Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Civil Engineering

First Advisor

Joseph V Sinfield

Committee Member 1

Robin S Adams

Committee Member 2

David F Radcliffe

Committee Member 3

Fred L Mannering


The pursuit of innovation is engrained throughout society whether in business via the introduction of offerings, non-profits in their mission-driven initiatives, universities and agencies in their drive for discoveries and inventions, or governments in their desire to improve the quality of life of their citizens. Yet, despite these pursuits, innovations with long-lasting, significant impact represent an infrequent outcome in most domains. The seemingly random nature of these results stems, in part, from the definitions of innovation and the models based on such definitions. Although there is debate on this topic, a comprehensive and pragmatic perspective developed in this work defines innovation as the introduction of a novel or different idea into practice that has a positive impact on society. To date, models of innovation have focused on, for example, new technological advances, new approaches to connectivity in systems, new conceptual frameworks, or even new dimensions of performance - all effectively building on the first half of the definition of innovation and encouraging its pursuit based on the novelty of ideas. However, as explored herein, achieving profound results by innovating on demand might require a perspective that focuses on the impact of an innovation. In this view, innovation does not only entail doing new things, but consciously driving them towards achieving impact through proactive design behaviors. Explicit consideration of the impact dimension in innovation models has been missing, even though it may arguably be the most important since it represents the outcome of innovation.