Creating a Culture of Mindful Innovation in Higher Education

By Michael Lanford & William G. Tierney

Subjects: Higher Education, Educational Research, Sociology, Organization Theory, Education Policy And Leadership
Hardcover : 9781438487632, 194 pages, June 2022
Paperback : 9781438487625, 194 pages, December 2022

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Table of contents

1. An Introduction to Mindful Innovation in Higher Education

2. Understanding the Need for Mindful Innovation in Higher Education

3. From Creative Destruction to Disruption: Evolving Perceptions of Innovation

4. How Higher Education's Problems Have Been Analyzed

5. Conceptualizing Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship

6. Stimulating Mindful Innovation

7. Planning, Developing, and Implementing a Culture of Mindful Innovation

8. Not So Fast! The Shortcomings of Current Rhetoric on Innovation

9. Moving Forward with a Culture of Mindful Innovation


Offers a vision for innovation in higher education focused on societal progress and human development, as well as for higher education's role within a broader culture of innovation.


Higher education institutions have traditionally nurtured artistic and scientific development and served as catalysts for innovative ideas and products. However, contemporary discourse too often relegates the concept of innovation to the private sector, where the rhetoric of "disruption" frequently reduces innovation to economic terms. As a result, innovations that could benefit society instead exacerbate existing inequities, and the environmental factors that stimulate long-term innovative progress are neglected.

Creating a Culture of Mindful Innovation in Higher Education offers a different vision by identifying the conditions that enable college and university administrators, faculty, and staff to promote an innovative institutional culture. Mindful innovation is defined through six central tenets: societal impact; the necessity of failure; creativity through diversity; respect for autonomy and expertise; thoughtful consideration for the dimensions of time, efficiency, and trust; and the incentivization of intrinsic motivation and progress over scare tactics and disruption. Michael Lanford and William G. Tierney offer a clearheaded analysis of the challenges and opportunities in creating a culture of mindful innovation and argue that the institutions that do so will be poised to lead entrepreneurial endeavors, scientific progress, and greater social equity in the twenty-first century.

Michael Lanford is Assistant Professor of Higher Education at the University of North Georgia. William G. Tierney is Professor Emeritus and Founding Director of the Pullias Center for Higher Education at the University of Southern California. His many books include Higher Education for Democracy: The Role of the University in Civil Society, also published by SUNY Press.


"Lanford and Tierney make an excellent case for reframing the way we think about innovation in higher education. They distinguish among various uses and types of 'innovation' and offer an alternative to highly popular, yet deeply flawed notions of 'disruption.' This book is really needed—now!" — James Soto Antony, coeditor of Challenges in Higher Education Leadership: Practical and Scholarly Solutions