Thursday, July 08, 2010

Culture as a Critical Ingredient in Innovation

What's the role of culture in innovation? As I hinted in my previous posting on the TEDxGalway event, I firmly believe that we often underplay the importance on place within higher education. Whilst universities understandably struggle to position themselves according to league tables or to government priorities and funding regimes are they in danger of becoming more and more like each other and consequently less and less distinctively representative of their geographical, national and culture contexts? As a student or staff member wandering from lecture theatre to tutorial class how can you tell in which country you are based? Are we in danger of suffering from airport syndrome where all the world looks the same except for the bits beyond the runway and outside the terminal? In our practices and in our courses what distinguishes one from another? Is a Bologna-fied degree in Ulan Bator identical to one in Vienna?

Finbarr Bradley, one of the keynotes at the Symposium touched on similar issues in his lively closing presentation. For international readers the introductory few sentences are in Irish.

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