Ideally, a university should be an ecosystem in which ideas are developed, challenged, and experimented with. It’s natural to consider education and innovation as mutually compatible. It’s surprising, then, that many academic institutions still lag when it comes to implementing well-structured innovation processes.
Innovation in Education: A Proud History
DNA, Genetic Fingerprinting, CDs, Computers, and the Internet. This is just a short list of some of the greatest innovations that have been made within institutions of higher education.
It is not surprising that universities regularly produce such brilliant discoveries. For over a thousand years, these institutions have provided society’s most intelligent individuals with the highest standard of education, in an eternal quest to push forward the frontiers of science, research, and technology.
It is surprising then, to discover that the majority of these institutions are not fully utilizing the tools that are available to them in their pursuit of innovation in the 21st century.
Communication has evolved profoundly over the last 20 years, and we continue to see disruptive technologies and services that change the way we think about information. This has been most evident in the media, where business models are constantly morphing to provide us with news and entertainment in unique ways. The change has also been manifested in business, where many companies are now using innovation software to collaborate, innovate, and improve processes. However, innovation in education is yet to benefit from the widespread adoption of dedicated innovation management software. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at why it’s critical for institutes of higher learning to recognize how innovation and education work closely together to open up new paradigms, and to understand the benefits of innovation software for universities.
Idea Management in Higher Education
A key use case of innovation software used by many leading global enterprises is for idea management. This type of platform allows organizations to crowdsource ideas from any audience which they invite to the system. Most companies focus primarily on their employees, however organizations are now also involving their customers in the process through open innovation. There are so many different ways to utilize this software, and so many different advantages, but in summary, it facilitates communication and collaboration on a scale and in a format that is unprecedented. It’s potential for innovation in education are numerous, as we will now see.
Giving a voice to students and staff and allowing them both to collaborate would generate fantastic results. There would be obvious advancements in the quality of teaching that would offer more value to students while simultaneously making the jobs of the lecturers easier.
The benefit with the highest potential value for any organization is radical innovation. These are ideas that involve thinking outside the box which often leads to the generation of brand new revenue streams, products, or services. With all the innovative and creative minds to utilize at universities, it is guaranteed that some brilliant radical ideas would be generated.
Continuous Improvement for Universities
That said, the modern university also has a lot to gain from ideas for much smaller, incremental improvements to its courses, services, and processes. Continuous improvement software is used to gather, manage, and implement these types of ideas.
For higher education institutions, this type of software can be used to optimize a broad array of processes. These include cost reduction and more effective resource allocation (for research projects, teaching, and various other core business departments such as IT, Operations and HR), improved student retention and success, streamlined admissions and enrollment, and curriculum development, to name just a few.
Scouting for Success
While there are many different ways to utilize innovation software internally within universities, there are countless opportunities offered by external parties such as start-ups, businesses and other organizations, just waiting to be seized.
As we have established, universities are a breeding ground for innovative ideas and creative problem solving. So undoubtedly there would be a long queue of businesses that would be interested in leveraging the creativity and knowledge of this unique audience. To access this type of service universities could charge a fee, and students could earn a commission for contributing while also gaining valuable work experience.
Technology scouting software enables universities not only to search for and identify potentially lucrative partnerships that can drive innovation in education, but to engage those external parties and manage their relationships with them.
Innovation in Education: Staying on Trend
We can safely rely on students to stay on top of the latest cultural and fashion trends, but universities too can benefit from incorporating emerging trends in education into their own services.
New technologies promising to make education more dynamic, immersive, and personalized offer exciting new opportunities for universities. From online learning platforms and virtual reality applications to make remote learning more dynamic, data-driven curriculum and support services, to AI-powered admissions and predictive analytics, trends can be harnessed to improve and reimagine almost every aspect of university life.
Universities can do this by utilizing trend management software. Relevant trends from all around the world can be identified, prioritized, and used to inform other aspects of their innovation management programs, such as topics for idea campaigns, and technology scouting to engage relevant startups or technology providers.
Optimizing Impact with Innovation Portfolio Management
A fifth way that universities can drive innovation in education is through innovation portfolio management. Dedicated software for this use case enables organizations to track the performance of individual innovation projects and of the portfolio as a whole, and to make informed decisions based on this data.
Universities can use this software to run a process that manages risk, ensures alignment between innovation projects and the universities wider growth strategy, and measures projects against a set of key performance indicators (KPIs). A patent management process can even be integrated into this type of platform to keep track of the number of patents held by the university.
As hotbeds of learning and experimentation, there will be a huge number of innovation projects taking place at a single university at any one time. The ability to track, manage, and optimize these projects all on one dedicated platform will undoubtedly help universities to improve the performance of these projects and the efficiency of its innovation program and processes.
Driving Innovation in Education in 2024 and Beyond
At Qmarkets we have provided education and innovation–enhancing software to some of the world’s leading higher education institutions. We’ve been seeing a real surge in interest from universities in innovation management software, as the academic world awakens to all of the possibilities it holds for them.
The older an organization is, the harder it can be to implement change within it. This is very relevant to not only higher education, but democracy, which is also taking too long to step into the future and embrace the age of communication. However, the issue is arguably even more crucial within education, where innovation within medicine could lead to the curing of diseases, or in engineering where innovation could lead to eco-friendly transportation and save the planet.
Universities and their students are the closest thing that society has to a physical embodiment of knowledge, and it is essential that they be given the right tools to help them achieve what they are capable of. As Benjamin Franklin once said “an investment in knowledge pays the best interest”, so I think it is about time that we invest.
To discover how Qmarkets can help support innovation management at your organization, don’t hesitate to contact us today. Whether you want an informal chat about your goals or a demo of the Qmarkets platform, we’re here to help.