The purpose of this paper is to discuss the concept of innovative change in institutions of higher learning. To this end, the paper begins with a basic definition of the concept and identifies its key characteristics and components. This is followed by a discussion of the application of the concept of innovative change to institutions of higher education. The final section of the paper presents a brief summary of the material covered in the discussion.
According to Waterman and Peters (1998: 1-15), innovative excellence is an orientation toward change in business that is flexible and geared to meet needs using novel and exceptional solutions. The concept of innovative excellence is one of willingness to take extraordinary steps and novel approaches to solve problems, often in a way that generalizes across an entire company, plant, or even field.
Waterman and Peters (1-15) also note that innovative excellence is a level of creativity that places a company on the leading edge of change. In short then, innovative excellence is change not for change's sake but for the purpose of outstanding improvement, and it does indeed result in outstanding improvement.
Young (1) reports that the concept of innovative excellence has eight attributes or characteristics that allow for its identification. These include: (1)fostering an action orientation; (2) staying close to the consumer by providing service and quality; (3) developing a simplified organizational structure that recognizes the importance of informal lines of responsibility and communication; (4) adopting a set of beliefs and values on which to base all policies and actions; (5) creating an entrepreneurial atmosphere in which power and decision making are shared; (6) incorporating trust into personnel management to achieve lasting productivity gains; (7) maintaining sight of the company's original intent and purposes; and (8) maintaining tight management control, while at the ...