INNOVATION COMPETENCY DEVELOPMENT AND ASSESSMENT IN HIGHER EDUCATION
Changes in higher education paradigms have placed at the forefront the development of knowledge, skills and attitudes that will equip students with the competencies necessary to succeed in the workplace. In innovation pedagogy, a learning appproach in which students have the opportunity to educate themselves to be innovative members of learning organizations, the social aspects of working and learning are emphasized. Group processes where learning happens in multidisciplinary teams form an essential part of learning.The aim of innovation pedagogy is to generate environments in which a competitive advantage can be created by combining different kinds of know-how. Innovation competencies sharpened by innovation pedagogy are the key to acquiring new competitive advantages via know-how.
This paper describes the progress of an ongoing project on the development and assessment of innovation competencies. The project has received the support of funding through the Life-long Learning Programme of the European Union. The main objective of the project is to create an instrument that will measure outcomes when using innovation pedagogy. The instrument focuses on assessing students’ performance in situations that produce samples of capacities and skills that make up innovation competencies.
The Innovation Competency Development (INCODE) Project includes four European partner universities: Turku University of Applied Sciences from Finland, Universitat Politècnica de València from Spain, University of Applied Sciences Hamburg from Germany and Karel de Grote-Hogeschool Antwerpen from Belgium. Each partner heads a different part of the project, which will finalize at the end of September 2013. The first two work packages, which represent approximately 50 % of the total workload of the five packages, have concluded at the time of writing. The Innovation Competence Barometer (ICB) is currently being piloted in the four universities in order to complete the validation procedure of the instrument. The five work packages will be described in the paper and preliminary trial results will be presented.
The main contribution of the project is the discussion on how, through using the ICB and testing the results of different teaching and learning methods, universities can get up-to-date information on the usefulness of the methods and can make decisions on their implementation on a wider basis. Ultimately, it is the businesses and organizations that will benefit from the newly educated professionals who will possess better qualifications and be better prepared to act in diverse innovation processes in their working lives.