Permission to Innovate



When I worked at previous institution and was asked to create a program to educate juniors and seniors on career skills, my mind immediately went to the status quo; I began creating a resume writing workshop.  After about an hour of planning, I was uninspired and unsure how I was going to get students to come to the event.  In speaking to my supervisor, I was told that I could think big and the logistics would be worked out afterward.  This was the spark I needed to go from basic to innovative.  An alumni networking social was born at that moment that innovation was encouraged.  Juniors and seniors received physical invitations to attend a business dress social with recent alumni to learn from these alumni’s experiences.  A reception was built with a short formal portion where selected alumni were asked to share their experiences with the attendees before a forty-five minute social.  The event ended after two hours of networking and mingling.  All of this was possible because I had permission to innovate.


Innovation can be daunting and it may actually be the opposite of the status quo for some institutions.  The “look to the past to plan for the future” idea can create a taboo against being cutting edge.  The culture of “maybe next year” or “that is not how we do it here” can send a clear message that the status quo taboo is alive and strong.  How do you remove this taboo?  You get permission.    


Take a moment to think about who has given you permission the past to innovate.  Leave us comments and tell us what innovative projects you have tackled in the past or plan to accomplish this coming year.  We can help each other to inspire, engage, and innovate by sharing the small and large ways innovation has changed our work.  We here at TJA are committed to innovate with you.  You are never alone in creating new ideas!   Our new motto reflects our desire to innovate and inspire.


Change student affairs.  Engage students.  Change the world!


–          Michael J. Miragliotta – TJA Secretary – Rutgers University



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2 responses to “Permission to Innovate

  1. Kelly Hennessy

    Great post Michael, especially for the beginning of the academic year. As I prepare (both mentally and phsyically) for August/September, I look forward to hearing what new and innovative plans others are making for their campus. I will be sharing my idea soon!

  2. Inspiring post Michael! Being a new SA professional, sometimes it is hard to find someone who will “give you permission” to innovate. I work at a very small institution, where SA is even smaller. Being that I am currently a one woman show in Student Activities, I find it difficult to think big with all of the other tasks I have to complete. I find it super frustrating when you throw out some great new ideas, or ideas that I saw come full circle at my former institutions, and there is little interest. I find myself slumping in programing because I worry that my ‘out of the box’ idea will just be shot down. Anyone have any suggestions on how to handle a sticky situation without permission?

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