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ICVET Promoting Emerging Practice, TAFE NSW International Centre for VET Teaching and Learning

May Headlines

Embedding Innovation - 'chasms' as barriers and opportunities

ARTICLE | Maret Staron, Manager, TAFE NSW ICVET

Marie JasinskiSecond in a series of articles highlighting the findings of the research report by Marie Jasinski, Innovate and Integrate: Embedding innovative practices (2006).  The research was funded by the Australian Flexible Learning Framework.  For full research report (243 pages) go to the Innovate and integrate home page

How do we transform new ideas into value creating outcomes – into value adding products, processes and services?  How do we leap the chasms that often stop new ideas and practices becoming the norm? 

This article focuses on 3 key components influencing the uptake of innovation – the innovation itself, the innovators and adopters, and the organisation.

It was questions such as these that drove Marie Jasinski to undertake extensive research into embedding innovation and the barriers that often stop us getting there. 

topInnovation usually goes through four stages:

We sadly farewelled Marie in January of this year.  (Tribute LINK?) Her legacy lives on through the impact she has had on so many people and the research that she has conducted.  Innovation, creativity and people were her passion.  As Marie Jasinski stated in her research ‘we are not alone’ - education and training sectors all over the world are facing the common challenge of identifying how to transition ‘innovative practice’ to ‘everyday practice’.

Marie found that to date, most research has extensively explored the first three stages of innovation.  There is little practical research around the fourth stage, ie. embedding innovation so that it becomes a core practice within the organisation.

The research uncovered a common and consistent message for successfully embedding innovation.  It must:

In other words, innovation is about systemic change – it requires an integrated, strategic approach across all areas of the organisation.  To do this effectively, three key components should be considered in whole-of-organisation endeavours:

topThe innovation

In relation to the innovation itself, you need to consider:

Defining Innovation:
Innovation is about ideas and the transformation of those ideas into value creating outcomes – into products, processes and services. Innovations include breakthrough ideas that lead to new products or services, and incremental ideas which improve the way processes are undertaken, or products are manufactured. Innovation is about the creation of new knowledge and the use of that knowledge
(National Innovation Website 2006).

Incremental innovation seeks to improve the systems that already exist, making them better, faster and cheaper.  This is sometimes called ‘Market Pull’ Innovation.

Radical innovation is more focused on new technologies, new business models and breakthrough businesses.  This is sometimes called ‘Technology Push’ Innovation.

Incremental innovations complementing existing practice are more likely to be adopted and embedded than radical approaches.

There are three categories or types of innovation:

While classifying innovation into these categories is still at the early stages of investigation, the research found that two-thirds of the innovations investigated in this study were not ‘readily adopted’, implying that there are many barriers (or ‘chasms’) impeding the process of change.  Innovators and adopters are critical in informing decisions to be made and processes to be changed.

topThe innovators and adopters

Embedding innovation requires adoption by a critical mass – these are the mainstream adopters.

Three ‘chasms’ (or divides) were identified in the research literature search as barriers to mainstream adoption of an e-learning innovation:

Chart illustrating adopter chasm
(Marie Jasinski 2006.  Reprinted with permission.  Adapted from Moore 1999.  )

chart illustrating the 'other 85%'
(Marie Jasinski 2006. Reprinted with permission)

chart illustrating the chasm between technology and pedagogy
(Marie Jasinski 2006. Reprinted with permission.)

In her research, Marie Jasinski asks - what sort of organisation enables this complex process of embedding practices to be realised?

topThe organisation

It’s a complex (rather than simple) system that enables innovation to thrive.  The organisation needs to be:

If an organisation is too stable, there is resistance to change.  If it is too unstable, there may be disintegration.

Innovation requires both exploration and utilisation and these may require different roles, talents, ways of doing things and different support system requirements.  Organisations must be flexible enough to respond to what is required at any point in time as there will be an iteration between the need to explore and the need to utilise.  Both are important for meeting current and future needs.

Embedding an innovation is about consistent utilisation in everyday practice and this infers stability – the need for robust systems and processes which identifies:

‘RIPPLES’ implementation model

The acronym RIPPLES stands for: resources, infrastructure, people, policies, learning, evaluation, support.  For a full description of these components of the model, refer to the research report (pp 44 – 49).  The model was developed by Dr Daniel Surry, Associate Professor, Instructional Design and Development, University of South Alabama and David Ensminger, Clinical Assistant Professor, School Technology program, Loyola University, Chicago.

This is a model to help senior decision makers in the implementation of web-based learning in the higher education sector.  The model was tested in the vocational education and training (VET) context.  Dr Surry designed, administered and analysed the VET survey results.  Results of the survey indicated that:

Other interesting results of the survey were that:

In summary, individual respondents perceived themselves to be more innovative than the organisation they worked in and using more innovative practices than their organisation as a whole.  As Marie herself asked, what do you make of that?

Marie concludes that the RIPPLES model aligned well with the intent of the research.  It proved to be a very useful framework for analysing the barriers, enablers and other factors impacting on embedding innovation in VET.

topSee Also

Embedding innovation - we're not alone! ARTICLE | Maret Staron, December eZine 2007

Embedding Innovative Practices: network of champions




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