Reflections on my project theme – innovation

The Research Councils UK, are responsible for investing public money in research within the UK. It is the ambition of The Research Councils UK “to ensure the UK remains the best place in the world to do research, innovate and grow business.”   Research Councils UK (2014)

I would suggest that research is therefore seen as a major driving force for innovation and innovation in turn is seen as major driving force for business or economic growth.

“Russell Group Universities are responsible for the vast majority of UK’s world-leading research”   The Russell Group (2014). The Russell Group’s prestigious member Universities are seen as the ultimate place to study and their culture is synonymous with the traditional view of research scholarship.

My project, Open Space was created to stimulate and capture all forms of scholarly activity. When constructing the site with personal examples it was of no surprise that my forms of scholarly activity reflected Boyer’s (1990) application and teaching areas.

In considering whether my project was innovative, I looked at two definitions of innovation as “The process of translating an idea or invention into a good or service that creates value or for which customers will pay”.   (2016). The Collins online dictionary (2016)  defines innovation as “something newly introduced, such as a new method or device”.   In both these definitions my project is innovative in respects that it produces a new process, a new combination of tools.

However, when considering the bigger picture, will the innovation within my project lead to business growth?     I can’t see currently how, as it is just a prototype platform, however, if the platform became widely used and successful collaborative projects were developed through the platform then potentially yes.

The second reflection regarding the theme is linked to the four areas of Boyer’s scholarship and further makes me question why research is seen as the ultimate scholarly aim.

I tried to put this in a diagram below to demonstrate the point.  The big question is how does innovation lead to economic growth without the integration, application and teaching?   I am not sure if it can (but would be interested in other views).  A very important secondary point here is that the act of integration, application and teaching can lead to innovation and also potentially economic growth.

I conclude therefore that all four areas of scholarship are very valuable and although research can start innovation without the other areas the ultimate aim of economic growth will not be reached without integration, application or teaching.

Diagram for presentation


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