“Change is an opportunity to do something amazing.” Reading this statement this week resonated with me, and it serves as a convenient jumping off point for my first blog post as part of the Innovator’s Mindset MOOC. The statement, written in an alternate font, colour, and size, is tailor-made to catch the eye. It is a headline, a tag-line, a rallying cry, a mantra. And it did its job - it got me thinking.
A few years ago while working on my Master’s degree in Educational Technology, I came across a series of videos exploring the relationship between change and innovation. Click here for a sample.
In the video, Dr. Kotter speaks about change and innovation from a perspective rooted in organizational theory and emphasizes the need for organizations to alter their entire framework in order to cause the change that will spur innovation. He sees traditional organizational frameworks as stifling creative thinking and risk-taking, and he believes that in order to get the desired innovation, organizations need big change to spark the fire. He sees innovation as the result of change.
I love this idea. In his opening salvo, George Couros finds common ground with Kotter in exploring the relationship that exists between innovation and change - that one can’t live without the other. Couros advocates for a grass roots approach to innovation - that the individual must embrace change and view it as an opportunity to do something amazing - to innovate.
I am now in the 20th year of my educational career, having experienced classrooms from the perspective of a Kindergarten, Grade 5, Middle and High School Humanities and Technology teacher, as well as viewing schools as a High School Assistant Principal and school-wide Technology Director. In a career marked by varied experiences, one pattern I've noticed is that large scale changes often fail to gain traction and yield results, but small changes can spur innovative thinking and therefore be quickly productive.
I’m looking for a discrete change that will be the impetus for a measured, viable innovation to improve how I do things and impact teaching and learning. Even shifting to the mindset that change can be an opportunity to do something amazing is an example of just such a small change, which in turn is innovative in itself.