Defining innovation: University of Maryland Baltimore County's Freeman Hrabowski

October 25, 2021

Ask a dozen executives to define innovation, and you’ll likely hear 12 different answers. Become aims to answer this question. This annual research, sponsored by Mastercard and based on the Harvard Business Review Analytic Services’ Business Innovators Index, provides actionable insights and roadmaps needed to spark innovation, informed by research and insights from business leaders across continents and industries.

This month, we hear from Freeman Hrabowski, who has served as president of the University of Maryland Baltimore County since 1992, and whose research and publications focus on science and math education with a special emphasis on minority participation and performance. In 2012,  Hrabowski was named chair of the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans by President Barack Obama.

The pandemic, he says, has instilled in his leaders a greater flexibility and desire to experiment — for example, using data analytics to better understand what students, faculty, staff and alumni are experiencing, so his team could better support and build community.

“Leaders are hopeful. They know how to inspire people, to know we can be better than we thought we can be,” he says. “You can never stop learning and asking questions and trying different approaches and believing that it can be done. So we say every day on our campus, ‘Keep hope alive.’”

Learn more about Become and what traits the most innovative companies share here.

Photo credit: Marlayna Demond/UMBC