From the Inside Flap
The language of crisis is nothing new in higher educationfor years critics have raised alarms about rising tuition, compromised access, out of control costs, and a host of other issues. Yet, though those issues are still part of the current crisis, it is not the same as past ones. For the first time, disruptive technologies are at work in higher education. For most of their histories, traditional universities and colleges have had no serious competition except from institutions with similar operating models. Now, though, there are disruptive competitors offering online degrees. Many of these institutions operate as for–profit entities, emphasizing marketable degrees for working adults. Traditional colleges and universities have valuable qualities and capacities that can offset those disruptors′ advantagesbut not for everyone who aspires to higher education, and not without real innovation. How can institutions of higher education think constructively and creatively about their response to impending disruption? Written by Clayton Christensen, the father of the theory of disruptive innovation, and his colleague, Henry J. Eyring, The Innovative University offers a nuanced and hopeful analysis of the traditional university and its DNA. It explores how and why universities must change to ensure future success. Throughout the book Christensen and Eyring show what it takes to apply Christensen′s acclaimed model of disruptive innovation to a higher education environment. Through a penetrating examination of the histories and current transformations of two very different universitiesHarvard and BYU–Idahoand using other illustrative examples of innovation in higher education, The Innovative University explores how universities can find innovative, less costly ways of performing their uniquely valuable functions and thereby save themselves from decline. The book explores the strategic choices and alternative ways in which traditional universities can change to ensure their ongoing economic vitality. To avoid the pitfalls of disruption and turn the scenario into a positive and productive one, universities must re–engineer their institutional DNA from the inside out. The Innovative University reveals how the traditional university survives by breaking with tradition, but thrives by building upon what it′s done best.
From the Back Cover
Praise for The Innovative University "This superbly documented book is a must read for anyone who cares about America′s universities and colleges and the invaluable role they play in our contemporary society. Henry Eyring and Clayton Christensen remind us of higher education′s history and thoughtfully examine the critical strands of its DNA that require ′re–engineering′ to insure survival and good health for our richly diverse system. Perhaps the best feature of this volume is that it goes beyond analysis to offer what is possible through models that are scalable, transferable, and responsive to the needs of learning, discovery, and engagement."Molly Corbett Broad, president, American Council on Education "The Innovative University offers fascinating new perspectives on very old questions: What defines a university′s identity? Are all universities cloned from the same ancestral stock? Are there still opportunities for diversity in American higher education, or is [a] single ideal to be approximated with greater or lesser fidelity? These questions resonate through the book′s narrative histories of an old university and a bold new one." Harry Lewis, Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science, Harvard University; author, Excellence Without a Soul "With changing demographics, new information technologies, and competition from for–profit enterprises challenging the hegemony of traditional colleges and universities, the discourse of crisis in American higher education abounds. In place of conventional nostrums that lead merely to incremental change, Henry Eyring and Clayton Christensen offer disruptive strategies that preserve what remains viable in the organizational genetic code while advancing differentiated models for institutional innovation. Yet further evidence that efforts to beat Berkeley and Harvard at their own game are futile." Michael M. Crow, president, Arizona State University "There is little doubt that American higher education is at a crossroads. Accessibility and affordability issues abound. Learning outcomes are increasingly unclear. Technology surfaces as a disruptive influence. Financial support is declining precipitously. Christensen and Eyring step into this challenging setting with a comprehensive look at two ends of the higher education universe. The answers their contrasts provide to those of us looking for ways to move forward are both compelling and challenging. A must read for all who care about the future of colleges and universities." Leonard A. Schlesinger, president, Babson College
About the Author
Clayton M. Christensen is the Robert and Jane Cizik Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School and the founder of Innosight Institute, a nonprofit think tank. He is the author of many books, including The Innovator′s Dilemma, and has applied his theory to K12 education in Disrupting Class and to medicine in The Innovator′s Prescription. Henry J. Eyring serves as an administrator at Brigham Young University–Idaho. He is a former strategy consultant at Cambridge, Massachusetts–based Monitor Company.