Yesterday, I wrote this post. It expressed my frustration over the challenge of being creative and innovative within a large education corporation. It is OK to complain, but after that, what do you do? First, the post:
The Death of Innovation
There is always a risk when a small group of people gather power onto themselves and try then to manage a large school district. They run the risk of closing out dissenting voices and become used to expecting no opposition to their opinions. Their perspectives become narrow and informed by a very narrow base. They lose sight of the risks and challenges that are so important to be on the cutting edge in the field.
I remember reading Steve Jobs‘ biography. For me I was most intrigued by the story of Applewithout Steve Jobs. The company lost sight of its mission and what made them cutting edge. They began a long slow decline that only stopped when Jobs returned and made radical changes to the corporation.
I believe that all large organizations need to be wary of this. Large organizations can become complacent and depend too much on the advice of a small group of people. Organizations begin to be motivated by self-preservation, locking out any ideas that do not fit within their narrow view of the world.
This is an extremely dangerous situation for an organization. It leads to the death of innovation within the board. When ideas like 1:1 implementation or innovative forms of fundraising are discouraged you have to wonder what other good ideas are dying around the board table.
I am not sure how to fix a difficult decline in the ability of an organization to innovate, but I do think an organization has to learn again how to take risks and how to accept and welcome dissenting voices. It has to learn to take away the fear of stepping up and offering something new that might not fit into their corporate vision.
I am sure this is a common problem, many organizations face this. When it is an educational organization it is imperative that something be done. Our primary job is the education of children. We can’t be effective and innovative in a culture that discourages change.