Roadmap To Excellence

How We Get There:  A Roadmap to Reach a New Culture of Innovation to Support Substantial Advances

Embracing a Culture of Innovation does not mean having a crystal ball, disregarding traditional principles or values, repeating history, or changing for the sake of change.

The "Sandbox Centre" at the University of Central Lancashire, UK: "both a creative facilitation space and a digital media R&D lab."

Embracing a Culture of Innovation does mean identifying and lowering barriers to innovation in our institution by ensuring that our institutional economic and resource models support innovation, and recognize and address cultural barriers; by promoting experimentation and risk-taking while analyzing and learning from the outcomes; by establishing safe areas for testing and piloting new ideas (“sandboxes”); by rewarding and recognizing innovative enterprises alongside traditional results; and, by expecting efforts to question and challenge existing practices.

Our journey requires firm commitments and an acceptance of risk. We must commit ourselves to these goals:

1. Fostering collaboration and novel interactions:

  • Within the university
  • Between the university and our communities
  • In our communities
  • With new partners and new types of partnerships

Virginia Tech’s Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT) seeks to further our tradition of innovation in ways that affect not only the arts but the entire learning community. Acquiring funding, building the building, hiring the staff, and opening the doors are important components, but insufficient to realize this vision. Indeed, success will require engaged partners to think and act differently.

2. Rethinking education with the view that every person is an educator and every moment an opportunity for learning:

  • Engagement through relationships and collaboration is at the heart of innovative practices, and Virginia Tech must insist on a robust learning environment both inside and outside the classroom.

Physical beauty and digital connectivity combine in this learning space.

  • Thinking beyond the physical campus as the learning environment and encouraging cross‐pollination of discourse between students, faculty, administrators, and stakeholders by leveraging interactions in spaces other than the classroom.

The Virtual GLC and OpenLife Learning Space are two virtual spaces for students and faculty to meet even when they are not in the same location.

3. Embedding innovation in the university’s planning and management tools:

  • Making innovation a central element of the strategic plan for 2018, the university six‐year capital outlay plan, the six‐year operating financial plan, long‐range college and administrative strategic plans, and departmental goals and objectives.
  • Assuring innovation is a central part of every role definition, plan, review, and compensation action for each member of our community.

What We Must Do

  • We must fund innovation because it is vital and valuable.
  • We must practice innovation to create and accept it.
  • We must share the results of our work within and beyond the university.
  • We must engage our stakeholders in this effort through “win-win” partnerships.
  • We must support a culture that expects innovation from the bottom to the top of the organization.

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