Publication 4094

Umpleby S. A., Anbari F. T. & Müller K. H. (2007) Highly innovative research teams: The case of the biological computer laboratory (BCL). In: Müller A. & Müller K. H. (eds.) An unfinished revolution? Heinz von Foerster and the Biological Computer Laboratory, BCL, 1959–1976. Echoraum, Vienna: 189–209. Fulltext at
The article has been divided into three sections and proceeds from general insights and observations in innovation research across firms and scientific institutes to a narrower focus on radical innovations in science and their organizational environments and concludes with a specific example, namely Heinz von Foerster’s Biological Computer Laboratory at the University of Illinois in Urbana which in the short period of its existence between 1958 and 1975 exhibited a large number of essential characteristics for radically innovative research. In fact, it is astonishing in retrospect that Heinz von Foerster shaped the organizational design of the BCL in a way which nowadays seems to be the most promising and most fruitful configuration for a permanent proliferation of highly innovative and, at times, also highly implausible and counter-intuitive ideas, theories, mechanisms or instruments.

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