chapter  10
Through the lenses of the two I’s: implement or innovate?
WithPenaluna Andy
Pages 14

Globally, education has been charged with developing effective teaching and learning innovators who can help to produce much needed high-quality learning systems. This assumes that teaching and learning theories and practices can help to determine appropriate learning outcomes to match this need, and at scale. This cannot be achieved using metrics that accurately pre-determine what a learner will achieve, simply because innovation by its very nature should surprise us.

Innovations in education are often regarded with some suspicion, and concerns arise over changes and what losses may result. The assumption in chapters 10 and 11 is that the goal of raising the quality and scale of learning for innovation in education will positively affect education itself and respond to calls for change.

The purpose of these two chapters is to present outlines that assist the classification of learning and assessment practices, so that they are pertinent to developing innovators. They discuss the hurdles that educators may face and offer ways to navigate and manage learning that adds clarity of purpose.

The originality of the work is in its systemic approach to a long-standing question: do we want learners to copy experts, or do we wish them to challenge norms and provide new innovations to consider and test? Or do we need both? In exposing the hurdles and through the provision of aligned arguments, chapter 11 provides stimulus for thought and further enquiry.

The world of work for university graduates has never been more challenging; gone are the long, nurturing careers that offered a ladder of gradual opportunity. Now, students must present themselves to a world of work already sufficiently developed so that their potential value-creating abilities can be seen from day one on the job. This suggests that the role of educating professionals, such as engineers, needs to change in order to prepare students for this increasingly complex world. The nature of such change is contemplated, and a holistic approach that combines existing approaches to engineering and enterprise education is posited. The aim being, to outline a dynamic foundation for graduate learning that supports preparing graduates for the challenges of tomorrow’s unknown.

This is a generic concept that can be applied across all areas of education and professional life. It combines creativity, originality, initiative, idea generation, design thinking, adaptability, and reflexivity with problem identification, problem solving, innovation, expression, communication, and practical action. So, the focus is not on directly supporting engineering graduates to commercialize their ideas, but rather, upon initially aiding their development as graduates capable of operating successfully in complex and ever-changing environments.

The notion of enterprising engineering graduates is contemplated, the notion of contemporary enterprise is considered, and the possibility of a ‘signature pedagogy’ for enterprise education is discussed. This is followed by consideration of the opportunities to integrate aspects of enterprise education within engineering education, and the tools that could be used to facilitate such a process, drawing attention to the importance of scholarship of teaching and learning as a guiding shadow throughout this process.

Over the decades, moments of insight have played a key role in the evolution of technology, but can these ephemeral and enigmatic ‘eureka’ events be managed?

In chapter 12, the final chapter of Part 4, we explore the role played by off-task breaks in triggering the unconscious processing of ideas. By breaking up the working day with low effort routine tasks and breaks, individuals can significantly enhance their creativity; taking time away from the job becomes the key link in the creativity process. This research therefore points to the careful management of off-task breaks during the innovation process.

Given the role played by the unconscious in creative thought, one clearly cannot manage the direction of thought patterns that emerge. However, one can manage the overall creative process, through the careful management of these unconscious moments. Therefore, walking away from the job is no longer seen as unproductive but an integral aspect of the creative process.

This will involve educating educators and managers, and to change the mindset of time-keeping administrators on the importance of breaks. Breaks should no longer be viewed as instances in which employees ‘slack off’ but as an opportunity to enable subconscious thought to come to mind.