Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2020 Proceedings
Publication year: 2020
Pages: 3622-3631
ISBN: 978-84-09-17939-8
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2020.1020
Conference name: 14th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2020
Location: Valencia, Spain
Innovation is a way of gaining valuable knowledge that allows improving organizations, resources and processes. A lot of small innovations are done in most organizations, but their real impact is negligible when the innovations are neither implemented or when their lessons learnt are not made explicit and shared.

We present our experience of design and implementation of an internal system of recognition of innovation in our academic department. This experience began four years ago, when our academic department, the Faculty of Informatics, Multimedia and Telecommunication at UOC in Barcelona thought about the real impact of its past innovation activities and the human effort invested in innovation. The goal was to find out what amount of knowledge was gained during innovations, whether that knowledge was shared and how much of them have been applied to improve the university. The conclusion was that a lot of effort was dedicated to innovation, but their results were not applied, neither shared, efficiently. Therefore, from the Faculty point of view, innovation was a mostly useless effort.

The proposal presents the different actions conducted to create a knowledge management system to elicit innovations, the knowledge obtained from them, the most innovative people, and share this information among the faculty members. The main actions have been the creation of an innovation strategic plan, the crowd-definition of innovation and the definition of a process to recognize innovations. This process started a few years ago, at 2016, as a yearly internal process of recognition of innovation projects related with STEM teaching experiences. Process was conducted by ad-hoc teams of academic staff. Projects were presented on a voluntary basis and reviewed on a peer-review accreditation process. In case of positive review, an internal recognition was granted.

We have conducted an analysis of projects recognized over time in our department, through data entered by each project coordinator when presenting the project to the call for accreditation. We have analyzed the projects mostly through network analysis of two main datasets: the composition of project teams, and the thematic keywords associated to each project. This allows as to obtain a visual representation of the network of innovators in our department and its quantitative properties, as well as to obtain a visual representation of the network of thematic keywords in our department and its quantitative properties. This is for a 4 year period as a whole and its yearly evolution across time.

Also, we have conducted an analysis of our definition of innovation, recognition process and satisfaction of participants (both in their role of applicants and in their role of peer reviewers of Applications). This has been conducted through internal documents content analysis and through surveys to participants.

All in all, we think lessons learned from this experience are useful for other academic departments which consider to engage in a similar experience to enhance internal knowledge management and innovation initiatives.
STEM, virtual university, innovation, knowledge management, project management.