Defining Innovative

What is innovative?

As a student in the Learning, Instruction, and Innovation PhD program, at Walden University, at some point you will struggle with what innovative really means. It appears to be a simple question as first, but applying it to educational research is more difficult than you think.  You will be asked to defend that your dissertation topic is innovative in addition to filling a necessary gap within the literature. The response I give students regarding what innovative means is that it is a research idea that studies:

  • Something new used in an old way
  • Something old used in a new way
  • Something new used in a new way

One of our very own Dr. D’s mentees expanded on this idea in her post Does Technology Really Make the Innovation Innovative?

There’s a journal titled Journal of Educational Research and Innovation (JERI). The site describes the journal’s focus this way, “JERI aims to provoke conversation about emerging ideas, stimulate innovation in practice, and encourage diversity of opinion. Perhaps,  taking a look at  articles accepted for this journal might be a good place to begin?

As you know, I love all things Google, and this company is known for being innovative. So maybe we should be looking at the Educational Innovation Research they deem worthy of being studied? And then maybe even look for a job as a Researcher there? Hey, a girl can dream, can’t she?

Another source of inspiration might be The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) who has recently made a series of videos showing and encouraging students to be innovative. While the introduction video embedded below focuses on STEM innovation, (who can argue that technology that saves baby’s lives is innovative) there are some real gems built within the video that may inspire you on the research side of innovation. Can you pick them out and share them below in a reply?

While much of our dissertation journey is just that, a journey, you will at some point have to finalize your topic. You will need to be passionate about it and be ready to dedicate your life to a very focused aspect of education and innovation. Remembering this….

WhatYouKnowGraph

I hope this helps you begin your own journey in determining whether or not your study topic is innovative or not.

Your mentor ~Dr. Darci

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