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What schools can do to encourage innovation?

February 26, 2012

Promote Innovation Through Education, IStockPhoto.com

In a recent edition of Forbes, Holly Green wrote a piece, Anti-Innovation: 10 Proven Ways Not to Innovate.  I stumbled across the piece from a tweet by Guy Kawasaki at (click here).  Following his tweets leads me to a wealth of resources (@GuyKawasaki).

I really liked what I read in her piece and it got me to think about applying her 1o ideas to schools. So below is my table for how to translate Ms. Green’s 10 proven ways to discourage innovation into 10 practices that schools need to engage in to promote innovation in its teachers and students.

10 Ways Not to Innovate

by Holly Green

What should schools do to encourage innovation for faculty and students?

Stuck thinking Allow teachers and students to ask questions like: how can we change the way we think about school to improve learning?
We’ve always done it that way Allow teachers and students to create new routines, new traditions, and build new approaches to learning.
Playing not to lose Allow teachers and students to be at the cutting edge of what is vibrate and exciting in our society.
Customer discontent Allow the school to seek regular feedback from students, parents, and other stakeholders about whether the school is meeting the needs of ALL students?
The lone ranger approach Encourage teachers and students to create collaborative communities of learners that are networked inside and outside the school.  Promote teams while giving all learners time to reflect on what they are learning.
Failure is not an option Promote a school culture that embraces failure as fuel for innovation.  Allow teachers and students to fail, so long as they are willing to learn from their mistakes and grow.
Follow the leader mentality Encourage teachers and students to look beyond today.  Where do we want to be 5 or 10 years from now?  Promote a culture that supports independent thinkers who appreciate the value of education, “to lead out.”
Weak hires Bring people into the school community who think in unique and interesting ways.  Don’t hire teachers or admit students according to a prototype.  Hire for uniqueness and potential.
Lack of know how Don’t be afraid to redefine expectations for teachers and students to embrace the 21st Century skills we need to be connected learners in a global society.
Unrealistic expectations Don’t put all your eggs in one basket and push a big idea, try “soft innovation” that encourages teachers and students to be innovating or creating at all times.

What do you think about my 10 ideas?  Would you translate Holly’s 10 anti-innovation ideas into a different set of ideas applied to schools? Feedback is most appreciated.

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