AIEC Day 2: Innovation, Change and Creativity

What an incredible first morning at the AIEC! My brain is working overtime to try and absorb the amount of information that we’ve received so far today.

What I’m taking away from this morning’s session is innovation. Not standing still, pushing at the boundaries and taking risks in our work because the international education world is certainly not standing still.

Holly Sargent, who is the Founding Director of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Women’s Leadership Board gave a thought-provoking talk on the importance of educational exchange and innovation. She encouraged all who work in the sector to be bold and embrace change, to reward those in institutions who collaborate and show initiative and to encourage new ways of learning. She encouraged everybody to use the digital world to improve the quality of teaching, to be flexible and take a risk by introducing pilots (because failure is often how you learn) and to dare to care!!

She also asked the audience to think about how touch points in our own educations had transformed us and will stay with us and she shared a wonderful example of her own personal international experience which she described as ‘transformative’.

Next up was Dr Stefan Hajkowicz from CSIRO who gave a particularly engaging talk on ‘Our Future World’. This took us on a whistle-stop tour of megatrends and scenarios affecting the world. He specifically covered Digital Immersion and provided some impressive statistics such as 90% of data available today was created in the last two years.. He also discussed the importance of creative, human and social activity and talked about how we are information rich but we also suffer from information overload.

Speaking of which…the panel discussion on Hot Topics in Education covered several important issues in the world of international education. One of the subjects that really caught my attention was the idea of capacity – there is a lot of talk around employability for international students and facilitating this – but is there a mismatch between employer capacity and international student employability expectations? Again, collaboration was raised and the importance of this and exchange to making institutions truly international.

We ended the morning on with Dr Keith Suter from World of Thinking who gave an engaging talk on almost everything – from Shakespeare to the Doomsday Book to Blue Ocean thinking! He stressed the importance of us all thinking for our customers – back to the innovation theme. He suggested that we should find ideas that don’t just beat our competitors – but make the competition irrelevant. He suggested that too much benchmarking makes us look like our competitors, and he suggested that we should look to the horizon and undertake some scenario planning. In international education he said, we are essentially looking at mobilising the brains of 7 billion people..

Which that in mind I’ll mobilise my own brain to take in this afternoon’s sessions…

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