Center for Innovation and Change Leadership (CICL)

The Center for Innovation and Change Leadership at Suffolk University helps people and organizations embrace change through collaboration. We invite you to learn more about our work here.

"Innovation and change are, together, a powerful engine propelling any organization to move forward. Business Schools often play a leadership role in preparing future innovation and change agents, as well as in acting as a think tank and an action generator.

"The Sawyer Business School’s CICL concentrates on four important dimensions of change, unifying various resources and assets at the School to help participants enhance their skillsets, sharpen their ideas, and implement action plans to create lasting impacts. Our formula is given as “Innovation + Change + Collaboration = Impact."

—Amy Zeng, PhD, Dean, Sawyer Business School

CICL Purpose and Mission

The Center for Innovation and Change Leadership (CICL) is a hub that supports people and organizations to embrace change across four key areas:

  1. Technological and digital change
  2. Global business change
  3. People and social change
  4. Environmental and climate change

We strive to be a “think-and-do” tank that fosters interdisciplinary research, educational initiatives, and community engagement. We view innovation, collaboration, and leadership as driving forces for positive change in the business and public world.

Past Events

The center’s last event for Spring 2023 was a panel on the changing landscape of creative industries due to spikes in technological advancements. Moderated by Suffolk’s Marketing professor, Li Chen, “Digitalization in Creative Industries," allowed three panelists to open up about their experience with the widespread innovation that is changing the landscape of their work. They touched on hot topics such as NFTs, virtual reality, and animation. While the industry continues to change, it is important to remain flexible, not letting opportunities of growth and learning to be passed up.

Digitalization in Creative Industries

About the Panelists

Professor Robert DeFillippi brought his academic perspective as an expert in innovation and strategy with numerous articles published on how firms can successfully navigate disruptive technologies. Previously, he was a Strategy and International Business professor at Suffolk University. Now, he is working on his recent publication, International Perspectives on Business Innovation and Disruption in Design, which focuses on the role of design innovation in transforming industry practice.

As director of animation at Richard Lewis Media Group, Alyssa F. provided insightful information as to how the museum industry is shifting with the introduction of interactive media. Alyssa manages a team of animators who create digital media experiences for museums and other venues, ranging from large-scale immersive projection videos to interactive phone apps.

Finally, Jay Salois is an entrepreneur and the founder of VRtical Media, a virtual reality company that specializes in immersive and inclusive virtual tours. His business venture allows him to witness the advancements that virtual reality has offered to industries such as hospitality and retail.

Tuesday, January 24th, 2023 Suffolk University and the Center for Innovation and Change Leadership were delighted to welcome Joel Pedlikin of Greensight, Keydell Fuller of Southie Autonomy, and Mike Bearman of Vecna Robotics to discuss the obstacles of getting a tech startup off the ground in our event presented by MassRobotics, “Securing a Paying Customer.”

Moderated by Joyce Sidopoulos, CEO of MassRobotics, panelists were asked to describe their experience in finding their first paying customer, the evolution of their company since then, and the biggest tips they learned along the way. One stand out point was the notion of “creating a chain” or building a client base through the network of already established customers. Sometimes this takes a little bit of luck and a lot of grit, and often we just have to fake it until we make it!

Panel members at a CICL event

About the Panelists

Joel Pedlikin is the co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of GreenSight, a small Boston tech startup developing fully autonomous robotic systems that integrate drones, ground robots, and cloud software. Before GreenSight, Joel spent 17 years in the aerospace industry developing small spacecraft, rocket engines, and unmanned airplanes, gathering extensive experience in aerospace engineering, project management, and executive leadership. He has an MBA from Babson College, MS in aeronautics from Caltech, and a BS in mechanical engineering from Brown University.

As head of sales at Southie Autonomy, Keydell Fuller oversees the complete sales cycle. Currently, he handles the cold and warm leads that enter the pipeline, and then takes each customer through the multi-step process until there is a signed contract. Keydell studied business and technology at Babson College, and he has also held leadership positions, playing a key role in 5 tech-based startups over the past 5 years.

Mike Bearman has been with Vecna Robotics from the beginning as part of the founding team. Mike is a graduate of Georgetown Law School. After working in Big Law, he joined Vecna Technologies and later Vecna Robotics. He has held a broad range of roles within the company with deep involvement in business development, sales support, and a variety of operation areas. In addition, Mike has worked closely with investors to help raise $135 million in funding for Vecna Robotics.

Suffolk University and CICL were honored to host Professor Akrom Omonov, chair of the Banking Department at Tashkent Institute of Finance, this Monday, November 28th, 2022. Faculty and students engaged in an enlightening lecture on the banking system of Uzbekistan and the Russian Federation. Professor Omonov explained the present state of Uzbekistan from the perspective of an insider, its current banking system, and the previous operations before the communist collapse. He also answered questions regarding the government's tough regulations, the potential for digital currency, and the future of banking in Uzbekistan. This event was a valuable opportunity for Finance and Global Business majors to learn about the systems of a part of the world that is often regarded with a question mark.

CICL banking system

Professor Akrom Omonov has previous experience in banking for over ten years. He promptly left his position in the industry to pursue his love for teaching and constant learning. His recent research explores the idea of digital banking and how it was affected by the cultural shift of the pandemic. Read his publication here.

On Monday, November 7th, 2022, Suffolk University and CICL was honored to host Dr. George Kassinis for a discussion on sustainability while looking at the culture and history of Cyprus. Dr. Kassinis is a professor in the School of Economics and Management at the University of Cyprus. This conversation was mainly fueled by his research in Corporate Social Responsibility to touch on topics such as stakeholder pressure, the influence of the board of directors, and the consequences of corruption in a company's country of origin. The faculty in attendance were able to expand their perspective on their own research with the power of collaborative discussion while gaining insight on the opportunities that Cyprus has to offer.

Attendees of a CICL event

About Dr. George Kassinis

Teacher, researcher, and practitioner, Dr. George Kassinis has been a professor at the University of Cyprus for over 24 years while also contributing as a member of the Board of Management at The English School. He got his PhD in Public Policy, Environmental Economics and Management, and Regional Economics and Development at Princeton University. Currently, his research focuses on the strategic choices organizations make in dynamic environments and the implications of these choices for competitiveness and performance. Dr. Kassinis’s work has been published in Harvard Business Review, Journal of Management Studies, and Journal of Business Ethics. Learn more about Dr. George Kassinis.

Suffolk University's Center for Innovation and Change Leadership (CICL) was honored to host a two-day research presentation and paper development workshop with Dr. Charles Noble, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Product Innovation Management (JPIM), on September 28-29th, 2022. Dr. Noble shared insights on how to get published in JPIM, along with the journal’s scope and mission. He also served as a panelist for research presentation from Suffolk faculty and external professionals. This workshop encouraged interactions between researchers as they develop potential submissions to JPIM.

Participants at a Center for Innovation and Change Leadership event seated around an oval table listening to the speaker, Dr. Charles Noble.

About Dr. Charles Noble

Dr. Charles Nobles is a Henry Distinguished Professor of Business at Haslam College of Business at the University of Tennessee.

His research interests focus generally on design and development processes, as applied to both products and services. He has published in many leading journals, including the Journal of Marketing, Strategic Management Journal, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Journal of Product Innovation Management, IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management and many others. Dr. Noble has consulted for many organizations, primarily in the airline, retailing, consumer goods and commercial real estate sectors. He has won several awards for both research and teaching. Learn more about our guest.

Virtual Networking Event with Dr. Robert Merton, the 1997 Nobel Prize Winner in Economics.

Suffolk University's Finance Department and Center for Innovation and Change Leadership was honored to host a virtual networking event with Dr. Robert Merton, the 1997 Nobel Prize Winner in Economics on Friday, November 19, 2021. The event was offered free to all Suffolk community and external networks. Dr. Merton engaged the audience in understanding the role of financial innovations and financial science in promoting economic growth and development through both historical derivative tools and the new financial technologies in today's complex world. Dr. Merton also shared his view on cryptocurrencies and other financial innovation tools during the Q&A session. The event was well attended by both faculty across disciplines and external professionals.

Merton 2015

About Dr. Robert Merton

Dr. Robert Merton is currently resident scientist at Dimensional Holdings, Inc., where he is the creator of Target Retirement Solution, a global integrated retirement-funding solution system.

Dr. Merton received the Alfred Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1997 for a new method to determine the value of derivatives. He is past president of the American Finance Association, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Merton is the author of Continuous-Time Finance and a coauthor of Cases in Financial Engineering: Applied Studies of Financial Innovation; The Global Financial System: A Functional Perspective; Finance; and Financial Economics. He has also been recognized for translating finance science into practice. Learn more about our Nobel Laureate guest speaker.

The award is just one of several CICL initiatives to integrate best practices of innovation and collaboration within the research, teaching, and service missions of CICL and Suffolk University’s Sawyer Business School.

2015 Winner: Nypro

8 people taking a picture of them holding awards, GLIC Award 

Watch the interview with Nypro CEO Courtney Ryan, recipient of the 2015 GLIC Award.

2013 Winner: World Wide Web Consortium

W3C COO Ralph Swick interview, people having a meeting and with pc on the table 

Watch interview with W3C COO Ralph Swick

The competition is the world's first crowd-driven awards program and is co-produced with Imaginatik.


To qualify, winning innovations:

  1. must have been launched within the last 2 years
  2. must have been created by people working on at least a half-time basis for an organization(s) with 200 or more employees
  3. must be submitted by a team of at least 2 people (lone individuals cannot enter – focus is on collaborative innovation)
  4. must be able to speak publicly about the innovation (submissions are non-confidential)

Contest Format and Timelines

First Round: February – March

  • Six weeks for open submissions through an online platform
  • Two weeks for crowd voting
  • Finalists chosen in each award category

Second Round: April

  • All finalists must submit additional information
  • Two weeks for final-round crowd voting
  • Two weeks of Selection Committee final judging

Awards Ceremony – May (Boston, MA)

  • Winners announced in each category
  • Prizes conferred at innovators conference
  • Private dinner for winners and judges
  • Final dates / details TBD

Our partners:

  • Eastern Bank
  • Brown Brothers Harriman
  • EMD Serono
  • GET Advisory Services, LLC
  • Vertex Pharmaceuticals

The meeting, called “Innovative Collaboration for a Complex World: Reaching Across institutional Divides,” discussed how today’s businesses, NGOs, and government agencies form partnerships to reach new markets, develop corporate social responsibility initiatives, provide public services, and develop innovative solutions.

While collaboration offers many benefits, there are also unique challenges to consider. In many cases, institutions from the developed world interact with low-income communities in developing countries. In these communities, a complex and unstable blend of institutions—local, national, and supranational—coexist side by side.

How do you manage and communicate with diverse teams? How should organizations approach and structure their partnerships? How do specific innovations stemming from cross-sector social interactions tackle complex problems?

These are just some of the questions that were addressed at the symposium, which was organized by Sawyer Business School Associate Professor Carlos Rufin and EMLYON Business School Associate Professor Miguel Rivera-Santos, with the support of an Organizing Committee formed by recognized experts on cross-sector partnerships: Professor James Austin of Harvard Business School, Professor Andrew Crane of York University, Professor May Seitanidi of the University of Kent, Professor Rob van Tulder of Erasmus University, and Professor Sandra Waddock of Boston College.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Professor Sandra Waddock of the Carroll School of Management at Boston College received the Lifetime Achievement Award for her work in the field of cross-sector interactions. Professor Waddock has published 10 books and more than 100 papers on topics related to corporate responsibility, multi-sector collaboration, and management education. The award was sponsored by the Partnerships Resource Centre at the Rotterdam School of Management.

Business Analytics

With an emphasis on networking and collaboration, our business analytics offering has a multidisciplinary and multi-method approach.

Faculty from different departments, perspectives, and backgrounds follow this general analytical approach:

  • Business Problem/Question Framing
  • Analytics Problem Framing
  • Data
  • Methodology/Approach Selection
  • Model Building and Evaluation
  • Deployment
  • Life Cycle Management
  • Continuous Improvement

Our topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Engaging customer participation and extracting customer insights in mobile marketing and social media
  • Customer value co-creation in product and service innovations
  • Using Big Data and marketing analytics to drive innovation successes and global competitiveness
  • Market dynamism and firms' adaptive capabilities
  • Intra- and inter-organizational integration for creating and delivering customer value
  • Embedded reminder systems for improved population health
  • Community health indicators to prevent and reverse obesity

We welcome projects from analysts, managers, consultants, and researchers who wish to understand, describe, analyze, predict, and transform their data into greater business value. 

e-Health Innovation Project

Vision and Mission

This is a project for innovation and applied research in the design, implementation, management and use of health information technology (HIT). HIT includes, but is not limited to the following: health records, telehealth, and consumer health informatics.

The e-Health Innovation Project supports innovation, learning and applied research in the design, implementation, management and use of health information technology (HIT). Project members collaborate with HIT professionals from healthcare delivery and other sectors on research and on educational activities such as public forums on current issues in e-health innovation.

We foster creative collaborations with healthcare providers, businesses, nonprofit organizations, government and others in academia. Our goal is meaningful use of HIT by health professionals and consumers in support of sustainable quality, improved access, and enhanced opportunities for consumer engagement in healthcare. This use can best emerge from health professionals and consumers acting as co-creators and collaborative users of health information.

Current Focus

We are engaging with diverse stakeholders involved with innovation in consumer health information. As we move forward, the following aspects of consumer health information technology will be on our agenda: privacy, quality, accessibility, portability, ownership, trust, and usability by both consumer and clinician.

Since 2011, we have been collaborating with Adrian Zai, MD, PhD, and other researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital to model data from information technology that optimizes cancer screening in men and women. We have good preliminary results, and are looking to extend the methodology to diabetes management and other health areas.

Innovation Leadership Series

Today, we are surrounded by innovations: new products, new services, and new technologies are now the norm, not the exception. Yet the “big issues” of innovation which weigh on our future – powering economic growth, creating responsive governments, building healthy industries – are hard to grasp, and even harder to tackle.

The Innovation Leadership Series is intended as a forum for dialogue on these “big issues” of innovation. Through seminars and panel discussions, in a format open to the general public, the Innovation Leadership Series brings together leaders from business, government, and academia to share their approaches, their frustrations, and their hopes for tackling today’s most pressing innovation issues.

For more information please contact Richard Lockhart.


The Center offers:

  • Access to the latest knowledge in the fields of innovation and change
  • Customized research, as well as educational and consultancy services focused on the unique requirements of your organization
  • Opportunities for cross-sector learning with senior industrial professionals in non-competing companies
  • Opportunities to work with distinguished leading academics and practitioners in a collaborative environment on projects that generate useful knowledge for all participants