How An Advanced Degree Will Help You Become A Better Innovator

Rachel Mackneer

Innovation is a key driver of the American economy. Without a risk-taking, entrepreneurial approach to business, much of what has made the country’s economy flourish would not work as well as it does. An advanced degree can help you become a better innovator.

Universities play a key role in this. Unlike public K-12 education, universities have much more leeway to innovate in how they approach education. This allows for degree programs that can focus on producing graduates who are prepared for leadership roles that require an innovator’s spirit and approach to challenges.

Student Outcomes in Innovation Degree Programs

Much of K-12 public education does not focus on the skills and knowledge needed to foster innovation. More emphasis is put on standardized test scores and meeting high school graduation rates. That can change at the university level, depending on what degree program students choose. But while students can focus on a specialty when earning a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree program in innovation provides the best opportunity on what drives innovation.

The idea is not only to foster an innovative spirit in students, but also to give them the tools needed to create a culture of innovation in workplaces they oversee. Graduates from these programs are prepared for leadership positions – but also uniquely able to become a driving force for innovation in their industry.

How do they do that? The graduate program from Concordia University-Chicago teaches students skills such as:

  • How an organization’s ethics and values drive innovation
  • The social responsibility of organizations
  • A global perspective that promotes inclusiveness
  • The skills needed to interpret financial statements for business diagnostics
  • The ability to rapidly design and develop solutions that deliver a unique value proposition
  • Skills in using social media to engage consumers
  • Integrating ethical frameworks into business decisions and reducing risk and liability.

Why learn these skills? Because innovation has always provided the fuel for the engine that powers the American economy.

The Need For Innovators

By its very nature, the United States is and always has been a hotbed of innovation. That’s because of several reasons, according to U.S. News and World Report:

  • The First Amendment protections for free speech
  • A culture that encourages, and rewards, risk-taking
  • Attracting the brightest minds from around the world
  • Public policies that favor entrepreneurs
  • Educational programs that encourage innovation

The Concordia University Chicago program falls into the latter. Students learn to be agents of change. They are taught to practice creative thinking and foster it in others. They learn the skills that lead to innovation in the use of data and digital technology.

That’s important because innovation starts with leadership. As McKinsey & Co. states, “Innovation is critical to growth, particularly as the speed of business cycles continues to increase.”

However, they also report that most companies feel they are behind on innovation. Only 6% of executives from around the world reported that they feel satisfied with innovation performance.

Leaders clearly are needed in this critical area. For those who want to work on the cutting-edge of business – or start their own company – earning a master’s in innovation and entrepreneurship is a key step that can take them closer to achieving their professional goals.

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