting the millennial generation.
Class parody TV show final episode #7. Demonstrates what the students went through to learn management concepts. (guess who the professor is?)
"Cinema From Beyond"
Students had to come up with an original idea and follow the entrepreneurial journey. Project Crowdfunding allowed students to learn the skills to be an entrepreneur and to implement a passion project. Go Donate!!
Survivor: Management Edition- A mashup of iconic characters with management theories and problems to solve to survive
Client Based Project: Project Management Course
Designing an app for a more engaging visitors experience
Client Based Project: Partners for Sustainability on Campus
Designing strategy from the top-down and bottom-up for change (3 phase strategy for sustainability)
Service Design Tools and Booklet
Based on the Service Design + Toursim Conference
FingerPuppet ManagementTV: Booklet
Project Sustainable Tourism
Students work with a tour operator- Explora Caribe in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico to help build a strategic sustainability plan. This was a convergence of strategy, sustainability and design principles. See video here
A Show About A Show
Students created the first reality TV Show about them creating a TV show. Students used a iphone, selfie stick and a skateboard. This is the trailer to the TV Show.
The Wizarding World of Management
Using #HarryPotter students demonstrate management concepts. Hogwarts and its teachers help train Harry and his friends to face problems in making the Yule ball a success.
Steve and Selfies.
What I Have in Common with Ellen Degeneres,The Pope and Kim Kardashian.
Ellen did it at the Oscars!
The Pope does it with his followers!
Kim is publishing a book of her doing them!
And I am an advocate for it!
Specifically, I am an advocate for Selfies as a design research method and I would like to be the first to suggest selfies can be used as a powerful research tool for businesses and organizations.
Selfies have taken off this year and have become a global phenomenon. Selfies are spontaneous, improvised, and temporal; with the primary purpose to be seen here, now, and by other people. Taking a quick self-portrait, made with a smartphone camera may not seem overly revolutionary, but these simple pictures offer a gateway to knowledge that was previously untapped by organizations.
Organizations that are looking to understand how users engage with their products and services, may find using selfies as a mechanism to provide useful context to this problem and insight to these interactions.
Selfies are a form of visual communication that are distributed immediately of where we are, what we’re doing, who we think we are, and who we think is watching. Within selfies, meta data of information such as location, mood (facial expressions), other users (who is in the photo), unique ways of interacting with a product or service, tags, emojis and in real-time can provide insight for an organization to adapt its product, service and marketing to the needs of its users.
For instance, selfies can indicate early adopters and extreme users of products- a key component for organizational innovation, or indicate novel ways products are being used to solve unmet needs of certain user groups. Selfies can also play a role in mitigating risk from the miss use of products or indicate intellectual property infringement. Organizations can even create a selfie index (S-Index) to measure product or service use per Tweet or Instagram post- much like the Kardashian Index (K-Index) does for research scientists and citations.
No doubt advancement in technology can play a role in extracting information from selfies by finding patterns from these photos over a large population. Since selfies are commonly placed on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, selfies offer organizations an added dimension to link engagement through social media to what is popular- where and when. No doubt future technological advancements will produce even more unique forms of selfies- from holographic, historical, full-size, animated, pedagogical and interactive.
Selfies can be traced back to the Greek theatrical idea of methexis— where the audience participates, shares and partakes within the play, Greek theory of citizenship by actively playing a role within the community and in Plato’s Theory of Forms.
Selfies can be compared to the sociological research method of photo elicitation when Collier (1957) from Cornell University found certain “…themes to be difficult to explore in surveys or in-depth interviews and decided to try a new interview technique using photographic images…”
Selfies can be seen as a reflection of modern life, with significant power to provide insight to the past and in aiding us to anticipate the future. Imagine what the collective pool of selfies could tell us about the details of our lives today and if we had them- of Ancient Greek, Egyptian, and Roman civilizations.
The mass amount of knowledge found within selfies, combined with advancement of technology offer a rich research environment for businesses and organizations to better understand their customers. I am encouraging businesses, organizations and researchers to follow the selfie movement and use selfies as a method of research for understanding present and future needs and trends of their products and services.
Speaking, Consulting, training & expert witness.
Available for Business Strategy & Innovation Management Expert Witness & Consulting and Training
Academic and industry exprerience in financial markets, risk, innovation, and strategy in the USA and Europe.