What innovation is NOT
Posted November 9, 2016on:
Experts from several fields weighed in on what it means to be “innovative”. According to a news article, this was part of forum organised by the NUS Business School.
I liked the response by Professor Michael Frese. He indicated that whether something was innovative or not needed to be judged in hindsight and that creativity often stems from a poverty of resources.
He also described how leaders were critical in implementing innovation. They had to combine contradictory processes: Open ones like risk-taking and failing, and closed ones like routines and deadlines.
I would be stumped to define innovation succinctly. I was schooled longer than I have educated myself. As a teacher I even helped schooling cement its place until I decided that it was better to be an educator.
I find it easier to describe what innovation in education (not schooling) is NOT than to say what it is.
A while ago, I gave a keynote during which I shared how humans have relied on show-and-tell over the ages. Doing the same thing differently is not innovative despite the changes in technology. We can — and we have — conducted show-and-tell on cave walls, blackboards, overhead projectors, white boards, “interactive” white boards, and now, mobile screens.
If one is to be truly innovative, then one might focus on the learner and learning, and then consider how not to rely just on show-and-tell. It might be about showing learners where to look without telling them what to see.