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

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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