Harnessing the Collective
Creativity & Innovation in your Institution


The Power of Innovation

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Sun 29 Apr 2012
When Not to Innovate!
A post on another blog recently caught my eye. Gils van Wulfen identifies 21 reasons why you shouldn’t innovate.http://www.innovationmanagement.se/2012/04/24/21-situations-when-you-should-not-innovate/ Many of them struck a chord with me and I’ve distilled them down to my top 10 reasons, suitably adapted to the HE context. So in no particular order of importance here they are...1. When you are sure the external context is unlikely to change much over the next five years.It’s still possible to find significant groups of staff who just don’t see the need for a more radical and speedy response to the changing external context. ‘China becoming a serious HE player, you’ve got to be kidding’. ‘Open educational resources, sure interesting but they won’t displace the lectures I give’. If you’ve not done enough to shake the complacency don’t expect innovation to do it for you.2. When your old formulas are still giving great results, at no or very little risk.Related to the above is the further response, ‘look Tom, HE has been around for longer than most other organisations you can imagine, it’s not broke, students will always want degrees, research funders will always want to fund research in universities. Everytime you hear...

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Fri 30 Dec 2011
Where Technology St Meets Liberal Arts Steet
Steve Jobs – by WalterIsaacson, 2011, Little, Brown, 627pp What did you get for Christmas this year? A few of you might have been given a copy of Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs.Commissioned by Jobs in 2009 (with no restrictions on content) it’s afascinating and candid assessment of the life and legacy of one of the world’sgreatest entrepreneurial innovators. Does it offer any meaningful insightswhich are transferable? Well, yes and no, as Isaacson summarises Jobs, ‘he was not a model boss or human being tidily packaged for emulation’ – any trio of descriptors can only captures a fraction of the paradoxical mix which was Steve Jobs; my list is…‘cool, charismatic charmer’‘petulant, prickly, perfectionist’‘focused, Focused, FOCUSSED!‘ambitious, arrogant, ….hole’ (one of his favoured terms of endearment)‘mercurial, maniacal, manipulator’, but above all a truly‘imaginative, inventive, innovator’Love him (and few really did), or loath him (and more than a few did) his legacy is remarkable. In the 10 years from 2000 until his demise he had built a company which was worth about 5% of that of the world’s largest company at the time (Microsoft) to one which is now 70%...

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Sun 16 Oct 2011
Using i-lab@HE
I was recently asked if I could summarise to a client how the i-lab process might work and in what ways might an institution or team engage with it. Based on our experiences to date with clients I could see four ways in which to engage. I call these levels 1 to 4. At...Level 1 - a group simply engage to become more aware of and to raise their understanding of how you lead an innovation agenda in your institution/team. We use i-lab as a leadership development intervention by offering some workshops and group working activities on the themes of ‘Leading Creativity and Innovation’.Level 2 – we add to level 1 by the application of some diagnostics. At an organisational level we use the i-diagnostic to identify the key enablers and potential barriers to innovation and at a personal level use the me2 framework to gain self and team insight into our strengths and ‘lesser strengths’.Level 3 – we take the findings from level 2 and develop an organisational/Faculty/team agenda for innovation and help byfacilitating the formation of groups and the shaping of the agenda and use a range of creative approaches to taking these i-nnovation challenges forward;Level 4...

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Thu 1 Sep 2011
Welcome to i-lab@HE
This is the first blog entry on a new and innovative response to the current and forthcoming challenges facing higher education. So, why create this new process and area of activity and why now? Well, firstly I had the good fortune to hear and subsequently meet Clayton Chistensen at an event I was helping facilitate in Boston in 2009. I had read much of his work on disruptive innovation and was already a fan but hearing it in person inspired me to explore this topic in more detail. The more I did, the more I became convinced we have much to gain from the work he and others have been doing in this territory for many years.Secondly, through my consulting work I have felt for some time that a number of the changes already underway in HE are truly disruptive and will have long lasting impact. I also feel that many HE institutions will need to find even more innovative responses to these disruptions and at a speed which is much faster than before.Finally, and perhaps most influentially, was a sense that universities probably house more creative and innovative people than other organisations but it often feels somewhat paradoxical that whilst this...

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