Measuring Innovation

So for our fourth blog hop for the #ossemooc #Innovatorsmindset book club we are tackling the question of measurement. How do we measure the impact of innovative practice in education? After you read the post below, jump on over to the OSSEMOOC site to read the posts of others or add your own ideas. All are welcome. Join in any time!

How do you measure innovation? It is funny how such a simple sentence can be so intimidating. I find I often get stuck on the word IMPACT. What counts as impact? Am I having an impact with my own practice? Are we having an impact as a collective on our system or even education as a whole? I know it is a vital question to tackle as a teacher leader but assessing innovation has often left me feeling grey.

Nature is amazing with perfectly timed lesson.

IMG_9811I was caught off guard by the light coming in to my condo this afternoon when I walked over to the window and noticed a dark grey cloud being pulled across the city sky. I think in many of my conversations about innovation, especially assessing innovation, this was the measuring stick. Sitting down and several months, even years later looking back and saying: ‘Oh can you see the cloud?’ It was almost an innovation checklist, a yes/no, on/off evaluation of the system and change. I always left the conversations disappointed, deflated, defeated. I couldn’t see this blanket of change.


While reading the Innovator’s Mindset and our ongoing conversations in the Hangouts and on Voxer, I’ve been reminded how innovation really starts with small choices. Small choices we make every day to better our practice. Then those small choices, through sharing and supportive cultures, have this amazing opportunity to grow and flourish. Sometimes you can see the innovation trail. I think back to our #peel21st experience and I can pin point the moments on a timeline if need be. Other times it’s hard to nail those moments down, that first seed that started the innovation is so small we forgot about it. Other times it has become such common place we miss the growth we have had as a collective altogether (I reflected earlier here on undercover innovation if you want a better explanation).

So as I stared  at the cloud rolling in this afternoon, I started to wonder if our assessment of innovation needs to be more like the gradients of a sunirse. Maybe it needed to feel more like metacognitive exercises with our students, an exit ticket after an experience. Maybe it is less about standards and more about an ongoing conversation.  A daily reflection to observe, celebrate and plan ahead.

  • How have I/we innovated my practice recently?
  • How did it impact my/our learning community (the big and the small)?
  • Who benefited? Who didn’t?
  • Where do I/we go next?

Maybe that is simplifying the process too much. Maybe there are structures in place to better help with assessing innovation. All I know is that the conversation about assessing impact and innovation has always felt like a dark grey cloud and I’m hoping there it is a way for it to invigorate our practice like a stunning sunrise.

4 Replies to “Measuring Innovation”

  1. Tina,
    It is amazing to see the common threads within our posts. Your idea that “A daily reflection to observe, celebrate and plan ahead” really resonated with me. I believe, like you, that innovation begins with the small choices we make to better our practice – and the time we take to reflect helps guide us along the journey.

  2. How do we measure the impact of innovative practice in education? I am finding this intimidating too however your post has inspired me to get going on mine – it is the little changes and sometimes we forget to sit back, and think about how far we have come – but I will blog about that! Thanks – great post.

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