InnovateK12 Newsletter: October 10, 2019
It’s October, and the school year is in full swing! Here at InnovateK12 we are launching innovation “challenge” events nearly every day, and it has been super exciting to see the engagement created in our network of schools and districts. Whether you’re a member of the InnovateK12 network or not, this month’s newsletter has some great resources for those of you tasked with the difficult job of leading innovation in today's schools. As Gary Pisano , author of the HBR article featured in this month's newsletter says, “A willingness to experiment does not mean randomly throwing paint at a canvas.” Here at InnovateK12, we agree with Pisano when he says that a true culture of innovation requires discipline , candor , and accountability . After all, it was one of the greatest innovators of all time, Thomas Edison, who famously said, "The reason innovation is so rare is that it shows up wearing overalls and looks like work." It also helps to not do it alone...that's why we're here to support you. So roll up your sleeves, friends of innovation and all those who believe we can do better for kids...and enjoy your October newsletter!
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The InnovateK12 Toolkit™
LOVE PODCASTS? So do we! Here’s one that's in our innovation wheelhouse... Rebecca Reed has launched a new podcast called “Off the Assembly Line” that focuses on educators who are leading in the innovation space. In early October, Rebecca sat down with InnovateK12's Eric Schneider to discuss the growth of the InnovateK12 network and the important work that its members are doing to grow a healthier culture grounded in staff and student voice. The podcast will be released on October 21st...yeah, a couple weeks away still, so bookmark the website and send yourself a reminder.

AN EDU-TWIST ON DESIGN THINKING: Design Thinking is one of the most transformational methods of the 21st century, combining problem-solving and critical thinking with empathy and creativity in ways that are inspiring and engaging to both educators and students. And with the rise in popularity, there’s no shortage of consulting organizations that offer training in design thinking. 

So why choose InnovateK12 to train your leaders and your staff?  

InnovateK12 modifies the traditional Design Thinking method with an emphasis on a methodology commonly referred to as Lean. In the business world, this is sometimes referred to as Six Sigma. Our emphasis on lean prototyping is essential for school environments where resources for new ideas are limited and heavily scrutinized. At InnovateK12, we can help you overcome this limitation by training your design thinkers to surface lean solutions.

INNOVATION LEADERSHIP FORUM: I f you live in a state where education consortiums (ECs), cooperative educational services (BOCES), educational service agencies (ESAs), or educational service districts (ESDs) are the best on-ramp for professional development, we’d love to hear from you! We would like to collaborate with state-run ESDs to provide Innovation Leadership Forums that bring leaders together to study the current research on leading a culture of innovation. ESDs are often the best way to deliver the InnovateK12 toolkit as a service option to its members, with substantial discounts in pricing! Reach out to us today and we will begin working with your ESD immediately to offer an Innovation Leadership Forum in your area.
Membership in the InnovateK12 Network

NEW MEMBERSHIP OPTIONS: InnovateK12 has officially launched its new membership options for 2019-20 school year. This year’s menu of options includes a number of new opportunities to deliver ON-SITE Innovation PD to your administrators and teacher-leaders. Our current members have told us that the key to their success has been investing in professional development for leaders on the importance of innovation leadership. And at InnovateK12, we want to make that a focus in the 2019-20 school year.

TRY THIS: Not quite ready to join the network, but interested in helping your leadership team learn more about how to grow (and lead) a culture of innovation? Try this: invite InnovateK12 to your next leadership meeting or retreat and gain valuable insight into the unique challenges associated with leading innovation. When you invite us to your district for a leadership workshop, there’s no obligation to join the network, and your team will appreciate the chance to learn about how the leadership landscape is changing in the 21st century, and why tools like design thinking, distributed leadership, and shared ownership are critical to their success. Schedule a phone call with Eric .
Building a Grassroots Culture of Innovation in Today's Schools.

One Leader at a Time.
Thought Leadership in Innovation
BALANCING THE "FUN" OF INNOVATION: In this Feb ’19 HBR article , author Gary Pisano illustrates the challenges associated with building a culture of innovation and lists several places where leaders fail. Pisano states, “ Despite the fact that innovative cultures are desirable and that most leaders claim to understand what they entail, they are hard to create and sustain. This is puzzling. How can practices apparently so universally loved—even fun—be so tricky to implement?” After you read the HBR article, contact Eric and invite him to meet with your leadership team to discuss how your school or district will successfully lead in the innovation era.

LEARNING TO IMPROVE: On their website , the innovation thought-leaders at Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching promote the 2015 book Learning to Improve: How America’s Schools Can Get Better by Getting Bette r by Anthony S. Bryk , Louis Gomez , Alicia Grunow , and Paul LeMahieu (Published by Harvard Education Publishing). Our InnovateK12 toolkit aligns nicely with Bryk et al ’s focus on Improvement Science. If you’re interested in learning more about Learning to Improve , here is the link to the Harvard Business Review’s article , and here's the opening paragraph from the Carnegie Foundation’s book review :

“As a field, education has largely failed to learn from experience. Time after time, promising education reforms fall short of their goals and are abandoned as other promising ideas take their place. In Learning to Improve , the authors argue for a new approach. Rather than “implementing fast and learning slow,” they believe educators should adopt a more rigorous approach to improvement that allows the field to ‘learn fast to implement well.’”

INNOVATION IN BANKING: There aren’t many people who would name banking as an innovative industry, but the team at US Bank would disagree. Led by Chief Innovation Officer, Dominic Venturo , US Bank boasts a multi-tiered innovation division that is internally disrupting operations and preparing the organization for new technologies such as bitcoin and other globally disruptive financial trends. Listen carefully to this interview with Dominic as he describes US Bank's innovation process using words and phrases familiar to the InnovateK12 network: idea funnel, identifying pain points, what is the problem we are solving, building empathy, design thinking, proof of concept, iterative process, test and learn, fail fast, pilot, bring to scale, etc. He also makes a great reference to Tom Kelley's (IDEO) book, The Ten Faces of Innovation , as a best practice guide for creating a great design team.
Connect with InnovateK12

OCTOBER 28-31, 2019 If you’re planning to be in Palm Springs for iNACOL 2019 , let’s plan to meet up and talk innovation! I’d love to hear about your efforts to lead innovation or chat about how InnovateK12 might be able to help. Plus, Palm Springs is a pretty nice place to meet, right? Schedule a time to meet up and talk innovation!

DECEMBER 5-6, 2019 If you’re planning to attend the 2019 New England Association of Schools and Colleges , InnovateK12 President Eric Schneider will address the attendees at lunch on Thursday, December 5th. He will also be on-site as an event sponsor to meet with school and district leaders who are interested in learning more about the InnovateK12 network. Schedule a time to meet at the conference.

DECEMBER 7-11, 2019 Connect with Eric at the 2019 Learning Forward conference in St. Louis. We'll have a scheduled meet-up for members of the network, or schedule a time to meet with Eric to talk about joining the network in 2020!
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Watch your inbox for a NEW InnovateK12 newsletter dedicated to
member updates and InnovateK12 toolkit resources. Coming soon!