Adj. 1.extraordinary 10 - beyond what is ordinary or usual; highly exceptional or remarkable;
incomparable or impressive; "an extraordinary achievement"; "extraordinary beauty"; "an
extraordinary capacity for work"; “producing an uncommon amount of value"; "he owed his
greatest learning to his teacher's uncommon character and ability”; “making a strong or vivid
impression”; “of high or superior quality or performance”. 11
As D.A. Blankenship says, "It is better to struggle pursuing what matters than to excel at achieving the
inconsequential." And what matters, to us, is the evolution of Education Past and Present, into what it
needs to be in the time yet to come.
Deprive Your People
Consider what happened in two parallel universes: 12
A crate of laptops (courtesy of One Laptop Per Child) was literally dumped into a remote Ethiopian
village—a village with an illiteracy rate of 100%.
The experiment was designed to evaluate the “innovative and adaptive power” of the children
that received the device. How would they get it to work? What would they use it for? How far
could they go?
Within weeks, with absolutely no instruction from the outside world, the children were playing
games, reciting their alphabet, and even taking pictures (after figuring out how to hack into the
disabled application embedded in the software).
It was, by all counts, a resounding success.
Universe #2: Halfway around the globe, in California, a similar occurrence (completely unplanned and
devastatingly unappreciated) was taking place.
Several hundred students had hacked into the disabled software on their school-provided iPads.
The adults, in this universe, deemed the hacking a “terrible thing.” In fact, a Principal told one of
the hackers (who happened to be the valedictorian of his soon-to-graduate-class) that because of
him “millions of dollars of technology had been compromised.” 13
The Police Chief went as far as to call the hacking a “runaway train” and suggested the school
district put a “hold on the iPad project.”
So, there you have it: In the Ethiopian universe, innovation was rewarded (it was something the ‘powers
that be’ had hoped for—perhaps expected). In the Californian universe, innovation was punished, feared,
and put on hold. Why? A member of my cohort says, “The thing about innovation is that it’s not really a
skill-set as much as it is a frame of mind.” Innovators are those people who just care more about
something and are confident enough to do things differently or, more importantly, to allow different
things to ‘just happen.’
The CEO of one of the most visionary and important Educational NGOs in Asia recommends the daily
existence of her colleagues as a path to innovation. She says, “Just get some really smart and committed