How to Successfully Innovate Technology in Higher Education

Woman holding a tablet deviceAs technology changes and student expectations rise, higher education is responsible for understanding how to create a successful technological innovation. This process should focus on improving the student experience while acknowledging the viewpoints of major stakeholders, such as faculty members and IT leaders. Fortunately, research from Georgia State University indicates that there are some factors which are critical in the successful adoption and diffusion of innovations and address these concerns specifically.

These 17 success factors were identified as critical to the success of technological innovation in higher education:

  1. Resources/Financial Support
  2. Enhances Teaching & Learning
  3. Technical Support
  4. Quality Technology
  5. Ease of Use
  6. Perceived Value
  7. Training
  8. Faculty & Student Skill Level
  9. Stakeholder Involvement
  10. Executive/Administrative Support
  11. Proven Effectiveness
  12. Innovative Culture
  13. Strategic Planning
  14. Cost Efficiency
  15. Incentives
  16. Technical Infrastructure
  17. Project Management

Together, these critical success factors remind institutions of how important collaboration is in any technological innovation. Constant communication and a culture of innovation help to make sure a new innovation is successful. Of course, executive support in the form of funding, dedicated resources, and sponsorship is essential as well. A well-formed plan with good follow-through provides the vehicle for a successful execution and a smooth diffusion to the wider community.

Innovation is a complex topic, and managing it successfully is no easy task. This task becomes compounded when considering the traditionally slower rate of adoption within higher education. The unique nature of education and the relationship of faculty, students, and staff puts a unique spin on the challenge of ensuring success when implementing technological innovations in a college or university.

By paying attention to these factors, however, institutions can work toward improving their technology to meet students’ needs, while at the same time ensuring that faculty and staff are not left out or left behind. Ultimately, addressing each of these factors gives faculty and staff a better chance of hitting the target of enhancing the student experience through technology.

For more information, see Critical Success Factors of Technological Innovation and Diffusion in Higher Education by Terry Dennison.

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