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The Next Phase: Why a Culture of Innovation is the Only Way Forward

By Tom Post, CEO, Sodexo Universities

When Executive Editors Scott D. Miller, Ph.D., and Marylouise Fennell, Ed.D., developed the theme for this year’s President to President series in early 2020, they could not have known just how relevant the topic, “Fostering a Culture of Innovation,” would become in the ensuing months. The global COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact every aspect of the college experience, requiring innovative ideas to overcome challenges and achieve institutional missions.

The foreword for President to President, written by National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities President Barbara K. Mistick, DM, introduces the idea of purpose-driven innovation and its broad application in higher education. California State University, Monterey Bay President Eduardo M. Ochoa, Ph.D., further explores this theme in the first chapter, which examines the value of leveraging institutional culture to foster innovation.

A commitment to innovation, like we have here at Sodexo, has never been more important than during this time of recovery, as campuses all over the country adjust to the realities of a post-pandemic world. To support our partners in navigating this complex and rapidly evolving situation, Sodexo developed Rise, a comprehensive plan to safely reopen campuses and welcome back students, faculty, and staff.

Rise is a systematic, carefully crafted approach fueled by an optimistic spirit and informed by unparalleled global expertise gained from managing operations in a variety of settings around the world. It brings together innovations from teams that have worked throughout the pandemic and identified ways to protect health and safety while continuing to serve our partners and communities. Rise is our roadmap for keeping everyone on campus safe and ensuring that students can safely engage in college life.

As we continue working through this unprecedented year, I am confident that a steadfast resolve and unwavering commitment to innovation will foster resiliency and ensure success. Even in the face of immense difficulties, together we can rise to the challenge and find unique new ways of improving quality of life each day—a mission that is more urgent than ever.

September 09, 2020

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