Friday, September 28, 2018

Innovation and entrepreneurship

It's rare to find higher education institutions that don't espouse a commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship. However, how this is done is not altogether clear. Inside Higher Education interviewed Jodi Goldstein, Executive Director of Harvard University's Innovation Lab, for insights about how to foster innovation across disciplines and with a strong experiential base.

The interview began with an assertion that real innovation in the 21st century comes from cross- or inter-disciplinary work. The point is that new insights often come from students outside the presumed discipline most directly related to any new product or service. Within-discipline knowledge often limits new perspectives; therefore, the interaction across disciplines becomes critical. Goldstein also advocated for the importance of cocurricular innovation (non-graded), which offers a setting that frees students for greater risk-taking.

International higher education institutions have the potential to lead in inter-disciplinary work that supports innovation. The reason is that mature institutions are frequently encumbered by faculty who are eager to control knowledge creation within their own areas of study. Emerging international higher education could benefit from devising ways to avoid the discipline-centric institutions that are common to Western, mature settings.

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