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The Innovative University: Changing the DNA of Higher Education from the Inside Out

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  186 ratings  ·  32 reviews
The Innovative University illustrates how higher education can respond to the forces of disruptive innovation, and offers a nuanced and hopeful analysis of where the traditional university and its traditions have come from and how it needs to change for the future. Through an examination of Harvard and BYU-Idaho as well as other stories of innovation in higher education, C ...more
ebook, 512 pages
Published June 24th 2011 by Jossey-Bass
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Gideon Burton
The book is an excellent overview of standard features of higher education that came to us by way of the Harvard model. Those features were innovative in their day, but ironically, now impede the forward evolution of higher education because those aspects are not sustainable. This is pretty bold stuff, frankly, and will be upsetting to many traditionalists. But it incoroporates Christensen's thinking on disruptive innovation and was, for me, very convincing.

While heavily weighted toward the inno
I do believe that anyone who is planning on going into higher education (to be a professor or administrator) should read this book. It helped me understand the DNA of our current Harvard-driven university system in the U.S. (somewhat of a mystery to me earlier), which the authors claim is probably unsustainable for many others institutions trying to parrot the elite universities.

It was also interesting to see a wildly different approach at the new BYU-Idaho.

There is an interesting section towar
Fred Zimny
It is not a book like Porter's Redefining Health Care

But it created an impact for me. May be because i am a newbie in higher education.

Creating that impact took a long time. Skip all the history stuff (just study the tables) and focus on the last chapters, dealing with the challenges.

I missed parts about the impact of the baby boom or a lengthy discussion how publishers (and even content curators) might become competitors for higher education institutions.

Still a worthy read. And it made me wond
This book provided interesting insights into the problems facing higher education and detailed possible solutions in the last few chapters. It provides a lengthy description of Harvard's history that felt quite long in the middle.

Eventually, it expanded on the results of a study done in 2010 by McKinsey Company quantifying the productivity and effectiveness of universities at producing degrees leading to jobs relative to their costs.

I learned a great deal about BYU-Idaho as they hold it as a m
Bonnie Irwin
The last 30% or so of this book is excellent; thought-provoking, even if one does not buy into the authors' thesis entirely. The first 50-70%, on the other hand, is of interest only to those readers who might be interested in a detailed history of Harvard, and a relatively detailed history of BYU-Idaho. 300 pages could have been covered in 50, and the last 100 pages would still be meaningful. The gist of the book, that higher ed must seriously change its DNA or wither away, has several grains of ...more
Bailey Urban
This was a long book, but so thought provoking. If there is one thing this book did, it is shape my life's vocation to a more strategic purpose. I am committed to creating programs/initiatives to support student development, but now this book has made me realize that to do that really involves some policy shaping at a macro-level to make universities get why students' moral and mental development is so crucial to the university experience. To do that, mentoring students HAS to become a fundament ...more
What a book! This was a great way to begin my graduate studies in higher education administration because it was so incredibly informative. Christensen exposes the issues in higher education today by tracking the evolution of our education from the very beginnings. He tracks the history of Harvard because many traditional colleges are still trying to be just like them when they really cannot. He also tracks the history of BYU-I because it broke the mold. It chose to be different and embraced its ...more
This very readable book provides one of the most comprehensive histories of Harvard I have read. It clearly outlines and articulates how most traditional institutions of higher education have attempted to model themselves after Harvard, and not succeeded, mostly due to lack of resources.

The authors also present the case study of the rise of BYU-Idaho, and how the founders and current administration have chosen not to emulate Harvard, with great success.

The only idea that the authors do not con
This book is outstanding. If you're in higher ed at all, or if you're interested in the future of higher ed in particular, I cannot recommend this book enough. If you're sending a student to college in the next few decades, I'd recommend it to you, too.

It's really a good read.

This book clearly uses the Innovator's Dilemma as a framework, but also draws on other conceptual models including the competency trap, lean manufacturing, the Pareto principle, and others.

The main takeaways: the most succe
Johann Guenther
CHRISTENSEN, Clayton M.; EYRING, Henry J.: „The Innovative University. Changing the DNA of Higher Education from the Inside Out”, San Francisco 2011
Vieles ändert sich heute in unserer Gesellschaft. So auch das Universitätssystem. Neue Technologien haben Einzug gehalten. Die beiden Autoren versuchen eine Antwort zu finden, es ist aber nur ein weiterer Vorschlag. Verlängerung des Studiums durch ein Foundationprogramm, einem Übergangsprogramm von der Mittelschule zur Universität.
Sie setzen sich au
Jason Golomb
Terrific in-depth look at The Innovators' Dilema and how higher ed needs to evolve. Focus is on the historic development of Harvard and the little-known BYU-Idaho.

Informative, historical, and thought-provoking. Especially for a dad whose first of three just started college. :-)
I found this to be a very strange book. Toward the end it did have a few interesting (and potentially useful) ideas/models for how higher education can remake itself in the current and coming crisis, but they were buried under an enormous history of Harvard University, which took up most of the book. Since I simply don't buy the notion that the entire world's university system as it's been run for the past several hundred years is based on Harvard (I mean, for one thing, many of the great univer ...more
I joined a book discussion group to read this -- and I had trouble making it through the "must read" chapters. It's not because the book is not well written, clear or provocative (for academics). It's just because it's too much like homework, and the thesis can be gleaned from the first chapters.
Let's of interesting food for thought in here. Made me interested to learn more about online classes.
Essential reading for anyone working in academia and for anyone working in K-12 education with the goal of helping kids climb the mountain to and through college. Also, important reading for any parent who hopes for their children to attend college.

As a professor at a research university, I learned a ton from this book that will help me be a better contributor to great potential higher education holds for society. I come away better grounded in the historical context of higher education and more
I love reading Clayton Christensen books. This book details the history of Harvard and of BYU-Idaho. I attended Rick College during my freshman year, which became BYU-Idaho. It was interesting to see how innovation and a university's acceptance or willingness to embrace innovation can make a real difference in the success of a university. This book made me think and I found it quite interesting.
A great primer for anyone who wishes to understand the issues higher ed faces today. If you work at a higher ed institution, this book wont alleviate the frustrations you most likely feel, but it will give you some context to understand the nature of those frustrations (they're systemic and not easily solved without major effort from senior management and buy in from employees).
I felt I had to read this book. Christensen is quoted a lot. And it actually is decent. It has some good history, especially about the history of Harvard's presidents but also about the transformation of BYU Idaho. It is a quick read. But I am not sure that many of the examples offer anything but transitory understandings of the kinds of change facing higher education.
Clinton King
Fascinating history of higher education in the United States (focused primarily on Harvard). When they start talking about what's currently happening, it gets alternately scary, intimidating, and hopeful, speaking as someone currently employed in higher education. I liked it. It's not light reading, though.
My main complaint with this book is that many of the most likable parts sound like they are plagiarized from a dystopian novel. That was the uncomfortable feeling I kept getting. Yet the authors have serious proposals and some good ideas. Those involved in the university would benefit from reading this book.
Hom Sack
Verbose and not very useful. The 15 tables in the book are all you need to read. And even then, the information is marginal. However, there are some interesting history about Harvard. But on the whole, don't waste your time on this 512 page book. I'm sure there are better ones out there.
I loved this book! I thought it was a great comparison to show what the differences were between different schools. Because it was a case study between two institutions, it seemed a little limiting, but the references cited and referred to will be helpful for further study. I enjoyed it.
Rachel Cheeseman
This book is very long and meticulously researched, and it's actually quite exciting to read. You have to be a higher education nerd to really appreciate it, but I would say that this book is the best of all the books I've read about the future of higher education.

Interesting read. Many concepts I've heard from various speeches. I've seen some of these concepts applied and they seem to work better than the status quo.
Deep thinking and powerful ideas. However, there's a lot about the history of Harvard and BYU-Idaho, that makes the text a bit slow going at times.
Should have been a journal article, not a book. More than I wanted to know about both college histories.
David Sam
While it is focused on the American university, there is much here that applies to community colleges
Interesting history of Harvard University. Good examples of innovations, but from too few places.
I found this book much more interesting than I thought it would be. I'm glad I read it.
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Clayton M. Christensen is the Robert and Jane Cizik Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, with a joint appointment in the Technology & Operations Management and General Management faculty groups. He is best known for his study of innovation in commercial enterprises. His first book, The Innovator's Dilemma, articulated his theory of disruptive technology.

More about Clayton M. Christensen...
The Innovator's Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business How Will You Measure Your Life? The Innovator's Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth Seeing What's Next: Using the Theories of Innovation to Predict Industry Change The Power of Everyday Missionaries

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