How to Educate Somebody to be Innovative

Developing and measuring innovation competences in university-company co-operation

Taru Penttilä, Sami Lyytinen

All sectors of the economy underline the importance of innovations. For creating new innovations we need individuals that are capable to participate in diverse everyday innovation processes. One main problem is that universities don’t have proper tools to measure the development of the students’ innovation competencies during their studies. There is no sufficient data on which teaching and learning methods are effective, i.e. able to develop innovation competences. Also companies are lacking tools and knowledge to assess these competencies in various settings: in recruitment processes and internal development activities.

In this paper we present the EU financed FINCODA project with a significant number of universities and innovation-intensive companies from 5 countries, aiming at providing solutions for a solid path for forthcoming innovators from university to companies. We shall test new forms of enhancing innovation competencies in university-company cooperation. Real-life learning environments bring added value for all stakeholders and lower the students’ threshold to enter the working life.

As a main tangible output of the project we are creating and validating a software application tool for innovation competencies assessment, which will be available as an OER. We shall also illustrate that - especially when speaking about innovation competencies – well-organized and structured behavior assessment can be at the same time cost-effective, reliable, and valid and value adding, compared to traditional written tests and exams.

European-wide challenges demand multinational solutions. Investments to innovation competencies development gain positive impacts to the competitiveness of European companies. Joint European processes in assessment of learning outcomes are also one key aspect in the creation of a well-functioning European Higher Education Area.

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Oliver Caunt

Oliver Caunt is the Managing Director of family business, John Caunt Scientific Ltd, who specialise in nuclear instrumentation design and manufacture. Oliver relocated the business to the Bury in 2005 and has since overseen stable growth from £1m turnover to just under £2m.

With roots firmly established in the SME landscape, Oliver is a strong champion of entrepreurship and positive collaboration. He is a graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses programme; has led a successful £1m grant application in collaboration with the University of Liverpool to develop world-class nuclear reactor safeguards and operations technology; is a member of a pan-European academic/commercial collaborative project- FINCODA - setup to establish a global standard tool to define and identify innovative competencies in people for the benefit of post graduates and employers; is a participant in the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority's SME mentor programme; was nominated as one of the North West Insider Magazine's 42 under 42 (faces of the future) in 2012; was the best in class for Technology in the Made in Bury Business Awards 2013; a member of the IoD99 (Institute of Directors 99 select entrepreneurs) and is now a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers in London.

Oliver lives in Ramsbottom with his wife, Ivona, and 2 young children. He spends as much time as possible out in the countryside with the kids, the dog, running and on his mountain bike, as well as enjoying the many excellent local restaurants and pubs in the area!