In the words of education expert Ted Dintersmith, recent trends in society and the workplace are making one thing clear: “If kids don’t come out of high school today being innovative, they will come out being unemployed.” What can you do as a teacher, administrator, or school leader to start bringing innovation to your campus? Here are five easy tips from SEED SPOT Co-Founder and CEO Courtney Klein:
Design Think Everything. Design thinking is an incredible process that takes you to the root cause or inspiration of an issue. A traditional approach to problem solving would look at a problem and ask, “how can I make this go away?” while a design thinking approach would ask “what are the root causes of this problem? What can I do to address these root causes so that the problem is addressed sustainably?” When implementing an idea or new approach, always actively ask questions, seek feedback, and continue to make iterations towards improvement.
Have any upcoming professional development trainings? Consider bringing in an expert in design thinking! Looking for the tools to do it yourself? Check out the resources offered by IDEO!
Embrace Failure. Robert Kennedy once said, “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” As any entrepreneur will tell you, people learn much more from failure than they do from success.
In an industry dominated by high stakes tests and performance reviews, it can be hard to think of failure as a good thing – but it is! In an era that increasingly demands innovation, schools must encourage staff and students alike to celebrate and learn from failure. Instead of pushing a student, teacher, or administrator to the side who tries something new that fails, praise them and encourage them to learn to grow from this experience.
Become a TED Talk Junkie. The tag line is “ideas worth spreading” for a reason! These short, inspirational videos raise and answer questions that can help you learn to approach issues in a way you never though possible before. SEED SPOT NEXT’s award winning social entrepreneurship curriculum integrates TED talks into several units – encourage your teachers to do the same!
Bring the Community In. It takes a village to raise a child – and the same is true for cultivating ideas! Any organization, whether a school or entrepreneurial venture, is only as strong as it’s network. Encourage parents and community leaders to engage with your school as mentors or guest lecturers.
Embrace Experiential Learning. Ask any five year old if they have a dream of what they want to do when they grow up, and chances are they have one. Embrace the five year old inside you and encourage your staff and students to do the same. Encourage those around you to learn by doing and through experience. Simply listening to the dreams of those at your school and encouraging them to follow those dreams can be a powerful motivator.