Creative Education
2011. Vol. 2, No. 1, 56-62
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. DOI:10.4236/ce.2011.21008
Innovation Pedagogy for Universities of Applied Sciences
Juha Kettunen
Turku University of Applied Sciences, Turku, Finland
Received January 4th, 2011; revised February 17th, 2011; accepted February 21st, 2011.
This study presents the concept of innovation pedagogy, which is a pedagogical approach developed for the
universities of applied sciences. Innovation pedagogy emphasises efficient learning and the institution’s external
impact on regional development. It is based on customer-oriented and multi-field needs of working life; inte-
grates applied research and development and entrepreneurship with education in a flexible way; and promotes
regional and international networking. This approach is clearly wider than the traditional individual-based
learning, because it emphasises group-based and networked learning to promote innovations in working li fe.
Keywords: Strategy Process, Innovation, Pedagogy, Learning, Higher Education
The Finnish higher education sectors include traditional sci-
ence oriented universities and universities of applied sciences.
The dual model of these sectors means that the objectives of
respective institutions differ. The main division of activities is
that traditional science-oriented universities create new knowl-
edge based on basic research, while the universities of applied
sciences follow scientific or artistic development, apply
knowledge, and produce skills so that the institution will be
useful and add value for customers. Taking the wider perspec-
tive, creating new knowledge is insufficient for universities of
applied sciences.
Universities of applied sciences were established to support
regional development. Today, they are part of a wider commu-
nity that includes social norms and cultural practices. Socio-
cultural theory, therefore, and the constructiv ist view of learning
developed by Vygotsky (1978) and Piaget (2001) are natural
starting points for pedagogical development. These institutions
aim not only to deliver knowledge, but also develop multi-field,
collaborative deep learning (Ramsden, Beswick & Bowden,
1989; Puntambekar, 2006) in entrepreneurship and applied
research and development to promote innovations (Tidd, Bes-
sant & Pavitt, 2001).
Recent literature and policy have both documented that an
upsurge in creativity and education has taken place in European,
American, Australian, and East Asian counties (Shaheen, 2010).
Education policy aims to enable learners to think creatively and
critically to solve problems. It should give learners the oppor-
tunity to become innovative and enterprising such that educa-
tion has the real effect on society. The most dominant argument
for education policy is economic achievement. Indeed, educa-
tion is crucial in assisting nations attain higher employment,
economic growth, and social welfare.
Strategic flexibility is the key competence to capture external
infor mation and plan proacti ve strategies for promoting innova-
tions and taking action to respond to a changing environment
(Sanchez, 2002). In June 2008 the Finnish Ministry of Employ-
ment and the Economy published its innovation strategy, which
focuses on innovation policy and the changes and reforms nec-
essary for its implementation. Another important national start-
ing point was the internationalisation strategy prepared by the
Ministry of Education and Culture. The strategic plan of the City
of Turku and the Regional Programme for the Regional Council
for Southwest Finland were taken into account, because the
strategic plan must be aligned also with essential regional net-
work strategies and outlines. The strategy process of the Turku
University of Applied Sciences (TUAS) started in January 2009
with environmental scanning and defined the profile of the in-
stitution as innovation pedagogy.
The Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture has defined
and stipulated general outlines and objectives for higher educa-
tion institutions for 2010-2012. One of the objectives is that
higher education institutions should be the basis of the Finnish
innovation system. The higher education sectors should thus
increase their collaboration with working life and other parties
within the innovation system. In this context, innovations can
be classified as incremental or radical (Bessant, Lamming,
Noke & Phillips, 2005).
The purpose of this study is to present the concept of innova-
tion pedagogy, which was developed at the TUAS. Peda-
gogical development should be an essential element in the stra-
tegic plan and quality assurance of the higher education institu-
tion. While pedagogy should take into account the main ele-
ments of education, it should also provide a flexible framework
that can be used in numerous universities of applied sciences.
In this way, they can operate as regional knowledge and inno-
vation centres and create value for their customers.
Multi-field and networked collaboration responds to the de-
velopment needs of the region. Active institutions respond to
development needs with project teams of applied research and
development, which combine complementary knowledge of
team members (Hautala, Kantola & Kettunen, 2008). The uni-
versities of applied sciences, which want to meet multi-field
customer needs, develop their processes and structures to sup-
port multi-field teams of research and development.
This study is organised as follows. Section 2 describes the
development of innovation pedagogy. It explains the context,
pedagogical roots and elements of innovation pedagogy. Sec-
tion 3 introduces the main concepts of innovations and presents
examples based on multi-field, group-based and networked
learning which take place in applied research and development.
Finally, the results of the study are discussed and summarised
in the concluding section.
Development of Innovation Pedagogy
The first traditional science university in Finland was estab-
lished in 1640, but the universities of applied sciences were
established in the beginning of the early 1990s. The pedagogi-
cal approaches developed for traditional universities, however,
were not suitable for universities of applied sciences. In par-
ticular, introducing applied research and development spurred
the development of pedagogical approaches that could support
innovations and increase the external impact of the institution
on its region. Clearly, the need emerged to develop pedagogy
for universities of applied sciences.
The activities of public sector organisations have been stipu-
lated in detail in the Act of the Universities of Applied Sciences.
The internal processes and structures of public organisations
should be planned based on this legislation. The Act was
changed in 2003 when applied research and development was
added to the statutory tasks of the universities of applied sci-
ences. The tasks of Finnish universities of applied sciences
according to the Act are as follows:
The universities of applied sciences educate experts for
working life and its development needs based on scientific and
artistic background, support the professional growth of students
and carry out applied research and development, which serve
education, support regional development, and take into account
regional economic life.
The universities of applied sciences provid e adult education to
keep the knowledge of working life up-to-date.
The universities of applied sciences provide teacher training
as stipulated.
The Act clearly refers to regional development and economic
life. Universities of applied scien ces, therefo re, should be able to
contribute to various stakeholders and networks of working life.
On the other hand, applied research and development should
serve education. This stipulation has led to integrating of re-
search and development with education, which means that new
learning environments are created to provide students with
possibilities to participate in applied research and development.
Strategic planning produces strategic objectives and themes
for a better future (Kettunen, 2004, 2006, 2008). During the
strategy process at the TUAS, it became evident that the institu-
tion should develop and describe its pedagogical approaches to
learning. The strategic plan and the pedagogical approach
should be based on national education policy, regional strategic
outlines, and the strengths of the institution. The concept of
innovation pedagogy emerged and became written down as a
result of the dialogue during the strategy process.
Pedagogical Root s
The pedagogical roots of innovation pedagogy can be found
in the pragmatism of John Dewey (1925); learning from ex-
perience (Dreyfus & Dreyfus, 1986); the activity theory
(Engeström, 1995; Kuula, 1999); inquiry learning (Hakkarainen,
Lonka & Lipponen, 1999); learning by developing (Raij, 2007;
Kallioinen, 2008); and connectivism (Siemens, 2005). Prag-
matic and experience-based learning, which are tied to inquiry
and development in regional working life and networks, are
essential elements of innovation pedagogy. Stauffacher, Walter,
Lang, Wiek and Scholz (2006) pointed out that the student
projects are more demanding than intramural learning because
the projects should combine the objectives of teachers, students,
and working life.
Research implies that individual learning is superior to
group-based learning for relatively simple recall tasks, which
favours lecturing and examinations. Individual learning takes
place in lecture halls, where the teacher typically lectures and
students listen, take notes and examinations, and write theses.
Students typically sit passively as instructors explain and dem-
onstrate concepts. The responsibility of learners in learning and
the student ownership of the learning process are meagre.
While lectures are necessary to give background knowledge,
individual learning can be developed into a more meaningful
Individual learning is not superior when compared to
group-based learning for relatively complex problem-solving
tasks. A possible explanation for this can be found in cognitive
load theory (Paas, Renkl, & Sweller, 2003, 2004). The cogni-
tive load theory assumes that individuals cannot process an
unlimited number of information elements in their working
memory. A group, however, has more available processing
capacity than an individual for tasks in which the relevant in-
formation must be shared among working memories so that
learning can begin.
A higher education institution is not an isolated system; in-
stead it is part of a wider community with associated social
norms and cultural practices. Higher education includes actions
that occur, because they are part of a particular socio-cultural
setting. Socio-cultural theory and the constructivist view of
learning have become increasingly popular to explain learning
and development (Vygotsky, 1978; Piaget, 2001). Lave and
Wenger (1991) used the term “community of practice” to en-
compass the social and cultural customs of a particular commu-
nity and its ways of operating.
Collaborative learning is both an individual-centred and
group-based approach build on constructivism and social learn-
ing theories that assume learning emerges as learners interact
(Vygotsky, 1978). Group-based learning requires learners to
work together to maximise achievements and accomplish a
learning goal (Puntambekar, 2006). Expert assistance or scaf-
folding can lead learners to create innovations that require com-
plex problem-solving skills and adapting to environmental fac-
Recent research has identified several cases where group-
based learning m ay be th e pr eferred option. Kirschner, Paas, and
Kirschner (2009) indentified that learning task complexity is an
important factor that helps teachers select activities appropriate
for group-based learning. Group-based learning is a good option
when a multidisciplinary approach or diversity of expertise is
needed to solve a problem or carry out a task (Kirschner, Beers,
Boshuizen & Gijselaers, 2008). Other cases appropriate for
group-based learning include argumentative learning (Munneke,
Andriessen, Kanselaar & Kirschner, 2007) or when reflection
(King, 2007), negotiation (Beers, Boshuizen & Kirschner, 2007)
or debating are being taught (Leitão, 2000; Veerman, Andriessen
& Kanselaar, 2000). Different groups of students can use dif-
ferent creative ways to solve the problems (Barrow, 2010).
Collaborative learning takes place when people interacting
locally with one another and their environment use swarm in-
telligence. The concept of swarm intelligence was originally
inspired by observing of various natural phenomena such as
birds flocking or the insects swarmings (Bonabeau & Meyer,
2001; Kennedy, Eberhart & Shi, 2001). Swarm intelligence has
been demonstrated as effective when solving complex problems
such as scheduling, structural optimisation, multi-objective
problems, and e-learning through distributed and emergent
behaviour (Huang & Liu, 2009).
The literature on networked learning goes back, at minimum,
to Mason and Kaye (1990). Networked learning can be sup-
ported by different technologies such as computer communica-
tions software, which brings learners together in a web of in-
teraction and links to resources (Fowell & Levy, 1995;
Hammond, 1997). Networked learning offers the opportunity for
students to articulate their own experiences and share them with
other learners. The sharing of knowledge and ideas is central to
this approach.
Networked learning is not, however, confined to the using
information and communication technology. Advanced learning
takes place when learners are well-connected to their environ-
ment and the roles and expectations among members of an
advanced networked learning community are aligned. A net-
worked learning community is particularly relevant in profes-
sional education, where the idea of reflecting on personal
knowledge and professional know-how is particularly important.
Individual, group-based, and networked learning reflect the
levels of surface and deep learning proposed by Ramsden,
Beswick, and Bowden (1989). The core is individual learning,
which is typically represented in traditional science universities,
where the students listen to lectures and memorise them for
examinations. This kind of individual-centred learning can
easily be considered surface learning. Surface learning focuses
on the signs and unrelated parts of tasks. Information for as-
sessment is simply memorised. Facts and concepts are associ-
ated unreflectively and principles are not distinguished from
examples. The task of learning is treated as an external imposi-
tion and emphasis is external to the demands of the assessment.
Learning in professional higher education is typically
group-based learning, which falls closer to the concept of deep
learning. The emphasis of deep learning is internal and ema-
nates from within the student. The focus of learning is in prac-
tical things and relates theoretical ideas to everyday experience.
The learning relates and distinguishes evidence and argument.
Group-based learning relates the new knowledge to previous
courses and knowledge and organises and structures the content
into a coherent whole.
The original metaphor of surface and learning introduces a
rather simplistic dichotomy and conveys as such little about the
learning process. Bourner (2003) explores the nature of
reflective learning and advances the idea that the distinction
between surface and deep learning can be generalised to the
domain of reflective learning. Results by Cassidy (2006) re-
vealed a positive correlation between a deep approach to learn-
ing and self-assessment skill demonstrating the importance of
learning style. Bennet and Bennet (2008) use the terms of
surface, shallow and deep learning. At the surface level, the
focus is on facts, data, concepts and the information that can be
memorised and applied. At the shallow level, the focus is on
social interactions through, for example, conversations,
dialogues, debates, and the flow of ideas that emerges in
communities and teams. At the deep level, the focus is on the
learning from effortful practice and lived experience.
The pedagogical foundations support the argument that the
learning style of the universities of applied sciences should be
developed towards shallow and deep learning to include
group-based and networked learning. The purpose of the univer-
sities of applied sciences is to support regional development by
taking into account economic and working life. Freyens and
Martin (2007) emphasised that often necessary knowledge is
created in a social environment as a result of efficient and mul-
tidisciplinary activities. Networked learning also extends tradi-
tional collaborative learning to include electronic networks and
Figure 1 depicts individual, group-based, and networked
learning across the basic tasks of the universities of applied
sciences. The tasks of these institutions are described with
various dimensions, which include educating young people;
supporting professional growth; and conducting applied re-
search and development, artistic work, adult education and
teacher training. These tasks cross individual, group-based, and
networked learning.
Individual learning in lecture halls and examinations is
broadened to group-based learning, including entrepreneurship
training, applied research and development, and community
service. Networked learning includes activities in real working
environments such as internships. Networked learning also in-
cludes electronic networks and platforms. In addition, students
often participate in learning situations in which they collaborate
with students from other higher education institutions.
Elements of Innovation Pedagogy
The concept of innovation pedagogy is new, but it includes
all the important elements of higher education. Such elements
have been both implicit and underlying features of organisa-
tional culture for at least a decade at the TUAS. The new con-
cept was needed, however, because the old approaches to learn-
ing were not suitable for the institution. Indeed, the TUAS
wanted to increase its external impact on the region and promote
innovations. Taking into account the mission of universities of
applied sciences to support regional development, educational
curriculum should be developed to reach out to and engage with
development activities in the region.
The statement of innovation pedagogy is expressed in the
strategic plan of the TUAS as follows:
“Entrepreneurship, applied research and development, in-
ternalisation are integrated with education: Innovation peda-
gogy based on the customer-oriented and multi-field operation
of the TUAS supports the innovations utilised in the workplaces.
The flexible structures of curricula and alternative forms of
study enable the integration of entrepreneurship, applied re-
search and development and community service with educa-
The underlying elements of innovation pedagogy have been
derived from the Act of the Universities of Applied Sciences,
which describes applied research and development, the devel-
opment of education, entrepreneurship training, and interna-
Adul t educationSupporting pr ofession al grow th
Figure 1.
Individual, group-based , and networked learning.
tionalisation. The multi-field operation is intrinsic to the inter-
nal processes and structures of the TUAS. The underlying ele-
ments of innovation pedagogy are as follows:
1) Multi-field operation. The needs of customers do not
typically follow a single subject, a degree programme, or a
particular field of study. Innovations can be created as the result
of different parties and organisational units in networked pro-
jects. The multi-field faculties of the universities of applied
sciences can promote applied research and development.
2) Applied research and development. Research and devel-
opment projects are integrated with education utilising regional
knowledge and innovation networks. The results of research
and development are evaluated not only through publications,
but also based on how they add value for customers.
3) Flexible curricula. Educational development is based on
the strategic outlines of innovation pedagogy and quality as-
surance, which ensure strategic objectives are achieved. The
flexible curricula should also enable entrepreneurial and inter-
national activities.
4) Entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship and community ser-
vice are promoted by integrating them into education, which
responds to the needs of working life. Entrepreneurship is sup-
ported by flexible curricula enabling the path of entrepreneur-
ship studies during the degree programme. The objective of
entrepreneurship training is that students acquire capabilities to
start their own business.
5) Internationalisation. Each degree programme within the
institution offers international courses. The objective of studies
is to provide students with capabilities for activities in interna-
tional networks and business.
The profile of the TUAS was defined in the strategy process
for 2009-2010 as innovation pedagogy based on multi-field
activities, where entrepreneurship, applied research and devel-
opment, and internationalisation combine with education to
promote innovations in the working places of Southwest
Finland. The profile is specified with focal areas of knowledge.
Promoting Innovations
The universities of applied sciences have a mandate to en-
gage in applied research and development, even though they
have limited funding for such activities. An innovative solution
is that research and development is integrated with higher edu-
cation so that students can participate in projects and learn in
new learning environments. The Ministry of Education and
Culture encourages this policy; indeed, its indicators for per-
formance-based funding include integrating research and de-
velopment with education.
The research and development programmes of the TUAS are
based on the following focal areas of the faculties:
applied information and communication technolo gy
biocompetence and business know-how
expertise in health care and medication
lifelong well-being services
marine environment and construction expertise
working life based approaches to creative arts.
The institution and faculties allocate financial resources to
these focal areas. In addition, external funding is sought to sup-
plement internal funding.
Innovations can be classified to incremental and radical
(Tidd, Bessant & Pavitt, 2001; Bessant, Lamming, Noke &
Phillips, 2005). Incremental innovations are those in which a
new feature is added to existing products, services, or processes
using existing knowledge. The quality culture, which is based
on continuous improvement supports, incremental innovations.
Radical innovations are those in which a new product, service,
or process is developed. Often radical innovations are based on
explorative research. Networked operations and the combina-
tion of different competencies exist in creating innovations.
Universities of applied sciences are designed to develop their
regions and promote innovations of working life. This interpre-
tation is given as well by the Organisation for Economic
Co-operation and Development (OECD) (2007), which stated
that innovation is an extramural practice that institutions can
promote with its activities. Organisational innovations can also
occur within higher education institutions, but the main empha-
sis is on external impact. Innovations of working life are im-
portant, because they are considered as having a prominent
effect on economic achievement.
Applied research and development of the universities of ap-
plied sciences should be integrated with education so that the
institutions could respond to the development needs of their
regions. The projects combine the knowledge of the entire
value chain including basic research, applied research and de-
velopment and business. In the next section, some typical ex-
amples are shown how the university of applied sciences can
successfully promote regional development with innovations in
group-based and networked learning.
Example 1. Broadcasting for the 21stcentury (B21C)
The Digital Video Broadcasting - Terrestrial (DVB-T) tele-
vision transmission system has delivered wireless, digital TV
services since its inception in 1997 in almost every continent.
The emergence of new consumer applications such as mobile
TV and the convergence of various wireless technologies are
leading the DVB community to evaluate both the suitability of
the existing DVB-T system to accommodate emerging situa-
tions and consider the benefits that new technologies could
bring to DVB-T.
One of the challenges of converting from analogue to digital
broadcasting is to maintain broad geographical coverage for
both stationary and nomadic terminals, including handheld
terminals, and provide reliable service for mobile receivers in
automotive and train applications. The present Digital Video
Broadcasting - Handled (DVB-H) system represents the indus-
try’s first attempt to accommodate consumer demands for
broadcasts to a handheld terminal. It has been proposed that by
adopting both DVB-H and satellite broadcasting technologies it
should be possible to deliver a high online operating system for
all applications and terminals, in both urban and rural areas, to
meet consumer requirements. This project primarily produces
an incremental product innovation, because it adds a new tech-
nological feature to existing consumer applications, but it also
extends the existing services to nomadic terminals.
The B21C project aims to support the standardisation process
of the extended DVB transmission systems within the rapidly
evolving broadcasting landscape. Developing and standardising
extended DVB systems will require extensive work in the areas
of channel modelling, simulation, laboratory testing, and field
trials. The B21C project has clear the objective to sustain evo-
lution of DVB as demanded by emerging applications.
The B21C is a European project with 35 partners from Finland,
Sweden, Germany, France, Spain, England, Hungary, and Italy.
The Finnish participants include Nokia, Digita, Elektrobit, the
University of Turku, the Tampere University of Technology, and
the Turku Universit y of Applie d Scien ces. The project is a Celtic
initiative belonging to the EUREKA Cluster and is dedicated to
end-to-end telecommunication solutions. Celtic initiates and
runs both privately and publicly funded information and tele-
communications research and dev elopment projects. The project
combines the knowledge of the entire value chain including
higher education and research, software development, compo-
nent manufacturers, and operators. Th e project provides stud ents
with the possibilities to t ake adva ntage of the wo rking life , better
supervision and international learning environment. The stu-
dents can also apply their knowledge in practise which is not
possible in conventional lecture-based education.
Example 2. Promoting Environmental Management
Awareness: A Transatlantic Perspective
Awareness of environmental issues among students is a great
challenge, because pollution has long been recognised as a threat
to human health and ecosystems. Enhanced environmental
management is needed to take advantage of the increasing
number of business opportunities in the environmental industry.
To achieve these objectives, international cooperation and
curriculum development was started between European and
Canadian higher education institutions. The output of the project
can be classified as an incremental service innovation, because it
develops existing curricula.
The project helps students gain in-depth practical learning
and experience regarding European and Canadian approaches
and practices to environmental management. The project helps
the participating students shape the understanding of environ-
mental issues in both the public and private sectors. The overall
gain is to learn and experience the environmental policies, atti-
tudes, and practices of organizations in management operations.
Awareness of environmental problems helps students under-
stand environmental business practices from an international
perspective. The subject matter of this project covers the exper-
tise of business management, environmental technology, and
natural sciences. The combined approach offers students the
skills and competencies needed to manage environmental
strategies and operations in small- and medium-sized enter-
prises and the public sector. The curriculum development pro-
vides students with the opportunities to integrate the project
with education, and benefit from group-based and networked
learning in an international multi-field environment.
The project also promotes international exchanges among
students and faculty members in the partner institutions. The
European partners are the Turku University of Applied Sci-
ences, Institut Polytechniqua LaSalle Beauvais, and Universiteit
Van Amsterdam. The Canadian partners are Université de
Moncton, Mount Royal College, and Lauretian University.
On-going communication between partner institutions is occur-
ring throughout the project. The partners are committed to de-
veloping a web-based learning environment that exchange stu-
dents and other students at the home institutions can use. Both
mobile and non-mobile people can benefit from the outputs of
the project.
Example 3. Virtual Elderly Care Services on the
Baltic islands (VIRTU)
The VIRTU project uses the cross-border cooperation in de-
veloping joint solutions to common problems in the field of
social and health care services in archipelago areas. The ageing
population, long distances, and the lack of a qualified labour
force combined with limited budgets are challenges of that
sparsely populated archipelago areas of Finland and Estonia
face. VIRTU is a multidisciplinary project that combines the
knowledge of social and health care with information and
communication technology to solve these demographic prob-
lems. These issues are also common also in many other coun-
Developing processes of social and health care using modern
information and communication technology is necessary; oth-
erwise, such municipalities cannot provide the quality and at-
tainability of services with the available financial and human
resources. Hospital care, for example, is much more expensive
than care at home. From the elderly point of view, it is impor-
tant to maintain and improve the standard of living and support
healthy, safe, and socially rich living at home rather than re-
verting to hospitalisation.
The project creates a new, cost-efficient procedure based on
virtual technologies that benefits the elderly, their relatives,
municipalities, and health and social care professionals in the
archipelago. Students and professionals are encouraged to take
advantage of the technological innovations as a part of their
daily work. In addition, the project develops the service into a
profitable and transferable business concept. The output of the
project can be classified as a radical process innovation, be-
cause it creates a new process to meet the challenges of ageing
population. The project provides students with the opportunities
for group-based and networked learning in a multi-field and
cross-border environment. The learning style creates capabili-
ties for students to develop innovative well-being services for
elderly people.
The new process is created as a collaboration with the Novia
University of Applied Sciences, the Laurea University of Ap-
plied Sciences, the Åland University of Applied Sciences, the
municipalities of Sipoo, Eckerö, Naantali, and Saltvik from
Finland and Foundation Tuuru, Kuressaare Regional Social
Welfare Center representing the City of Kuressaare, Estonia
and Saaremaa Business Development Foundation representing
the rest of the Saaremaa municipalities, Estonia. The project is
funded by the Central Baltic Interreg Programme.
Teaching and learning within higher education has developed
markedly during the last few decades. Establishing the univer-
sities of applied sciences in Finland in the early 1990s was a
process in which a higher education institution was created
based on the knowledge of many diversified vocational schools.
Creating of a new sector of higher education started a move-
ment of pedagogical development toward multidisciplinary
education. Including applied research and development to sup-
port regional development in the Act of these institutions was a
remarkable change that led to integrating of applied research
and development, entrepreneurship, community service, and
international a ctivities with education.
These changes in higher education and its operational envi-
ronment have increased pressure to develop the pedagogical
approaches within the universities of applied sciences. This
study describes the emergence of innovation pedagogy, which
supports customer-oriented regional development and innova-
tions in working life. Innovation pedagogy was developed in
the strategy process of the TUAS. The approach integrates ap-
plied research and development and entrepreneurship with
flexible curricula to meet the multi-field customer needs in both
regional and international networks.
The students can apply their knowledge in group-based and
networked learning to promote regional development which is
not possible in conventional lecture-based education.
Innovations typically emerge in multidisciplinary and net-
worked collaboration among higher education institutions,
companies, and other organisations. Innovations may reflect
that organisations are adopting environmental changes, which
enforce experts to develop new products, services, and proc-
esses. On the other hand, innovations may require that partners
from the entire innovation chain participate in research and
development. The incremental or radical innovation of products,
services, and processes may be entwined with one another. For
example, new products may require the development of new
services. The universities of applied sciences have an important
role to promote innovations in group-based and networked
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