Higher education demands a change. For many years it has evolved slowly, always remaining a professor-centred process in which students have played a secondary role, expecting to be taught rather than learn. The global pandemic has highlighted the importance of higher education institutions being resilient, able to adapt to radically new environments in no time, and to guarantee the quality students enrolled for in the first place. It is now more than ever necessary that universities and such entities assess their adaptation capabilities, and act consequently with the ultimate goal of better preparing students for the 21st century challenges, one of which is - as we all have learnt - the appearance of complex problems with high uncertainty and impact, with the power to completely redefine the world as we imagine it.
In order to tackle this challenge, I propose a diagnostic system that highlights existing gaps and is complemented by a way to improve them. Following this reasoning, I have defined three phases to achieve my goal.
Phase 1 - Measurement
Measure the efforts, results and impact of the processes that take place in a university with the goal of improving their education.
If it can be quantified in a specific moment in time, then actions can be implemented and the tool allows a way to measure their impact, thus innovation becomes less abstract and can be implemented as a systemic and sustainable process throughout an organization. Moreover, it offers a metric that might indicate quality in education.
Phase 2 - Action
Use the previous measurement system and/or results to redesign the way universities innovate in the learning/teaching process offered.
If it is only measured it's useless - it has no real impact without further guidance or tools to actually create change.
Phase 3 - Inspiration
Promote education innovation processes/efforts, simplify the concept in a way that is understandable and convincing, providing arguments and motivation to take action in a complex system such as education using storytelling somehow. Innovation is generally perceived as an abstract concept the impact of which is difficult to quantify, and the process to achieve it is unclear - just like concepts such as emotions, mental health or the climate crisis, therefore people who are against it can avoid taking action on the basis of this complexity. The goal is to avoid that and provide a general overview to people who would like to be part of it as well as raising awareness - an attempt at changing the mindset around education innovation culture and minimizing resistance to change.
This system is designed to be led by faculty while at the same time providing opportunities to involve students, understanding that in order to create systematic change and a real innovation mindset in organizations it is fundamental that those who have the power to change things get involved and are aware of their own potential, and that they collaborate with those who will ultimately have to deal with the consequences of their decisions.