April 4, 2016

 “Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things.” – Theodore Levitt


Buzz words come and go, but daily practices are available to us always. What is focussed on, prioritised or made an emphasis in our individual or shared, personal or professional journeys creates ripples in our own and others lives. If you’ve seen the news lately here in Australia then ‘innovation’ would be one emphasis that politicians seem to be talking about at a macro level. In our 21st century evolving global village, with all its complexity, challenges and opportunities, innovation is being pitched as a key component to growth, competitiveness and adaptability. But what’s happening at the micro level to journey us there?


“Innovation is change that unlocks new value.” – Jamie Notter


Recently I’ve been in a school that has made innovation one of their school plan priorities. They’re trialling a few things that I’ve loved viewing and talking to students and teachers about. Like any change there seemed to be some initial resistance from those at the coal face to the idea of adding what could be extra work onto already bulging ‘to do’ lists. But after getting through this initial resistance most of the teaching staff who I encountered seemed to be energised and proud of how their ‘innovation corners’ in their classrooms had come together.


“Failure is an option here. If things are not failing , you are not innovating enough.” – Elon Musk


There were limited budgets. There was a timeframe that still included fulfilling all their other duties as teachers. There were classrooms full of students working in these spaces as the corners were evolving. Initial ideas expanded and developed as they came into reality. What I loved most though, as I spent time in various classrooms, was not two ‘innovation corners’ were the same. Each teacher owned this opportunity in their way.


“Everyone who’s ever taken a shower has had an idea. It’s the person who gets out of the shower, dries off and does something about it who makes a difference.” – Nolan Bushnell


Within this process the teachers put in a lot of thought about what would engage, support, challenge and/or inspire their particular cohort of students. For many the initial task took them out of their ‘at the coal face’ comfort zone. Issues of busyness, access to resources and comparison/judgement came rising to the surface. Once the task was started though a lot of these issues seemed to decrease. Now, most importantly, the students are enthusiastically using, experimenting with, taking ownership for and integrating these corners (and other innovations that this process has given birth to) into their daily practices. I can’t wait to see what happens next.


“The best ideas lose their owners and take on lives of their own. ” – N. Bushnell

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