The Academic Innovation Landscape

For a number of reasons, over the last few years, I’ve been tracking the narrative around “innovation” in higher education. The 84 bookmarks in Diigo tagged with “innovation” probably represent a fraction of what I’ve read. Just in the last few weeks, I’ve read about how:

To try to make sense of all that I’ve read and heard about, I’ve created a scorecard of sorts. Let’s call it Becker’s Academic Innovation Landscape Scorecard (BAILS)1. It’s effectively a set of codes based on my analysis of the texts I’ve read.

Some notes about the scorecard:

  1. I wouldn’t hold this up as based on any kind of systematic review of any particular body of literature. It wouldn’t stand up to any kind of peer-review in any kind of academic journal. But, this is my blog (dammit!) and no serious academic work is published on blogs anyway (amirite?)…
  2. Related, the categories and topics don’t come from any kind of serious qualitative data coding procedure, unless you count me thinking regularly about this in bed and in the shower and in the car as serious data analysis…
  3. The categories and topics are not orthogonal; there’s overlap and I’m OK with that.
  4. I’m fully aware of the concept of innovation fatigue and I’m fond of Rolin Moe’s great work around the Innovation Conundrum. But, I’m not bailing (LOL) on the term innovation with respect to higher education; if colleges and universities can’t be incubators of innovation, they’ve lost their way.

So, without further ado, here’s the BAILS:


The more checkboxes you can tick off, the more innovative your institution is… or something like that.

Have at it, y’all.

  1. I can neither confirm nor deny that this is a secret plea for being rescued from my current professional situation []

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