Opinion Article
Editorial from
Ana Margarida Barreto
Assistant Professor at Nova FCSH, and member of Nova SBE Health Economics and Management Knowledge Center.
November 16, 2022
4. Quality education

4. Quality education

Ensure access to inclusive, quality and equitable education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure

Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

How can we bring innovation to the Higher Education system?

If we want to bring innovation to higher education we need to provide a multidisciplinary curricula that fosters creativity and dialogue before teaching how to deal with new technologies.

Innovation has been associated with advances in all kinds of new technologies, applied to different societal contexts. However, this is an oversimplified view of the concept, and to stimulate innovation in Higher Education or even bring it into the educational space we do not necessarily need to teach how to use those new technologies in the diverse domains of knowledge.

The need to bring new generations closer to new technologies that solve or facilitate the resolution of current problems is undeniable. Because they are an alternative to former solutions, new technologies presuppose innovation, but innovation based on technology is bound to be dated, since in a few years’ time these new ways of responding to a phenomenon may be already obsolete. Besides, an innovative educational system does not depend on the mere usage of digital pedagogical tools. Technology is not exclusive to innovation and vice versa.

Universities and polytechnic institutes have been innovation generating spaces par excellence, but they must also be spaces that promote innovative behaviors. Innovation as a personality trait reflects a “predisposition for change” and, as with any other individual trait, predispositions can be encouraged by the environment; in this case by the training agents.

If we want to bring innovation to higher education, rather than using or teaching how to use new digital tools, we must teach how to use the cognitive tool from which springs the digital — the mind. It is urgent to teach to question, because to find the best answer to a problem we have first to find the right question that anticipates it. Innovation comes from the very act of identifying or even categorizing the problem differently, forcing us to look at it from new angles. If we want to teach innovation we have to eliminate walls between departments and colleges, promoting the transversality of knowledge. Innovation depends on the multidisciplinarity of knowledges that are directed to the same goal and is grounded more on the collective than on the individual. In brief, to teach innovation we must do two essential things in classrooms: to stimulate debate, or dialogue, and also creativity.

Still, how can we promote creativity? The answer I propose is through curiosity. It is important to foster curiosity by means of curricular flexibility, however reassuring that classical syllabi on which technical knowledge is based will not be despised as a consequence of its lesser immediate applicability.

Current academic curricula aim increasingly to provide the student with technical knowledge, to a specialization in a single domain. In part because, as a response to a labor market that demands an increasingly technical profile, it is the student himself that avoids attending courses that at first glance do not supply those tools. As a consequence, immediate knowledge and of direct application is favored. This is a function that cannot be developed unidirectionally by the educational system, but rather in tandem with the labor market.

In the genesis of innovation is rupture, a differentiated response to a problem adapted to changes of several natures. But innovation should not merely seek to optimize resources, and rather be at the service of society by ensuring the common welfare and by respecting the basic values of civilization. Here we enter in the field of ethics applied to innovation.

We therefore need to develop together, in educational spaces, not only the ability to promote innovative behaviors, but also to reflect on, to understand, to judge and to use innovation autonomously and responsibly.

Ana Margarida Barreto
Assistant Professor at Nova FCSH, and member of Nova SBE Health Economics and Management Knowledge Center.

Keep reading

Knowledge Centers' first annual meeting!

Last September Nova SBE organized the first Annual Meeting of the Knowledge Centers (KCs).

Summer School in "Spatial Analysis, Land Use and the Environment" in Lima, Peru

Summer School in “Spatial Analysis, Land Use and the Environment”, a partnership between Nova Environmental Economics Knowledge Center and Universidad del Pacífico in Lima, Peru, took place in January 2020.

Gender differences in different assessment systems: the teacher's gender role

Nova SBE participated in Encontro de Ciência 2022 where Ana Balcão Reis presented “Gender differences in different assessment systems: the teacher’s gender role” on gender equality and education. Click here to watch the video in Portuguese.

High-stake exams change teacher grading standards: evidence from a policy reform

Pedro Freitas, PhD Candidate from Nova SBE Economics of Education Knowledge Center, saw his publication receive the María Jesús San Segundo Award at the Meeting of the Economics of Education Association, of the Economics of Education Association (AEDE).


Nova SBE at the Youth and Innovation Forum

Daniel Traça participated in the Youth and Innovation Forum at the United Nations Ocean Conference.

Subscribe our weekly newsletter

By subscribing to the Nova SBE Role to Play newsletter, you can stay up-to-date on the latest articles posted on the website.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

We all have a role to play

We are on a mission to be a community dedicated to the development of talent and knowledge that impacts the world.

With just ten years to go, an ambitious global effort is underway to deliver the 2030 promise. We want to take a stand and we are calling on our community to showcase how they are contributing to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, whilst influencing more and more people to unravel their role to play.

Here, you will find four different ways your ideas can flourish, dialogue can be enhanced, and action can take place. You can choose one or all four, and Nova SBE will be there to support you all the way and guarantee tangible change.

We all have a role to play, and this is your way in.