Defining Innovation

Defining Innovation

Innovation, in the view of JMC deans and directors, is a strategic priority. When they were asked to rate the importance of innovation on a scale of 1-5, with 1 being not at all important and 5 being very important, the mean rating was 4.65. JMC leaders from private universities rated the strategic importance of innovation slightly higher than their counterparts at public universities.  A regional breakdown indicated that – by a small margin – deans and directors in the northeast rated the strategic importance of innovation higher than JMC leaders in other regions. Those in the southwest offered slightly lower ratings.

Innovation as Strategic Priority – National/Public/Private

National - 4.65/5

Private - 4.72/5

Public - 4.61/5

Strategic Priority by Region

Overall – 4.64/5 93%
Northeast – 4.81/5 96%
Southeast – 4.65/5 93%
West Coast – 4.63/5 93%
Midwest – 4.58/5 91%
Southwest – 4.5/5 90%

Innovation Word Cloud

In defining innovation, JMC leaders offered a range of views with some common elements. This word cloud captures the concepts cited most often.

In their own words

The following definitions illustrate the diversity of perspectives in how JMC deans and directors think about innovation.

Howard Schneider, Stony Brook University


An imaginative departure from accepted practice that results in a new outcome.

David Kurpius, University of Missouri


Innovation is kind of pushing the envelope . . . new ideas, new ways of thinking that help journalism and strategic communication be more relevant in the democracy.

Gracie Lawson-Borders, Howard University


It is creativity. It is ingenuity. It is thinking outside the box – reconfiguring, taking a new lens at what you are doing and doing it differently and seeing what you can add.

Jeffrey Rutenbeck, American University


Innovation presumes that you are building on something that is already there and taking it in a direction that is somehow relevant or needed.

Pauline Hoffmann, St. Bonaventure University


Forward thinking. Ahead of the curve. Being the leaders rather than the followers.

Edward Wasserman, University of California at Berkeley


Seeking and applying new solutions to problems that capture and redefine them in ways that are helpful and more effective than in the past.

Deborah Tudor, Southern Illinois University


Rethinking ourselves.

Diane Gayeski, Ithaca College


The pursuit of new approaches, new technologies, new ways to frame questions and opportunities.

Kimo Ah Yun, Marquette University


Doing things in non-traditional ways. Creative ways to be able to push the field in ways it hasn’t been pushed before.

Paul Parsons, Elon University


Doing something new – at least your own unit is doing something new. It may not be a global innovation that no one has ever done before in history.

Dorothy Bland, University of North Texas


Identifying opportunities and translating those opportunities that create additional value that our audiences are interested in paying for.

Charles Davis, University of Georgia


Creating opportunities to do new things both inside and outside the curriculum.

Lorraine Branham, Syracuse University


Activities or courses or skills that are not part of our curriculum but that give our students an opportunity to get involved in cutting edge activities, research, or entrepreneurial activities that are not yet part of our regular program.

Ann Brill, University of Kansas


Opening new ways of thinking and doing for students.

Robert Stewart, Ohio University


Looking for anything that has the potential to be disruptive and challenge ways of thinking that are unconventional.

Jonathan Potter, Rutgers University


Something that is fresh and not too easy to define.

Wilfred Tremblay, High Point University


Something new that sticks.

Edward Carter, Brigham Young University


Something relevant and important that we haven’t done before.

Bruce Pinkleton, Washington State University


Entrepreneurial thinking in our field and how to build that into our training.