Taking the leap: Exploring a theory of program innovation

Rebecca L Meyer, Nathan J. Meyer, Mary Jo Katras

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Innovation in Extension is often referred to as something tangible, such as a new resource or technique or new concepts. However, these things result from a program innovation process. In this article, we elaborate a grounded theory of how this process unfolds in the context of Extension. Through analysis of data from a national survey of practitioners from innovative programs, a panel presentation, and interviews with faculty at the University of Minnesota, we describe seven factors that influence what prompts innovation and how the process tends to unfold. We synthesize a capitals-based conceptual model and discuss implications for diagnosing and strengthening program innovation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number# 5FEA4
JournalJournal of Extension
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We extend our appreciation and thanks to Bob Bertsch from North Dakota State University for his cooperation in allowing us to survey individuals from his Working Differently in Extension podcast, to the individuals with Extension institutions who participated in our surveys and interviews, and to the intrepid group of our colleagues who took part in our first panel discussion.

Publisher Copyright:
© by Extension Journal, Inc.


  • Future of Extension
  • Innovation process
  • Organizational development
  • Program development
  • Program innovation


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