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Funding SIOP’s First $100K Visionary Grant

Milton D. Hakel, SIOP Foundation President

As I write this column, we are just one month away from the 2019 SIOP Conference, where we will be announcing the first Visionary Grant Call for Proposals.  The $100,000 grant will be funded, like so much other work, by I-O professionals and their friends and supporters.  But this is the first venture in which crowd-sourcing and donor-direction play major roles.

Here is how we will be doing it:

First off, we ask all supporters of our applied organizational science, regardless of membership of any kind in SIOP, to join the Visionary Circle. 

Step 1. Collect Venture Philanthropic Capital by Creating the Visionary Circle (this is one crowd-sourcing step).


Imagine a large cohort of donors to the SIOP Foundation.  Think of donations of $1000 and up.

Now think about 100 donors each giving $1000.  That’s $100,000, serious money!

Step 2. Call for Visionary Grant Proposals (this is another crowd-sourcing step).


Here is the key question: What would you do if you had $100,000 to shape the future world of work?

The question is inclusive of all that I-O professionals do, and it is open to collaboration among stakeholders and professionals from multiple disciplines. 

A Call for Visionary Grant Proposals will be announced the 2019 SIOP Conference.  Its details are being finalized, but here are some likely criteria:

  • Integrate science and practice.
  • Have clear metrics for success.
  • Look to the future by asking new questions, bringing I-O psychology into another realm, or engaging with other disciplines.
  • Demonstrate exceptional creativity.
  • Have the potential for facilitating subsequent research and development.


Step 3.  Award Visionary Grants (this is the donor-direction step).


Imagine a SIOP Conference session on Thursday, April 23, 2020, in Austin TX.  Four finalists will give 7-minute presentations to showcase their answers to the $100,000 Visionary Grant question posed in Step 2.  Presentations will be viewed in person, live-streamed, or viewed asynchronously by the Visionaries. 

The Visionaries will vote to select the winner (and perhaps a runner-up), and the inaugural Visionary Grant(s) will be awarded at the Closing Plenary of the Austin conference.


Step 4. Implement Findings.


Applied organizational science takes time.  We will post periodic progress reports from grant winners, making them available first to Visionary Circle Donors.


Step 5.  Repeat.


I-O psychologists have long supported each other’s work. The Visionary Circle is a new means by which that can happen. Its purpose is to serve as a dependable and renewable source of grant funding for I-O research and development.  We are certain to learn quite a lot during the inaugural cycle of enrolling Visionary Donors, calling for proposals, awarding Visionary Grants, and disseminating R&D findings. 

We will refine the Visionary Circle program, expanding it to address the many challenges facing organizations and workers.  The mania about artificial intelligence systems and big data is at flood tide, with no shortage of need for critical and clear thinking about creating smarter workplaces.  We face great challenges in the workplace from the changing nature of work to workplace sexual harassment to having a multi-generational workforce. These issues stretch beyond companies and cultures, demanding the best thinking, collaboration, and action.

I believe that the SIOP Visionary Circle will bring a sea change for our applied organizational science, because:

  1. The demand for and receptivity to evidence-based practice has never been higher.
  2. I-O professionals are the masters of praxis: the synthesis of theory and practice without presuming the primacy of either. 
  3. SIOP is at the center of growing and evolving node of applied science, and thereby it will attract attention and support from private and public organizations as well as corporate and private foundations.

The SIOP Foundation Trustees welcome your comments, suggestions, and creative imaginings.  Our mission is to connect donors with I-O professionals to create smarter workplaces.

Milt Hakel, President, mhakel@bgsu.edu
Rich Klimoski, Vice-President, rklimosk@gmu.edu
Nancy Tippins, Secretary, nancy@tippinsgroup.com
Leaetta Hough, Treasurer, leaetta@msn.com
Adrienne Colella, Communications Officer, acolella@tulane.edu
Mirian Graddick-Weir, Trustee, mgraddickweir76@gmail.com
Bill Macey, Trustee, wmacey9@gmail.com
John C. Scott, Trustee, JScott@APTMetrics.com

The SIOP Foundation
440 E Poe Rd Ste 101
Bowling Green, OH 43402-1355
419-353-0032   Fax: 419-352-2645
E-mail: SIOPFoundation@siop.org

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