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UMKC’s top innovation management ranking big for ‘entrepreneurial city’

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) earlier this month announced it was ranked as the world’s No. 1 university in innovation management research by the Journal of Product Innovation Management, a leading academic journal devoted to the latest research, theory and practice in new product and service development. The rankings will be published in the March 2012 issue of the journal.

(Photo: From left, Peter deSilva of UMB, Bloch School Dean Teng-Kee Tan, Henry Bloch and Mary Bloch, chair of the Council for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, applaud UMKC’s news. Photo from umkc.edu)

The news isn’t exactly hot off the presses — at this point, it’s probably closer to lukewarm — but we hadn’t dedicated an article to the announcement yet. And, even for those readers who have heard the news already, it bears repeating.

Why? Well, in September, The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce announced that one of its “Big 5” ideas for Kansas City was making the city America’s most entrepreneurial city; in making that announcement, The Chamber cited Henry W. Bloch School of Management as one of the resources it intended to leverage to achieve its goal. And, since that September announcement, leaders on both sides of the state line have rallied behind the cause and carried the banner for Kansas City as a haven for entrepreneurship. 

UMKC finished ahead of schools like MIT, Harvard and Stanford in the rankings, which included 625 universities in total. Schools were ranked on research topics and current trends in the field of innovation management. 

“We are extremely proud to hold the No. 1 spot in the world for innovation management research,” said UMKC Chancellor Leo E. Morton. “UMKC aligns with the Kansas City community’s commitment to becoming the most entrepreneurial city in the nation through our focus on entrepreneurship across all campus disciplines.”

The results were driven by the research of three UMKC faculty – Michael Song (left, photo from umkc.edu), Ph.D., Mark Parry, Ph.D., and Lisa Zhao, Ph.D. – in the Bloch School’s Department for Global Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. The three faculty also were listed among the top 50 innovation management scholars, with Song ranking No. 1 in the world.

The study describes innovation management research covering topics related to product, firm strategy, product development process and market environment factors. For example, Song and Parry have conducted a series of research projects examining new product development in China, Japan and the U.S. Their work has been recognized by the American Marketing Association for significantly influencing the direction of global marketing. Zhao’s work is focused on product pioneering, first product development and new venture survival.

“The research of top scholars, such as Song and Parry, is significant to our students, region and economy,” said Bloch School Dean Teng-Kee Tan. “The results of this research expedite the success rate of new ventures or innovation within existing companies. Having the best university in the world for innovation management research attracts talent to, and keeps talent in, the Kansas City region.”

The top ranking is the latest in a series of big announcements connected to the Bloch School. In September, UMKC received a $32 million gift from Henry W. Bloch to fund a new building to house the Bloch School’s graduate and executive programs, which will accommodate additional students into these programs. Also, The Princeton Review recognized the Bloch School’s undergraduate and graduate programs among the top 25 entrepreneurship programs in the country – one of the 11 schools nationwide with both programs included in this ranking.

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