AI tools aid innovation

As artificial intelligence challenges the future of traditional jobs, education and even the established knowledge and creative industries, Flinders University’s progressive Innovation and Enterprise (INNO) course is addressing such sweeping change.

INNO subjects are “harnessing and exploring” the capabilities of AI tools such as ChatGPT and DALL.E2 to gain insights into design thinking, entrepreneurial ideas, new perspectives on learning and even find solutions to major problems facing the world.

Flinders University Innovation and Enterprise topic leader Bert Verhoeven.

Bert Verhoeven, Senior Lecturer in Business (Innovation & Enterprise), says students are learning how to ethically leverage AI as a learning tool (use when appropriate with references and evidence) to tackle complex problems and devise innovative solutions aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

“As early adopters, we are keen to explore its potential not add it as a novel addition. We are embracing the integration of Generative AI into our Innovation and Enterprise (I&E) course to prepare for the new era of work,” says Mr Verhoeven, who has outlined his pioneering approach to integrate AI as a learning tool in I&E education in three articles published by the London School of Economics ‘Impact’ blog.

In one of articles, ‘Can AI help us discover meaningful work‘, Mr Verhoeven and colleague Dr Vishal Rana call on leaders and managers to embrace innovation while reimagining tasks and roles. They outline ways to divide work into components in which AI bolsters efficiency and quality, with elements that amplify innovative value through genuine, purposeful human interactions.

How to use generative AI creatively in Higher Education and Knowledge work and the role of higher education in an AI era were also published, backed by Flinders University’s leading AI policy.

The progressive Flinders coursework has been endorsed by Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Students Professor Romy Lawson, who is Chair of the Education Quality Committee, and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Teaching Innovation) Professor Michelle Picard.

Lecturer in Innovation Dr Vishal Rana

“Incorporating Large Language Models into our curriculum has been a game-changer. We’ve seen first hand how this technology can enhance experiential learning, foster student engagement and facilitate collaboration,” says former Lecturer in Innovation Dr Rana, who helped establish the course and now teaches at Griffith University.

“It has been instrumental in bolstering design research and the transfer of knowledge skills, sparking creative and critical thinking, and refining reflection skills.

“It is an invaluable tool in honing students’ writing and presentation tone and style skills.

“Reflecting on our experience and the invaluable feedback from our students, we’ve gleaned insights on how higher education can evolve to cater to the needs of knowledge workers in the AI era.”

Mr Verhoeven believes that knowledge work in the AI era will be transformed from creators, managers and administrators to co-creators, editors and facilitators. “It will enable higher education to shift its focus from mere knowledge retention to fostering a broader and more robust skill set,” he says.

“In this exciting era of AI, we’re not just teaching students to adapt to the future. We’re empowering them to shape it and their roles in it.”

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