Jun 2018

Managing Innovation In Higher Education: Outlining a Few Best Practices

Innovation continues to trend across higher education.

Colleges and universities are creating innovation offices and chief innovation officer positions, launching various online and competency-based offerings and, in some cases, answering to nervous boards of trustees regarding whether their institutions are doing enough to prepare students for an increasingly uncertain future.

Although some of the rhetoric may be overheated, the concerns fueling this move toward innovation aren’t misplaced.

New disruptive innovations that are faster and cheaper than traditional programs have entered the postsecondary landscape. There is more pressure on institutions for accountability—to not only enroll students, but also to help them succeed up to and after graduation. College costs have continued to rise even as the average applicant is less able to pay, which has called into question many colleges’ sustainability.

Innovations that do everything from create efficiencies for existing programs to cultivate new sources of revenue in new programs are in high demand.

As innovation becomes a major part of colleges and universities’ strategies, creating processes to manage it is vital. Colleges must mitigate the risks that can come with innovation while maximizing the upside for their specific institutional mission.

Doing that is no easy task. But there are some tried-and-true tools that can help. In a new white paper for Entangled Solutions, we offered a way for universities to wade into the world of innovation with a transparent process that includes all stakeholders and minimizes risk.

One thing we have learned as we have customized that process at different campuses is that, often, the most important thing an innovation management process does is not about the process itself. It’s the common language that the process creates or leverages. That language allows disparate stakeholders at a university to communicate more directly, so that they do not talk past each other or create misplaced fears that lead to paralysis.


Leave a reply