I am working through George Couros’ new book, The Innovator’s Mindset. It is a great read and it needs to be digested slowly. In the first chapter of the book, George writes about what innovation is and isn’t.
This is extremely important. Innovation is the new buzzword in education. Just saying that we are being innovative doesn’t make it so. We all know innovative teachers and administrators, but as George points out, having pockets of innovation is not enough, we need to be able to innovate as a system (pg 18).
Innovation according to George has to do with creating a mindset that leads to something new and better. Making change just for the sake of change is nowhere good enough.
Richard Rohr has a wonderful quote that has meant a great deal to me. He says, “We do not think ourselves into new ways of living, we live ourselves into new ways of thinking.” (Simplicity: the art of living, Crossroad, 1991) What I take from this chapter, is that for true innovation to take place, we really need to start thinking differently. We don’t need to change the whole structure of education, but we need to constantly evolve to make things better for student learning (Pg 21).
What a liberating idea! To be innovative we do not need to reinvent ourselves, but we must live our way into new ways of thinking. Technology can be a part of this new thinking, but it is not an end in itself, especially if it does not produce results that benefit the student.
What does this mean for our school? If we are to be truly innovative, we need to constantly look at the ways we are teaching and how we offer new opportunities for our students to grow.
Staying still is simply not an option, not if we are to assume an innovation mindset.