The COVID pandemic has and continues to affect us all. It is the all-encompassing catastrophe that has forced us to face uncertainty and question our values and face our challenges in every aspect of society, including academia. It has also been the commonality that binds us all together, our shared experience in an age of uncertainty. For Polytechnics overall, it has also been a call-to-action and has clearly demonstrated our ability to innovate, adapt and overcome. Whether it has been the transitioning to an online, remote workforce or the accelerated use of new technological advances in education, Polytechnics have embraced these challenges and pivoted to meet the needs of students, faculty and industry. As such, Polytechnics have continued to emerge, now well positioned to prepare Canada for a prosperous future and growth through insights learned during the pandemic and innovative new educational program offerings and formats.
This paper discusses the critically important role of innovation leadership in Polytechnics beyond COVID. Starting with an example of innovation, I will introduce the new interdisciplinary Centre for Digital Transformation (C4DT) at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. This centre brings people together from across various distinct communities of practise and expertise to confront complex modern challenges through a process of communication, collaboration and sensemaking. Then merging significant literature review, I will examine recent success stories and practise transformations that shine light on Polytechnics innovation leadership role beyond COVID. Finally, I will examine the future of Polytechnics in an age of uncertainty and challenge readers to reflect upon what they have learned over the past year and consider the question, How can their own Polytechnics embrace these insights through sensemaking and transformation to embrace innovation leadership beyond COVID?
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