Innovation and the creation of innovative organizations have become increasingly important in virtually every professional endeavor. The pressure to create new products and services, new business processes, and new approaches to solving old problems is immense. This study explores the dynamics of innovation in accredited schools of business, focusing upon sources of innovation, systems to support innovation, and obstacles to innovation.
For the purposes of the study, innovation was defined in the broadest term. The concept of business concept innovation, innovation in any phase of a business model, serves as the foundation for defining innovation. Relatively little study has been done of how business concept innovation occurs in education, specifically business education.
The researcher utilizes qualitative research methods to investigate the sources of innovation, systems which support and nurture innovation, and obstacles to innovation. The study focuses on a sample of AACSB accredited business schools in Southern California. Interviews were conducted with 12 deans, from a potential pool of 18, of AACSB accredited business schools in Southern California. The semi-structured interview format focuses on sources of innovation, systems to support innovation, and obstacles to innovation. Data analysis is completed using NVivo qualitative analysis software. Participants discuss from where innovative ideas emerge in their schools; what systems, cultures and strategies exist to support innovation; and major obstacles to innovation. Participants discuss a broad range of challenges to and supporting elements of innovation in their schools. The study focuses heavily on the role of AACSB in fostering innovation.
Results suggest that innovation is a high priority with business school deans, and that a great deal of innovative activity is underway. It also reveals that the preponderance of innovative activity is in areas outside of core teaching and learning. Innovative approaches to ancillary activities such as study abroad, internship opportunities, student consulting, and fundraising are more often cited than are new academic programs.
The author concludes with observations about innovative practices, how they emerge, how they are encouraged, and what major obstacles exist. The author offers recommendations including broader study of the topic incorporating participants such as faculty and private sector partners.