Academic journal article Planning for Higher Education

Crafting an Innovation Landscape

Academic journal article Planning for Higher Education

Crafting an Innovation Landscape

Article excerpt

The Innovation Landscape Framework is a tool for the integrated planning of initiatives that support innovation across campuses.

AS EFFORTS TO STIMULATE INNOVATION spring up across campuses, institutions need a comprehensive framework for the integrated planning of initiatives that support innovation. We view a campus as an Innovation Landscape, in which many types of innovation are encouraged and settings for collaborative creative activity--both physical and virtual--infuse the campus fabric and are part of the daily experience of its users. We propose the Innovation Landscape Framework[SM] as a tool that can help coordinate physical planning with organizational initiatives, engage a wide range of stakeholders, and enable a more widespread culture of innovation.


Structured methods for innovation planning have been developed over two decades and applied to many types of planning challenges, primarily in the corporate world. (1) However, there are few innovation frameworks developed for application to academic campus planning, particularly based on an integrated planning approach.

Innovation initiatives in higher education have focused for the most part on how to stimulate work in STEM fields to increase the rate of discovery, how to foster interdisciplinary entrepreneurship, and how to address complex challenges through global academic collaboration. Trends in digital scholarship and pedagogical change are also inspiring faculty, learners, and administrators to envision innovative directions for teaching, research, and other academic pursuits. Many students now enter higher education motivated to develop new ideas and realize them. Physical planning responses have been to design buildings that foster greater interaction and to create interdisciplinary research and academic centers that bring disciplines together. Recently, some institutions have created innovation centers as a locus for inventive energy and to reframe their brand. Many others are introducing makerspaces--not just in engineering sectors but now in libraries, residences, and potentially anywhere promising on campus--to enhance learning.

To create a rich culture of innovation at an institution, though, a wider planning vision needs to be articulated--one that is more inclusive and encourages inventiveness across the many aspects of academic experience and operations. We propose a framework for an integrated planning approach that links academic strategic planning with physical space planning in support of innovation--the Innovation Landscape Framework[SM].


Just as the Learning Landscape planning approach (2) developed 15 years ago acknowledged that "learning happens anywhere," the Innovation Landscape approach seeks to create an environment where innovation can be supported, socialized, built, and tested anywhere and everywhere. An Innovation Landscape perspective can become integral to the campus culture and clearly articulated by all the systems that support it. Everyone can be incentivized to contribute to a culture of innovation and encouraged by institutional policies to continue to develop and support it.


* It structures a process that explores opportunities to foster innovation and then suggests coordinated approaches to maximize planning impact. It is a tool that can be adapted and developed to suit many types of institutional and planning situations.

* It visualizes a holistic system, built in the tradition of a service blueprint. It is co-created by its users, and it makes intangible efforts visible. It allows the visualization of interrelated activities and produces evidence in the form of inventive ideas, physical artifacts, or other products of innovative activity.

* It supports integrated planning initiatives. It can be inclusive and generate detailed strategies for implementation while simultaneously allowing for a comprehensive view at a high level so participants can understand the integrated vision. …

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