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CASE Summit18: The Key to Innovation

CASE Summit for Leaders in Advancement is an annual conference where senior-level higher education advancement professionals are able to come together and participate in discussions about the future of advancement. Keynote speakers and session leaders share their expertise and vision of the advancement field.

The conference honored 11 keynote speakers and had dozens of breakout sessions. While it would be nearly impossible to summarize the entirety of the experience, there was one talk that stuck out in our minds.

Innovation is Not Brain Surgery”

In this talk, Dr. Tina Seelig, Professor of the Practice in the Department of Management Science and Engineering (MS&E) at Stanford University describes how there are four cycles of the innovation cycle, but people often forget the first step: imagine. As a consequence, it is easy to fall into the same routine of using old tools and techniques without reframing what you do.

Dr. Seelig provided an interesting analogy to the audience. She asked, how many different solutions are there to 5 + 5 = ? We all know there is only one. However, how many solutions are there to ? + ? = 10? Infinite.

What does this mean for you? Is your development office falling into old ways of fundraising? Maybe it’s time to host a new fundraising event to attract a new demographic of donors. Maybe it’s time to maximize the potential and efficiency of your fundraising efforts and use a wealth screening software like DonorScape©. No matter what your new strategy is, it’s time to imagine the possibilities.

To learn more about Dr. Seelig’s work, we suggest reading her newest books, published by HarperCollins, that explore the process of bringing ideas to fruition. They include:

  • What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20 (2009)”
  • inGenius: A Crash Course on Creativity (2012)
  • Creativity Rules (September 2017.)


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