What Is Your School’s Innovation Strategy?

Full disclaimer. This post is an edited version of a previously written post of mine. Why the rewrite? I recently learned that rewriting old blog posts is a perfectly acceptable practice. Perhaps though it was spurred by this tweet from @Steve_Principal, which gives a glimpse into his plan for fostering innovation in his school:

Or maybe it was recently listening to this podcast with Elementary Principal, Dr. Brad Gustafson, in which he explains that he invests in innovation by making it a line item in his school budget.

Or maybe instead it was this recent tweet by Superintendent Glenn Robbins:

More specifically, this bit pulled out of the excerpt he posted from a book titled Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future:

…automation, 3-D printing and other technologies are rapidly creating a new job landscape that requires more creativity from everybody.

Or my motivation for revisiting an old blog post could even have come from the current political reality here in the United States. President Obama was an ‘innovation junkie’ and many wonder how sacred innovation will be to President-elect, Donald Trump.

Or maybe it was the fact that it was 3am when I began to rewrite this post made it seem like a good idea.

No matter what the reason was for my revisiting a previous post of mine, taking the time to develop an innovation strategy for your school district, or even your individual schools or classrooms, could be more important now than ever before. Innovation is not a trend or a buzzword, it is crucial for societal growth and the world our students will be entering into.

In his book, The Innovator’s Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity, George Couros defines the innovator’s mindset as:

…the belief that the abilities, intelligence, and talents are developed so that they lead to the creation of new and better ideas.

HOW will this be done? What is the plan?

Simply understanding the value of innovation is not enough. Innovation is unpredictable and by nature should be free-form. Attempts should not be made to put it in any sort of box, however, developing a strategy for how you will nurture and cultivate that innovation is critical. Without an explicit strategy, you end up with pockets of innovation, that although have value, sometimes are NOT valued and even flat out ignored.

The goal of having an innovation strategy is to build internal capacity and effectively leveraging that in order to lead to systemic changes, that ultimately all learners will benefit from.

Already doing this? Then put words to what it is you are doing so that you have something tangible to reflect on, to build on, and ultimately to improve on. And better yet, put it out there for all of us to learn and grow from.

So I ask you once again, what is your school’s innovation strategy?