after all, a bad dream. His school wasn’t dead. Not yet. It was still alive. Overjoyed, he briskly
walked into the school, determined to…”
Please send me your thoughts on how this chapter ends. What did we do, as an educational community,
to remain relevant well into the future?
Be Innovation Friendly
Audit your school and/or team, even self, against this rubric of innovation.
On a scale of 1-5 how would you rate our school (our team, or yourself):
1 Being ‘absolutely not.’
5 Being ‘true beyond our wildest dreams.’
And 2, 3, and 4 falling somewhere in between.
1. We reflect, deeply.
2. We are focused (intensely focused) on our end customer—we know what they need and want. 19
3. We have structured high quality unstructured time—built in ‘white space’ time to diverge. 20
4. We have the opportunity to ‘play’ at what we are passionate about.
5. We have a great deal of autonomy, mastery, and purpose in our work. 21
6. Risk-taking is highly encouraged and well rewarded. It is expected and safe for us to stretch
ourselves in our thinking.
7. We know the members of our teams very well—we know who is good at what, and we are
committed to ensuring that we are working on the right things.
8. A powerful sense of ownership is fostered throughout the organization. Teams feel and act like
9. We enjoy telling the story of our innovation. We remind ourselves that the products and solutions
we have today are the innovations of the past.
10. We have articulated a healthy fear of the competition—our people believe that they need to be
ahead of our customer and competitor or else we die.
Keep it Simple
This might sound counter-intuitive, but the framework for systemic innovation today is very similar to the
way it has always been. Innovation is fostered and developed in pilots, labs, subsidiaries, or other
insulated organizational sub-units. Typically these initiatives start out directly as the result of competition,
a potential client, a regulatory challenge, or a perceived opportunity. They are characterized by:
Clearly defined objectives.
Small, multi-disciplinary, empowered teams (no passengers).
Short, medium, and long term deliverable schedules.