Inspiration, serendipity, discovery, genius. All terms associated with innovation, collectively conjuring an air of mystery. At MIT, however, another set of words also comes up: data, method, metrics. In the words of President L. Rafael Reif, “Innovation is the art of transforming knowledge into progress and prosperity. We aim to elevate and accelerate that art form—and to make it a science—in service to the world.”

Building upon a robust body of scholarly and practical knowledge, the MIT Innovation Initiative has announced it will create the Laboratory for Innovation Science and Policy to pioneer the emerging science of innovation—defined as “the systematic analysis and understanding of the conditions that shape innovation outcomes.” The laboratory will bring together investigators across many disciplines to map the DNA of the innovation process; develop new ways to measure and examine the elements of innovation; codify evidence-based insights into best practices that will be shared with the MIT community and the Institute’s colleagues in business and academia; and inform governmental policy on a global scale.

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