Innovation Vs. Integration

With all the talk surrounding innovation in modern culture, I think we are missing an important outcome that innovation nearly always breeds: integration. Rapid advancements in product or program development have historically given way to the integration of that innovation into mainstram program offerings. We see it all the time in other industries, and now I believe we are seeing it in education.

Remember when you had your first record player or turntable? And, then you acquired a cassette tape player. Soon, we realized these advances would be best if served up together, so we created a stereo system, pulled together by an amplifier that served as a hub that several other components plugged into. This was followed by the integration of the cd player, then the massive leap into video with the addition of the TV. And, now we are seeing the computer and Internet jumping into this family entertainment system. Innovation drives integration.

There are many examples of this theory in various industries. But, what does it mean for education? Colleges and universities know that, while once a true Blue Ocean Strategy, online learning and evening and weekend programs are now simply part of the integration lexicon of offerings. Once innovations in their own right, they could not stand alone.

Innovation is great, but it always breeds perhaps a more important component - integration. What do you think this means for your school, college, or university?