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Are Higher Education Institutions Embracing Innovation?


Are Higher Education Institutions Embracing Innovation?

The Dean of Malta Business School, Mr. Lorenzo Mulè Stagno delivered a speech for the 32nd Annual Businet Conference in Tallinn, Estonia titled Innovation in Higher Education.

The focus on the talk was based on two relevant statements:

  • Innovation is necessary for survival, or better still, to thrive
  • Higher education institutions are not very good at innovation

Lorenzo stated that the more established an education institution is, the higher the chance that innovation gets stifled through ultra-conservatism, mired in rules, committees and bureaucracy. Although the size of an organization might be irrelevant, smaller institutions tend to be more nimble and adept to change. Larger ones can, albeit they rarely do, provide the resources to innovate. However, the fact of the matter remains that the way quality is handled tends to bring in layers upon layers of bureaucracy that chokes creativity and innovation.

Creativity and innovation have long ceased to be the exclusive domains of artists. Some researchers have managed to transform certain subjects into topics that are accessible to everyone, whether for university governing boards, college academics, administrative staff or students. Except for the few universities that tend to be at the top and feature regularly in innovation indices, most educational institutions relegate innovation to some published research and, perhaps, an incubator, if at all.

Lorenzo claimed that the current state of affairs of the Higher Education industry, as well as when applying the industry life cycle theory, seems to indicate that Higher Education has plateaued in most OECD countries, with some even showing a decline. Therefore, and in spite of the rather long timeline of this particular industry life cycle, the time is ripe for innovations, whether the more common incremental, or the rarer breakthrough Blue Ocean type.

The talk concluded with several creative and innovative examples that can help in changing the industry’s predicament to become more successful within their competitive environment.

About Malta Business School
Malta Business School is a leading Higher Education institution in Malta that strives to keep a balance between the rigours of quality, the need to keep considering its students as customers, and remaining agile in its forward-looking philosophy.

About Businet
Businet is a network of international higher education institutes. It provides an environment that encourages the sharing of good practice and encourages co-operation between like-minded organisations.

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