Panel on innovation offers advice

The secret of innovation: stay connected, “learn how to embrace failure”

How do administrators become innovators? And lead others to become innovators?

“Try to stay connected with journals and social media,” Laurel Schollen of Seneca College. “Keep abreast of trends.”
And that is not easy, she said, unless “we become masters of the quick five-minute read.”
Schollen, part of an Innovation Panel at the OCASA Professional Development Conference, added that innovation also requires administrators “to listen to those who challenge us.”

Robert Luke of George Brown College, put it bluntly: “Learn how to embrace failure.”
“Innovation is a social activity,” he said. In a time when the government sees postsecondary education as saviour of the knowledge economy, “we need to fail fast and learn quickly. . . . We need to have courage.”

Stephanie Holbrik of the Ministry of Innovation and Research told the plenary session that the ministry provides grants for a variety of innovation and research projects and “there is lots of scope to be involved.” She said the Ministry believes innovation is the key to the provincial economy – and part of a world wide shift.

Luke suggested that part of the innovation to be addressed lay in online education, so “we should continue to embrace the Ontario Online Institute. Change, he said, should be coming “from the inside out rather than change coming from the outside in.” He cited the expansion of Campus Alberta  -- sharing of credentials by institutions – that has now widen to include other provinces “as something we can do for the employment market.”

Panel chair Dan Holland of Loyalist College pointed out that when Alberta set up its model for online college-level courses “they called OntarioLearn” for a blueprint of how to do it.