Kettering University Online Fosters Innovation

Kettering University Online Fosters Innovation blog header
Kettering University Online Fosters Innovation blog header
Kettering University Online Fosters Innovation blog header

Kettering University Online Fosters Innovation

Kettering University Online offers graduate degrees in Engineering Management, Operations Management, Lean Manufacturing, Supply Chain Management, and Business Administration. These distinct disciplines are unified by one philosophy: “Learn today - Use tomorrow.” We teach students to put theory into practice and solve challenges. Combining this philosophy with an educational environment designed to nurture innovation and support creative problem-solving sets Kettering University Online apart.

“Learn Today - Use Tomorrow”

In Kettering University Online courses, the content, regardless of discipline, is replete with discussion questions and assignments. They are designed to be progressive in cognitive complexity and germane to a complicated competitive marketplace. The pace of global business is fast and solutions need to be generated quickly. Students are more engaged in their learning and more motivated to try innovative solutions when they understand that they can bring those ideas to life within their organization. Students study theory with the aim of applying it to solve vexing real-world problems.

Following are some examples of student directives, in course content, that connect theory to organizational application:

  • Suggest one concrete way your organization might improve its application of the lean principle of reducing waste
  • Work with your group members to identify a gap in your organization’s financial performance and offer two solutions to close that gap
  • Explain the lean principles that will improve value to your organization’s stakeholders
  • Create a risk mitigation plan for your organization’s supply chain

Whether students are analyzing concurrent engineering concepts, describing an idea for innovation, synthesizing lean principles, or examining blue ocean ideas, they are doing so with real-world challenges in mind. Many students in Kettering University Online programs have had great success after approaching senior leadership in their organizations with a new idea to implement a creative solution to a problem as a result of what they learned in their courses. When this happens, the philosophy of “Learn Today - Use Tomorrow” is reinforced in a concrete and sustainable way, benefiting both student and employer.

Cultivating an Environment of Innovation

Kettering University opened its doors in 1919, as a night school known as the School of Automobile Trades. The school welcomed skilled and unskilled automobile factory workers who would soon learn how to become engineers, managers, and business executives. Innovation is the process of implementing new ideas or phasing out old ones and Kettering made innovation a high priority from the beginning.

Kettering University Online is committed to cultivating, nurturing, and celebrating innovation. This is evidenced by a host of initiatives:

  • Creation of the Innovation Center at Kettering University designed to grow high-tech entrepreneurship.
  • Development of the Kettering University GM Mobility Research Center designed to research, develop, and test new mobility and transportation technologies.
  • Establishment of the FIRST Robotics Center, the first center of its kind on any university campus to provide machining tools, software, and a practice field to design and build robots.

Innovation, much like creativity, does not happen in a vacuum. Innovation can only come to fruition if nurtured. Kettering University Online creates that environment:

  • Providing access to faculty who are industry experts with high-quality academic credentials.
  • Providing insight into market demands and the needs of global industries through relationships with over 500 corporate partners.
  • Offering an intense academic curriculum with the ability to manage it on your own time as not all innovations are thought of between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
  • Fostering a mindset that encourages critical thinking and collaboration.
  • Encouraging students to explore their passions as they develop best practices and high ethical standards.

When Thomas Edison was working on the electric light bulb, he had a completely different view of failure than his contemporaries. Legend has it that when asked about his failures with this particular invention, he noted that he did not fail, not even once. He just found 10,000 ways that did not work! Those who have a broader and more forgiving view of failure are the same types of people who thrive in programs offered by Kettering University Online, because Kettering understands that “failure is a necessary part of the innovation process because from failure comes learning, iteration, adaptation, and the building of new conceptual and physical models through an iterative learning process. Almost all innovations are the result of prior learning from failures” (Hess, 2012).

Promoting Creative Problem Solving

An additional key to creating an environment that supports innovation is to promote creative problem solving. More succinctly put, the reason it is called creative problem solving is because the solution is never obvious. The paradigm of creative problem solving includes tools, techniques, models, and ways of thinking. Kettering University Online promotes creative problem solving in all of its programs by empowering students to:

  • Value new and novel ideas.
  • Reframe problems as challenges.
  • Use techniques like brainstorming and mind mapping.
  • Illustrate the difference between convergent and divergent thinking.
  • Defer or suspend judgment so that all ideas have a chance to be heard.

So whether you enroll in a degree program for Engineering Management, Operations Management, Lean Manufacturing, Supply Chain Management, or Business Administration, you can be sure that you will sharpen your critical thinking skills, widen your perception of failure and innovation, and develop your creative problem solving skills. Lastly, and most importantly, you don't have to wait until you graduate to apply what you learn.

Hess, E. (2012, June 20). Creating an innovation culture: Accepting failure is necessary. Retrieved from