VIII Forum on Education (I). Seminar on innovation in education: defining innovation

By Ismael Peña-López
ICTlogy (ISSN 1886-5208). Issue #124, January 2014


Notes from the Forum on Education. Innovation and networking, organized by the Institute of Education Sciences (ICE-UAB) and the Institute of Government and Public Policies (IGOP), and held in Bellaterra (Barcelona), Spain, in January 10 and 11, 2014. More notes on this event: 9forumice.

Seminar on innovation in education: defining innovation
Chairs: Quim Brugué, UAB-IGOP.

A group of 40-50 professionals in the field of education, innovation and research reflect on innovation.

Why is there a need for innovation? What is innovation?

  • To improve, there are things that just do not work.
  • The world changes, and improving is the answer.
  • Changes in the context, thus aiming for efficacy.
  • Changes in technology, thus aiming for efficiency.
  • Adapt to the environment.


  • Innovate… or rethink, reflect.
  • Explore, find out where are we heading to and where do we want to go.
  • Intrinsic to education, it is a part of it, it is part of learning. Fostering change guarantees learning.


  • With a goal.
  • We need to improve because there’s a need for it, especially when many structures do not innovate.
  • BUT, does everyone have to innovate?


  • Innovation depends on the context within which it is applied. What we understand by innovation changes depending on the environment.


  • Innovation… or improvement? Innovate or review what is being done? Break inertias.
  • Product vs. process.
  • Creativity.


  • Value-centered.
  • Generate better learning.
  • Learn with emotion.
  • Innovate cannot be without equity.


  • Improvement vs. change.
  • Improvement vs. revolution.


  • Why do we have problems?
  • Because we fail in solving specific issues.


  • A conceptual turn, a substantial turn: not doing things better, but approach them from another point of view.
  • A methodological turn, an instrumental turn: be able to provide an answer to the questions that arise from the conceptual turn.


  • Science ⇨ Technology ⇨ Application.
  • Empowerment vs. governance; products vs. processes; evolution vs. revolution; improvement vs. transformation.

How should we innovate?


  • A cartesian approach to everything: questioning everything.
  • Be aware of the advancements of science (context) and technology (instruments).
  • Open new ways + underpin the new paths.


Innovation should have:

  • Environments: hybridization, different approaches within the same space; creative inaccuracy; tolerance to error; role of leadership.
  • Engines: superior engine to boost change; lateral engines that help; an inner engine that acknowledges the capital of organizations; and an external engine for collaboration and partnerships.


  • Sustainability, innovation has to be maintained.
  • Sustainable change vs. the sustainability of change.
  • Human resources policies vs. humans policies with resources.
  • How innovation happens will depend on the “demand” of the students.


  • Trust and accountability.
  • Distributed leadership and collaboration.


  • Training for innovation.
  • Innovation and research should go in parallel.

IX Fòrum Educació (2014)

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2014) “VIII Forum on Education (I). Seminar on innovation in education: defining innovation” In ICTlogy, #124, January 2014. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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ICTlogy Review

  • ISSN 1886-5208


About Me

    I am Ismael Peña-López.

    I am professor at the School of Law and Political Science of the Open University of Catalonia, and researcher at the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute and the eLearn Center of that university. Since november 2013 I am on a partial leave to join Open Evidence as a senior researcher and analyst. I am also the director of the Open Innovation project at Fundació Jaume Bofill.