Innovation in schools occurs when “regular, like-able people” can engage the process in a trusting, supportive environment. In her review on Amazon of #EdJourney, 4th grade teacher Lisa Goochee, now teaching in Brazil after global experiences from Philly to China, finds those common elements of successful innovation that are available to every educator-leader:
…showcases how regular, like-able people are innovating across schools in the USA
…shows how schools are “getting comfortable with discomfort” and are building high-trust working climates where redistributed leadership is embraced, if not essential, in the re envisioned educational worldview.
…educational explorations serve to glue us all together as we all seek “innovation” on our personal and communal journeys, rather than stratify us by the contextual variables that often otherwise differentiate us.
In short: real people with practical solutions are innovating together. Grant shows a path ahead.
Thanks, Lisa, for the read, reflection, and perspective of the teacher. If #EdJourney is accessible and directly usable for teachers, I have achieved the main objective when I left my driveway in 2012!
Hi Grant, as promised, I have just a few more reflections and questions. After our Twitter exchange, I recognized a need in myself to further understand my own limitations of understanding and expression around a few particular themes in your book. I’ve been doing some reading on “design imperialism” and “design humanitarianism” on suggestion from a friend. It seems like there was a large discussion in the 2010s on the design web around these topics, prior to design thinking really gaining traction and voice in schools. (see http://designobserver.com/feature/humanitarian-design-vs-design-imperialism-debate-summary/14498)
My curiosities about innovation and the ethos of school innovator are focused here, for the time being, in the realm of design thinking. Would you be willing to respond to me with any ideas about how the leaders in the field of K12 design thinking are ensuring that we are not just projecting, perpetuating, and marketing our consumption need onto local or global populations “in need?” How are we ensuring that we aren’t creating need and more consumers to satisfy within the process of design thinking? If that’s exactly what we’re doing, Is this an okay thing to involve kids in? Shouldn’t we incorporate deep needs assessments and projections of possible effect before walking in and shifting culture with design?
If we think out to the ending chapters in your book focused on ecosystem, surely creating a mass consumption oriented global population is not exactly the wisest path forward, right? How could we shift a world that is not evaluating the impact of our self want and design for intrigue or comfort to a world that sees their self wants in the context of the collective good? (Can we accept that Americans are somewhat selfish with global resources?)
Why not a step in design thinking (with students only, but also more broadly) that focuses on the deep ethical issues of changing populations. Do we not have time for that? (Isn’t this the most important part to engage students with?)
I think we should not move so quickly ahead that we forget these most important things. What do you think? Please inform me with your perspective or things to read.
Thanks, Lisa,for this great reflection. I will ask others to weigh in, but here is my reaction. I don’t see where the process of design thinking has a de facto component, or results in, perpetuation or projecting of unsustainable practices. DT would be agnostic to those issues, at a minimum, and might, if the empathetic observation and user-interest portions were conducted with real insight, uncover and expose issues around which a design could improve those conditions.
Having said that, does DT need a step where the designers step back and ask questions of existential ethical nature? Should there be a filter built in where we say, “stop, think, is this the RIGHT thing to do as well as being what the user THINKS they need?” That of course is a double edged sword: on the one hand paying attention to potential impacts of a design beyond those expressed by the user; on the other hand re-projecting our own biases of what is “good” or “appropriate” onto the user base.
I will ask some other DT thinkers to comment on this, and maybe it will be the subject of an upcoming DT chat. Thanks again for provoking this thinking.
Thanks, Grant. I appreciate the time you are taking to explain it.
Sitting here with my DDT and Flash Lab book. I do see DT as agnostic. Maybe it’s the mission/vision around schools with DT that needs to shift itself for DT to be operating/ revolving in a healthy inner school ecosystem, not DT itself. Double edged sword seems quite valid.
I look forward to any more responses we can garner.
Other questions less about the ethics of industrial, imperialistic development vs. environmental and human costs of the design. How that’s all connected is the ecosystem?? (Won’t we reach those Qs either way in process with kids?)
For example, ethical questions could arise in prototype/ production/ manufacturing stage (unless solutions are immaterial). What is required to build product or creation in question? How does this solution outweigh the environmental or human cost required to fabricate raw material to product? Do we rely on labor abuse in country “X” to make solution for country “Y”?
What’s the human and environmental cost of a pack of post-its? Just some thoughts I’m chewing on.