Innovation Champions
We recognise that innovation is a social process involving people, practice and resources - some interactive combination of agency and structure. We observe that change is necessary to extract value from an innovative idea, and without support from individuals and/or institutions that see the benefits of such change, it will not happen.

In this research program we explore roles and deployment arrangements associated with three kinds of innovation champions. The first group is individuals promoting and supporting the implementation of a particular idea, where we are concerned about their identification and development. The second group is individuals or institutions that provide structures that support the flow of multiple innovations. Here we are concerned about systems of innovation and links with strategy. The third group sponsors and legitimises innovation as a strategic tool. Whilst the program emphasis is on innovation leadership, individual subprojects cut across other VUIMN research themes related to use of technology, organisation and solutions to social and environmental challenges.

Business Model Innovation
The Business Council of Australia has suggested that, in broad terms, innovation can be defined as the application of knowledge to create additional value and wealth. There are times when this involves the application of new knowledge. Often, however, effective innovation is achieved by applying existing knowledge in new and different ways. Innovation can involve significant disruptive change to business and economic structures, or alternatively it can be a process of continuous and incremental business development. Human capital is crucial to the innovation process.

And that: factors such as rising global competition; the changing industrial structure of the Australian economy towards a greater focus on high-value-added services; and the growing convergence of many technological fi elds such as information and communication technology (ICT) have broadened the scope of approaches that businesses use to achieve innovative outcomes. In an open and highly competitive, services-oriented market economy, technology-driven research is unlikely to be the only, or even the primary, method of achieving the business innovation imperative to provide maximum value for money for goods and services to attract and maintain discerning customers.

In this context, a group of researchers from the Victorian Universities Innovation Management Network are working together to explore the utility of business model innovation in establishing and maintaining a regional competitive advantage.

Sports Innovation
Australia has a splendid track record in many sports, and sport makes significant social contribution to the community. Victoria in particular also gains economic benefits from hosting major sporting events. Some of its Universities offer a variety of sports management courses, have links with spotting organisations, and support innovation in the development of sporting goods and services. The evolving sport marketing discipline explores how entrepreneurship occurs through innovation, proactiveness and risk taking activities.

Sport innovation is a cross-disciplinary field involving people, technology and organisation combinations that make both practical and business sense. Different disciplines within Victorian Universities are researching individual elements of this field, and this VUIMN project seeks to bring them together in the style of an innovation network.