Driving innovation with impact

Dear faculty, staff and friends —

When I think about my new role as dean at Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, I find myself inspired by the spirit of innovation that animates our college and our university.

We are living in an extraordinarily creative and innovative moment in history. Often, in discourse about business and technology, innovation is associated with the idea of entrepreneurship. We hear a lot about entrepreneurs — people who have great ideas, take risks to start their own businesses, create new products or improve existing ones. We hear a lot about those who, through research or the development of a breakthrough technology or killer app, invent new products and services. 

Less widely discussed and celebrated, however, are the people who innovate from within institutions and systems — those who look outside their organizations, professions and industries to find something systemic that can be leveraged to push things forward in their own organizations and fields. These “intrapreneurs” are also people with great ideas. They, too, are willing to take risks to solve specific systemic, structural and cultural problems. They are developing new ways of doing things and pioneering breakthrough paradigms. These are people within an organization who ask “what if?” and foster a culture of creativity.

And the successful intrapreneurs, the ones who bring ideas into action, are successful not only because they bring ideas together but because they bring people together.

As I begin my journey as dean of Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, I recognize that this notion of intrapreneurship needs to be cultivated and promoted in education. Educators, wherever they are — schools, science and cultural institutions, youth-serving organizations, businesses and government agencies — need to change systems, structures, cultures and policies from within. I also understand that the role of Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College is to be a change agent — to provide the conceptual and theoretical underpinning for change. Our role is to systemically teach from a problem-based perspective and to promote a culture of professional creativity. 

Our college is nationally and internationally known for its innovative spirit. Our faculty, staff and partners are the future of education. By building a culture of intrapreneurship, we have the potential to dramatically change the way institutions and organizations work.

I look forward to working with all of our stakeholders to truly investigate every angle of the complex education challenges we face every day and bring perspectives to the table that are as effective as they are fresh and new. If all educators can become successful intrapreneurs by understanding both our history and future trends, we can see where our organizations and the field need to go.

By fostering and encouraging intrapreneurship in every organization that impacts and influences children and youth, our college can be a driving force. As a partnership of scholars, practitioners and innovators, we have the capacity to take on complex problems and design innovative solutions that advance our mission of improving education.

Carole G. Basile
Dean and Professor
Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College
Arizona State University