2009 Gdansk Annual conferences

Innovation in Learning Communities

What did you invent for tomorrow?


Innovation, learning and learning innovation in Europe

Europe’s growth potential needs to be enhanced for sure. Europe needs a strategic approach to boost its capacity for creativity, whilst establishing an environment where knowledge is successfully converted into innovative products and services. For a flexible, competitive and open economy, independent innovation as the main driver of development has been fully acknowledged.

The development of Europe’s population – its human capital –  is critical for the success of this strategy. The role of education and training as a determining factor in enhancing creativity, innovation performance and competitiveness is recognized in the concept of the “knowledge triangle”, comprising education, research and innovation. Without education as a core policy, innovation in Europe may remain unsupported.

Present education and training systems are however still inadequately equipped to face this challenge. The extent of innovative uses of technology is lower than had been hoped for: a new “innovation oriented” wave of policy making is urgently required. Substantial learning innovation is needed for which the knowledge base is now only fragmentary.

Developing creative, innovative skills demands the renewal of traditional teaching approaches, to be replaced by learner-focused models which support active involvement in the process of reflection and interpretation. An organisational culture supporting openness and creativity is a precondition for successful learning and innovation.

The birth of new knowledge and the process of its manifestation in this environment is being re-valorised. Pathways to novel solutions must be significantly shortened. In this process, Lifelong Learning and ICT are key boosters of change. Informal and non-formal learning helps shift the diffusion of innovation into every day life-practice. Supported by ICT, collaborative methods, exploratory learning, the social web, knowledge sharing and management occupy important positions.

At present modern practical strategies and communication channels are being created, and new businesses built, changing the conventional patterns. The innovation ecosystem seeks inventions, with strategic thinking and business value, enabled by technology.

Education vs. Innovation

What is the actual relation between innovation and education? Is innovation really a leading paradigm in our society? We often hear that education even kills innovation. And in reality, standardisation in big systems – nowadays a permanent process accompanying modernisation practice – may well contradict requirements for innovation. A critical relationship persists: original, creative ideas, more often than not, occur outside educational systems.

There are important related questions to answer:

  • How to empower innovation within the huge diversity of different learning situations and settings?
  • How is it possible to measure creativity and innovation in learning systems?
  • How can we evaluate learning results if traditional learning objectives are not the only ones to be measured?
  • How to measure collaborative learning efforts?
  • How to use existing and emerging technologies to create new value for learning?
  • What are the key drivers for competitiveness and innovation in learning?

The European Year

Communities of creativity and innovation are often not well connected, thus the European Year aims to bridge these worlds. Innovation is the successful realisation of new ideas; creativity is the sine qua non of innovation.

The objective of the European Year of Creativity and Innovation is to promote creativity for all as a driver for innovation and as a key factor for the development of personal, occupational, entrepreneurial and social competences through lifelong learning.

The First Five Years of EU25

Not so long ago though it is already half a decade since 2004, the European Union realised its most significant enlargement process. The EDEN conference will also address this theme, in the context of human resource development and learning systems innovation. We particularly encourage colleagues to join us from the new EU member countries!