Innovation in Higher Education in Israel: Public Policy Implications

Innovation in Higher Education in Israel: Public Policy Implications

Milly Perry (The Open University, Israel & Ben Gurion University, Israel)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1969-2.ch002


In order for education systems to cope with social and economic changes and perform efficiently, innovation is essential. Innovation in education (and particularly in Higher Education systems) has not been regarded as an important issue by policy makers, education stakeholders, and leaders; it seems to be regarded as “nice-to-have” rather than a necessity. Recently, innovation in education has started to gain attention. This includes systemic study of innovation, innovation strategy, and implementation of innovation strategies by policy makers and leaders. Scientific outputs and research findings can be used as input in national-international policies. In order to achieve this goal it is imperative to conduct close studies and for policy-makers to cooperate, ensuring the relevance of topics, and improving communication, dissemination, and implementation of research recommendations. These are the tools needed for leading change, innovation, and implementing new strategies.
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Background And Literature Review: Innovation

Definitions of innovation abound throughout the literature. Some define innovation in the context of using economic tools whereas others emphasize engineering, business and management fields, technology expertise, or socialism. Most definitions refer to the notion of doing “old” things in a new way. Some of the terms refer to added value to process or products, implicative aspects of the ideas (Mckeown, 2008), or to the degree of change (mild or incremental/revolutionary). Other definitions relate to “introduction of a new or significantly improved product (good or service), process, or method” and to “systemic innovation” as “any kind of dynamic, system-wide change that is intended to add value to the educational processes and outcomes (OECD, 2008).

Innovation policy, although fashionable, is often misunderstood; it should not be an annex to science and technology policy, as often presented. Innovation—the application of knowledge of all types so as to achieve desired social and economic outcomes—is broader than science and technology, often combining technical, organizational, and other sorts of change (World Bank, 2007).

Innovation is becoming popular in many fields such as policy, business, the public sector, and technology. In a world of globalization, economic crisis, incremental changes and competition, its importance is rising. Even though innovation has traditionally swung into and out of fashion, as Barsh, Capozzi, and Davidson (2008) put it “like short skirts: popular in good times and tossed back into the closet in downturns.” Today, as the world descends into one of the sharpest downturns of several decades, policy makers look to innovative and entrepreneurial activities to form a basis for long-term, sustainable production (OECD, 2009).

Literature review and researches in the field of Innovation refer to different types of innovation (Technion Innovation Center website):

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