Campus innovation leaders say communication between departments is the biggest hurdle
- Participants at the third-annual HAIL Storm (short for Harvesting Academic Innovation for Learners) convening last week at Cal State, Channel Islands said campus innovation, particularly in interdepartmental working groups focusing on technology, usually requires more communication than actual innovation.
- Because tech ideas and initiatives are shaped by the differing experiences of different people in diverse areas of campuses, defining "disruption" or "innovation" has different meanings to people working in applied sciences versus those in liberal arts disciplines. This requires working groups to first determine shared language and objectives surrounding campus-wide innovation.
- Some campus tech contacts shared best practices about departmental tours to sell initiatives to key stakeholders. “I’ve been on a roadshow to meet with all department heads,” Paul Jurasin, director of the digital transformation hub at California Polytechnic San Luis Obispo, told EdSurge. “They were much more receptive to the innovation process than I thought they would be and they said they wanted us to provide workshops so they understood it better.”
One of the strongest stereotypes about higher education is that most campus stakeholders are resistant to change. More accurately, campus groups embrace the idea of change but are largely resistant to those implemented without their knowledge or input. The idea of departmental "road shows" is one which could work well on any campus, but on those which are driven by innovation, shared idea development is an essential element to creating new ideas while keeping faculty and administrators happy.
One model for innovation in action is Arizona State University's Enterprise Partners, which draws some of its work from some models developed within its Education Technology Accelerator to determine potential investment targets. This program integrates concepts and products developed throughout its academic and outreach areas, to help generate revenue for the university at large. Schools of all sizes can develop similar programs to scale to help turn liberal arts, technical, or STEM training into ideas which make campuses more efficient, more attractive and self-sustaining.