Dr. Sonja Förster
Phone: +49 (0)89 289-25746
Office Hours: By appointment
- Team Training for Innovation
- Design Thinking, Behavioral Change and Psychological Safety
- Training, Retention and Transferability
|2020||Postdoctoral Researcher at Dr. Theo Schöller Chair of Technology and Innovation Management|
|2019||Postdoctoral Researcher at Chair of Technology and Innovation Management, ETH Zurich|
|2013-2019||Ph.D. Student at Chair of Technology and Innovation Management, ETH Zurich|
|2011-2013||Employment in Private Banking at Credit Suisse (Zurich)|
|2011||M.Eng. in Mechanical Engineering at Cornell University|
|2009||Dipl.-Kffr. in TUM-BWL at Technical University of Munich|
|2007-2009||Internships and Research Projects at Lufthansa (New York), Airbus (Hamburg), and Linde (Munich)|
My work centers around the question if and how innovation can be trained. Prior work suggests that a safe, judgment-free atmosphere enhances creativity and innovation. Therefore, I study the buildup of safety in team training and the different types of facilitation involved. Facilitation surfaced in the form of behavioral characteristics, i.e. how the facilitator balanced traditional teacher/student assumptions but also became visible in form of structural aspects of training, such as to induce task ambiguity or time pressure to carefully guide participants to experiment with new practices. My findings can be seen as a call for a more purposeful co-design of technical and facilitative aspects of training. The combination of both elicits behavioral change and catalyzes the transfer of learnings into practice.
Current projects include:
- Industry project on training concept that merges traditional strategy tools and design principles.
- Conceptual work on the buildup of psychological safety through design thinking.
- Mixed-methods study (interviews and sociometric data) on the impact of a design thinking intervention.
- Microethnography on the facilitation of upward voice in medical teams.
Förster, S., Feese, S. and Brusoni, S. 2020. “Playing it Safe: Design Thinking as Episodic Change.” In Academy of Management Proceedings (Vol. 2020, No. 1, p. 12270), Academy of Management Meeting (online), Vancouver, Canada (August, 2020).
Förster, S., Brusoni, S., Kolbe, M. and Grande, B. 2020. “Standing at the Tipping Point: How Facilitative Leadership engages Speaking Up.” In Academy of Management Proceedings (Vol. 2020, No. 1, p. 14828) 2020, Academy of Management Meeting (online), Vancouver, Canada (August, 2020).
Förster, S., Feese, S. and Brusoni, S. 2020. “Innovation Training Plus: On the Buildup and Impact of Psychological Safety through Design Thinking.” SMS Special Conference (online), Berkeley, USA (March, 2020).
Förster, S., Bubenzer, P. 2019. “Chasing A Moving Target: Using Design Thinking to Blend Rational and Foolish Problem-Solving.” In Academy of Management Proceedings (Vol. 2019, No. 1, p. 16514). Academy of Management Meeting, Boston, USA (August, 2019).
Förster, S., Brusoni, S., Burtscher M., Grande, B. and Kolbe, M. 2018. “Pass on the Baton: Technological Advocacy in Postoperative Handoffs and its Effects on Routine Interfaces and Employee Voice.” Organization Science Winter Conference, Park City, USA (March, 2018).
Förster, S., Brusoni, S. 2016. “Design Thinking That Works: An Exploratory Study of its Impact beyond the Classroom.”. Conference Proceedings of the Research in Management Learning and Education (Un)conference, Fontainebleau, France (July, 2016).