A Lesson in Life on Innovation: INN 800

Introducing Organizational Innovation: Launching a Culture of Innovation – The First Course in BGU’s New Ph.D. Program

In January of this year, BGU successfully launched its new and first Ph.D. Program: The Doctor of Philosophy in Innovative Urban Leadership. I had the distinct pleasure and opportunity to work with the team that formed the curricula for the program. Our intent from the very beginning was to offer candidates a research-based doctoral program with the unique urban leadership approach that has become BGUs’ brand worldwide.  Each of the courses that were approved was analyzed and even agonized over to make certain that it gave our students a unique learning experience that was well suited for today’s global Christian leaders and the contemporary business world.  This first course will offer students a chance to explore their own creative abilities sprinkled with the aura of technology that impacts every existing organization and industry in the world.  It will be rooted and grounded in innovation.

Innovation is the lifeblood of thriving organizations regardless of the commodity, products or services they provide. This course is designed to help students develop the skills and strategic discernment to build an organizational culture that will promote innovative ideas and trends at all organizational levels, as well as challenging its participants on a personal level. Through a thorough examination of the proven, successful, and effective strategies employed by the most innovative businesses and organizations in the world, students will learn how to collaborate, communicate, and create innovation, and a culture conducive to innovative ideas within their organizations These innovations will lead to long term resiliency, scalability and sustainment throughout the world. By developing a practical and contemporary innovation plan based on their own individual areas of research interest, students will learn how to engage and motivate others and create a culture of innovation that is unlimited in its scope and unimaginable in the current environment.

Following the example of God as the ultimate creator and first innovator, the totality of the course’s content will make the case that God continues to create and continues to invite us, through disruptive, even explosive and dynamic change, to co-create and innovate new values for ourselves and others. It will explore where discovery, invention, and value creation intersect (or not) with God’s intentions. The concepts of innovation will be interwoven with Biblical concepts of truth, honesty, integrity, motivation, and selflessness to ensure that the proposed approaches and research areas of interest are consistent with God’s Word and Christian principles.

Innovation is open and available to everyone.  It is no longer limited to the confines of large R&D departments filled with chemists, scientists and engineers, but God’s creative spirit is at work in every one of His creations.  Peter Damandis, Founder and Chairman, of X PRIZE Foundation, a global leader in designing large-scale incentive competitions, and one of Forbes’ World’s 50 Greatest Leaders, summarized this new innovation wave by saying , “We are entering an age when humanity’s grand challenges are being solved by a new generation of ‘do it yourself” innovators employing jugaad-style thinking. Today, the entrepreneurial spirit of your very own employees, customers, and partners—empowered by new technologies—can literally change the world” (Rdjou, Prabhu & Ahuja, 2012, p. 11.). Innovation is open to us all.  It is our goal that this course will spark the innovative spirit in each of us and catapult us to heights unknown through creative innovation and by God’s grace.

- Dr. L. Paulette Jordan