University Business September 2017 - 52

PROFESSIONAL OPINION

6 steps to inspire innovation
For students to be tomorrow's visionaries, we must change how we teach them today
By Ronald K. Machtley

W

hile all leaders recognize the
need for innovation and everyone wants an "innovative
business model," what does it mean?
How can academic leaders create
a culture of innovation on university
campuses? How can faculty most effectively convey their knowledge? And
how can students learn to become the
future innovators who will be crucial in
the workplace?
At Bryant University, our Academic
Innovation Center was an outgrowth of
the realization that teaching innovative
traits was vital. We challenged ourselves
with a series of questions: Can we teach
all students to become innovators?
What skills must they develop to
make innovative advances in their
chosen fields, regardless of their major?
How can we assess the learning of
these skills?
Creating an innovative culture
We adopted a six-step design thinking
approach, first created by the design
firm IDEO, that other campus leaders
can use to create a culture focused on
encouraging innovative teaching and
creating innovators.
1. Cultivate observation skills.
Five years ago, with our Innovation
and Design Experience for All (IDEA)
program, we began introducing every
freshman to design thinking through a
one-credit, 56-hour immersion experience that challenges them to observe

UBmag.me/six

52 | September 2017

real-world problems and generate innovative solutions.

Ask faculty to envision,
in a new world of
technology, a fully
integrated pedagogy of
experiential learning.
2. Ideate. Ask faculty to envision-in a new world of technology-a
fully-integrated pedagogy of experiential
learning. Our prototype classroom, The
Ideation Lab, became a space for adventurous faculty who had experimented in
the IDEA program. The classroom itself
wasn't too futuristic, but its faculty were
known for teaching innovatively.
3. Use rapid prototyping. Take
faculty recommendations and create
a second prototype classroom that is
more sophisticated in its use of wireless
technology and AV capabilities-and
also features moveable tables and chairs
for easy reconfiguration of the space for
team tasks. Focus on innovative teaching and dynamic group interactions.
4. Encourage feedback. Throughout our pilot projects we received
feedback from pioneering faculty who
taught innovatively and were ready to
imagine a building that would reflect
what they had learned. We envisioned
group-integrated, experiential learning
in flipped classrooms and many other
possibilities. Ensure the classroom is
designed for innovative teaching. Abundant writable glass, whiteboards and
flexible furnishings complement smart

technology, wireless projection, wireless
monitors at collaboration stations, and
docks for mobile devices and laptops.
The space enables faculty and students
to effectively engage as they access data,
create and share content, and view and
critique solutions.
5. Iterate. We have created many
programs-such as "Faculty Without
Borders" and the Sophomore International Experience-that advance innovation by challenging assumptions. Our
annual Research & Engagement Day
provides an opportunity for faculty and
students to share research projects, independent study, class activities and other
learning experiences.
6. Implement. Our goal is not only
to teach innovatively but also to develop
within all students an innovative leader's
traits and skills: curiosity and creativity,
integrative thinking, collaboration, connectivity, perseverance and grit.
We aren't just teaching them how
to design a product or develop the next
venture for an IPO; we are instilling
innovation as a way of thinking, collaboration and taking risks. We are now
assessing accomplishment in this area,
including whether students learn more
academic content through innovative
teaching than they do through conventional methods.
Whatever fields our graduates
choose, their future will demand innovation. To prepare them for success as
the future innovators and business leaders of tomorrow, we need to innovate
what we teach and how we teach it.
Ronald K. Machtley is president of Bryant
University.
www.universitybusiness.com


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of University Business September 2017

University Business September 2017 - Intro LOC
University Business September 2017 - Cover1
University Business September 2017 - Cover2
University Business September 2017 - 1
University Business September 2017 - 2
University Business September 2017 - 3
University Business September 2017 - 4
University Business September 2017 - 5
University Business September 2017 - 6
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University Business September 2017 - Cover3
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