We need more investment in mainstreaming innovations, not generating new ones

There’s an article on EdSurge today (Here’s a $5M Seed Fund to Support Higher-Ed Innovations Besides MOOCs) that talks about a new fund to promote innovation in highered. I know $5M isn’t a huge amount but the principle just seems so misguided. There is no problem with innovation in higher education. The problem is adopting and mainstreaming innovations across a higher ed institutions. This is where investment is needed. It probably won’t happen though because it’s a very difficult problem to solve and it relies not only on money but on the ability to cooperate as individuals and teams across an organisation. The nature of highered organisations does not lend itself well to this sort of activity. This is one reason why higher ed administrators would rather invest in non human projects such as facilities or buildings or, possibly, in innovations in which the team or individual developing the innovation is small and localised. But if there is no investment in mainstreaming the innovation then it’s just a waste. You may improve outcomes in one small section of the organisation but it won’t improve outcomes across the organisation.

(Featured image by Boegh https://flic.kr/p/hoAtp)