How College Can Develop Innovators (Opinion)

Considerable attention continues to be paid to the role of colleges in the development of innovators, a special reality as institutions consider their next steps in light of the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic. Universities themselves are increasingly encoding innovation and transformation in their strategic plans, even if such promises may prove challenging.

Our own research seeks to create insights into what works and why colleges can develop innovators. We’ve found, broadly speaking, that No. Getting on the Straight, following the Double Major, and being a Transfer Student can all be predictors of innovation at the student level.

But what about growth in the long run, four years of college? Is there any experience that is a strong indicator of students walking an innovative path through college? And do these results capture personality types and other distinct differences? In other words, who Becomes An inventor? The answer to such a question would be useful for the college, sure, but also for the employers.

Our team’s new research has come out to answer such questions. So what have we found?


Before answering, a brief background of our efforts. This work represents a longitudinal study in which we surveyed undergraduate students at three North American institutions (eight in the United States and one in Canada) at three times: the beginning of their first year, the end of their first year, and their senior year. In addition to collecting information on important traits such as personality traits and family backgrounds, we surveyed students using a broad measure of innovation that looked at interpersonal (e.g., underlying motivation), social (e.g., networking) and cognitive (e.g., creativity). ) Dimensions. After collecting the data, we tried to identify the characteristics of students who had a strong innovation trajectory and who did not.

Key insights

Across our sample, we found two groups of students: first, the larger group (87 percent of the sample) showed relatively no change in their innovation scores in the four college years. The second group (13 percent of the sample), starting almost the same as the first group, showed significant and significant growth.

Determining whether a student was in 13 percent?

Continuing to support existing theories that regard personality, our study adds evidence that two key traits হওয়া extroversion and openness to new experiences যুক্ত were associated with someone who was 2.5 to three times more likely to fall into the innovation group. What about personality? It does.

But that’s not the whole story.

Staying in the innovation group had very little to do with the single biggest prediction WHO You were and more about What? You did it in college. Especially those students who had a lot of opportunities for co-curricular education during college — and not typo — are nine times more likely to be in the innovative trajectory group.

To unpack it a bit, this set of survey questions asked students if their out-of-class experiences did the following: had a positive effect on intellectual growth and perceptions; Had a positive effect on personal growth, attitudes and values; Provided an opportunity to turn knowledge and understanding into action in the classroom; And what was learned in the classroom helped to connect with real life events. So, in simple terms, when students scored high on four items, that same student was 7 A lot The potential for developing innovation skills during college is high.

What does this mean?

We see many practical takeaways from this study that could shape current and future conversations about the role of colleges in innovation. To begin with, our key findings cover family history with students major, race / ethnicity, gender, and entrepreneurship. These results are consistent with students’ ability to innovate when entering college নয় not that existing innovators were more likely to be employed in curriculum.

In addition, being an inventor is not limited to a specific group of people with strictly specific personality traits; Although these things, they are not absolute. In fact, we think that faculty and staff members interested in innovation may consider ways to engage more intentionally with introverts-especially as new research suggests that introverts may be more resilient when facing obstacles.

We also see a lot of considerations here due to the importance outside of the curriculum learning experience, but let’s focus on two big issues. One way to explain this research is to indicate the importance of the experience – we call them applied, active, experiential or hands-on – that directly engage students in the learning process. This kind of experience makes full use of college, in both cases And Outside the classroom, to assist in the development of innovation. Experiences combining knowledge closely with the real world not only support the learning tendency of General Z students, but also provide a place in the graduate experience for safe risk-taking, persuasive communication and activism সমস্ত all the innovative abilities included in our survey measurements.

Furthermore, such research provides new insights into the true importance and value of out-of-class time in graduate settings. As colleges consider how COVID-19 responses and policies will (or will not) affect campus life and activities in the coming years, we hope that colleges will continue to evaluate and emphasize (and fund!) The social and community they seek to promote innovation. Keep-based experiences that give students the unique opportunity to apply new knowledge in their lives at this highly developed time in life. Interestingly, while first-year curriculum experiences are important, what really sets students up for four years of innovation growth is what happens outside the classroom.

One question that has driven our research for nearly a decade: Can colleges develop innovators? Through this new research and its insights, we continue to find evidence to answer: yes.

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