As I mentioned over the weekend, there is something important brewing in Atlanta. If you have never scrolled through a Twitter stream, now would be a good time to try. If you have, now would be a good time to scroll through #AK12DC from the Atlanta-based 11 school K-12 Design Challenge last Friday and Saturday. Bo Adams provides a summary and some resource links to the event.
I don’t suggest you read every comment or open every attached photo. If you peck your way through, though, you will get a montage understanding of how teams from disparate schools serving diverse communities and with a range of innovation foci, in a very short period of time, collaborated to generate ideas and concrete action plans. Maybe spend five minutes with this and think what this would look like at your school, with your team. More productive than the monthly faculty meeting?
My interest in AK12DC is this: I wonder if it is a model that can be exported and leveraged to a large number of cities, schools, and districts across America, a process that can turn smoldering brushfires of school innovation into a true conflagration strong and hot enough to move us off of the outdated assembly line model of education within this generation? I don’t know, but the team in Atlanta is learning some valuable lessons we call can share.
Your interest may be more localized; you, after all, probably have a school to run and students to teach. The design thinking approach to innovation used by this team, in conjunction with resources from the Stanford d.School, is the foundation for an expansive type of cultural growth that I, and others, are increasingly using in our school work. It helps shift our organizational thinking from “better than what we have done in the past” to “what might we do in the future?” ; from “what, who, and how?” to “why, what if, and how might we…?” That is the kind of nimble innovation capability our schools must learn if we want to actually innovate rather than talk about innovation.