Undercover Innovation

As we approach our first online book club meeting this Tuesday night for The Innovator’s Mindset, it was fun to hear some of the chatter on Voxer (although I have to admit I am failing at it at this point-sorry folks). After listening to the conversation yesterday evening I had a variety of questions and thoughts swirling in my head. George posed a question to the group towards the end of the night about examples of innovation and it got me thinking.

I think often when we hear of innovation we think of the BIG stuff: the iPad, 3D Printers, robots, no desk classrooms of the world. I wonder though if more often than not what we experience is undercover innovation.

I received an email last night with some of the great work from our SWST team in Peel (check out an example here: Mindfulness @Forest Glen P.S.). As I was scanning through the Smores I had a bit of a flashback. It was probably 3 years ago that Shannon, Janet and myself were squished in a small room along with a few others around a table trying to explore how the tool could work for their practice. They were willing to take a risk and try something different, unconventional even. It was a new way to look at sharing a story. A way to bring images, sound, video and most importantly more student voice to a traditional university style paper report. Many are probably unaware of the story of how things got started for the SWST team or even the exploring, play and risk taking they had to engage in to get to the report to work in a new format. It was that willingness from the team to take a risk that resulted in other departments trying the tool and subsequently our board updates being shared in a Smore format last year. If you mentioned Smores today it may seem common place. I doubt it would be considered innovative. It feels a little like undercover innovation that many have missed. To others they may see the final product but not the work that went in earlier.

I wonder how many times we miss those undercover innovations in our system. Do we focus so much on the BIG fancy innovations that we miss the not as fancy changes in practice? How can we showcase the journey and not just the end product? How can we help these undercover stories of innovation spread? Is it as simple as sharing our stories? Is one kind of innovation better than another?

Do you see undercover innovations around you?

When we think differently about the things that we are used to seeing daily, we can create innovative learning opportunities-for our teachers and students.

Chapter 1 of The Innovator’s Mindset – George Couros

I can’t wait to explore the topic further this Tuesday night. I hope you join in on the Twitter back channel chat. 

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