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From the ED 12.5.13

Dear Colleagues,

I began this note on Thanksgiving morning, which I view as a very quiet and peaceful time for reflection. I am very thankful today for the time I will spend with my family. We are in California visiting my only daughter who is finishing her first semester away at college. I am thankful that we will spend time today with friends and their family in this area. I hope that you all had time last week to relax and refresh.

I came across an article last week via Twitter from Fast Company: “Google Reveals its Nine Principles of Innovation” and we posted this on the MISBO Blog because I believe that these principles are relevant to the work that we do in schools and also as a way to think about the education we provide for our children. You can find the full Fast Company article here.

Innovation is the buzzword in today’s society, but most organizations struggle to find the magic that leads to innovation. Let’s look at just a few of these principles.

1. Innovation Comes From Anywhere: If allowed, every person in our schools has the opportunity to be an innovator. This requires leadership which allows for creativity, risk taking, and an acceptance of failure. I believe we (leaders in our schools) need to help develop the culture that allows for this type of innovation. This can come from someone on your staff, a teacher, or a student.

3. Aim to be 10 times better: Again, I believe that success with this principle comes from developing the school culture which is driven to a great extent by leadership. Most leaders in education believe that we need a change in the manner in which we deliver education. However, there is no consensus on whether this should be an evolutionary process or a revolutionary process. This principle suggests that Google has been successful due to revolutionary change. Independent schools are good at incremental change, but the changes in our world (especially with technology) are moving at an exponential pace. Perhaps it is time to find the places where we can be 10 times better.

6. Give employees 20% time: During a 2011 NBOA Leadership Forum focused on Technology, there was great discussion about the struggles schools experienced in creating a culture of innovation. The participants at this forum discussed the Google concept of 20% time and how this could apply to our schools and especially to our teachers – leading to greater acceptance of new technology and new ideas around teaching and learning. It can be an expensive program to implement. However, there are variations that are appropriate for independent schools. The key element is to provide time and resources for teachers (perhaps all employees) to experiment and learn.

These are just three of the nine principles detailed in this article, but they represent ideas that may be useful to your schools. # 8: FAIL WELL and #9: HAVE A MISSION THAT MATTERS are both critically important and relevant for our schools. If you have time for more reading I suggest Jeff Jarvis’ “What Would Google Do?” – you can find it at Amazon here.

Happy Innovating!


Marc Levinson
Executive Director, MISBO

From → MISBO

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