In our previous post, Chris Finlay referred to Arizona State’s ambitious efforts to redefine its mission. While this campaign (movement?) was initiated quite some time ago, I’ve not heard much in the way of feedback. Love to hear your thoughts.

You’ll find other videos which explain what Arizona State is seeking to accomplish, here.

1 Comment

  1. I think its great what ASU is trying to do. I would be interested in getting some insight on the process they are using to drive this initiative.

    I had a brief but interesting conversation with someone who was involved with ASU for a time. She mentioned that the President of ASU, Michael Crow, is very good at concise marketing campaigns through aggressive internet branding, however as she was in the inside while President Crow was attempting to bring his vision of departmental reworking into reality he did not do well to build consensus around his vision and is now facing a lot of political backlash. In higher education innovation at the University level is so difficult I congratulate the President for getting this far, however my friend had a unique insight that the President’s attempt to brand the university as transformative from the publics perspective may not hold true when viewing the mechanics of the University from the inside (i.e. the faculty’s perspective). I’m sorry I don’t have any details as we spoke in broad terms.

    One thing Chris Finlay mentioned in your previous post is that the value of design thinking is that it is an iterative process of solving design problems. As such thinking through prototyping on a small scale contributes to an atmosphere of safety and experimentation which reduces skepticism and gives power to shared governance. Although it seemed from my friend’s comments that the President of ASU did not engage in building consensus.

    I am curious if Chris elaborated on where they are combining student centered design and hard data? Who are the main drivers of this initiative besides the President? And how they are able to deal with resistance? It seems to me that one of the biggest challenges to innovation in Higher Education is this matter of building consensus from a wide range of constituencies around a central vision. That is one reason why it is often so rare to see any large scale innovation in a Higher Education institution and is also why I believe the design thinking process is a valuable to entrenched cultures like a University.

    I too see great value in Chris’s interests for the Business Innovation Factory in establishing a clearinghouse of Higher Education Innovations that would serve to amplify local innovations and speed up adoption on a larger scale. To do that we need Universities like ASU who are doing things such as this to document their processes and results as case studies.

    Thanks for this followup post in Higher Education Innovation.


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