Engines of Innovation: The Entrepreneurial University in the Twenty-First Century

By Holden Thorp; Buck Goldstein | Go to book overview

6
Leadership

As we’ve said, innovation begins with entrepreneurial thinking, and more often than not such thinking starts with an individual and not a committee or task force. For universities to become the engines of innovation we envision, a unique brand of leadership is required, and it starts at the top. Judith Rodin, who served as the president of the University of Pennsylvania for many years, put it best: “We need to role model those attributes we want faculty to emulate and create a climate that allows entrepreneurship and innovation to flourish.”1

In interviewing academic leaders who embrace an entrepreneurial leadership style, we discovered some key commonalities. First, an effective and entrepreneurial leader articulates the mission and values of the institution— a way of thinking about virtually every activity that takes place within the university community. Although typically broad and subject to interpretation, a well-crafted mission statement and a related set of values provide daily guidance to people all up and down the organizational chart. A stated mission is also inspiring. Going to work every day with the goal of addressing one of the world’s big problems is the kind of motivation that can lead to extraordinary performance by individuals and teams. Most important, a leader dedicated to innovation understands that merely administering a set of rules within a rigid and hierarchical structure will not foster innovation or an entrepreneurial approach to problems and opportunities. She under

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