Individual Innovation Competence: A Systematic Review and Future Research Agenda

Laura-Maija Hero, Eila Lindfors, Vesa Taatila


Learning for innovation is a central element in European policymaking in developing higher education. Students often learn in project settings together with work organizations developing new solutions, products and services. These authentic creative, social and collaborative settings offer an attractive learning environment. The aim of this study was to determine the factors involved in individual innovation competence to be able to design, tutor and assess the pedagogical processes where authentic open-ended tasks are being solved transforming novel ideas into usable products or services. After defining the extraction criteria using a limited sample of articles, a bias-assessed systematic review was conducted of empirical research articles published in 2006–2015. Twenty-eight journal articles were ultimately included in the review. Despite the volume of academic literature in this field, comparatively few studies providing findings addressing the review objectives could be found. There was, however a reasonable weight of research evidence to support the result. The findings suggest that personal characteristics, such as flexibility, achievement orientation, motivation and engagement, self-esteem and self-management, future orientation, creative thinking skills, social skills, project management skills, and content knowledge and making skills can be needed in collaborative innovation process. These findings have implications for pedagogical innovation processes and for competency-based assessment. 

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International Journal of Higher Education
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