15 Feb 2019


The current economy is centered on the need for innovation, with most workplaces in a constant state of evolution. The leaders of the present and the future need the ability to envision that change or, at least, the to adapt quickly and pivot when it is thrust upon them. That is why innovation in education is more important now than ever before.

To innovate is to look beyond what we are currently doing and develop a novel idea that helps us to do our job in a new way. The purpose of any invention, therefore, is to create something different from what we have been doing, be it in quality or quantity or both. To produce a considerable, transformative effect, the innovation must be put to work, which requires prompt diffusion and large-scale implementation.

Innovation is generally understood as “the successful introduction of a new thing or method” In essence, “innovation seems to have two sub components. First, there is the idea or item which is novel to a particular individual or group and, second, there is the change which results from the adoption of the object or idea”. Thus, innovation requires three major steps: an idea, its implementation, and the outcome that results from the execution of the idea and produces a change. In education, innovation can appear as a new pedagogic theory, methodological approach, teaching technique, instructional tool, learning process or institutional structure that, when implemented, produces a significant change in teaching and learning, which leads to better student learning. So, innovations in education are intended to raise productivity and efficiency of learning and/or improve learning quality

However, innovation doesn’t always come easy. It requires the expertise of school leaders like chief technology officers, tech advisors and school media specialists/librarians to help principals and superintendents determine what forms of innovation best work for the school district and best support learning. These tech leaders also aid in the successful training needed to implement innovative ideas effectively. Because of the growing importance of these roles, these tech leaders can be among a superintendent’s most valued resources.

The need for educational innovations has become acute. It is widely believed that countries’ social and economic well-being will depend to an ever greater extent on the quality of their citizens’ education: the emergence of the so-called ‘knowledge society’, the transformation of information and the media, and increasing specialization on the part of organizations all call for high skill profiles and levels of knowledge. Today’s education systems are required to be both effective and efficient, or in other words, to reach the goals set for them while making the best use of available resources

School leaders don’t need to feel that they have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to innovation, however. They can connect with other schools and school leaders who have covered some of this ground before. The main challenge might be that innovation cannot really be ‘shrink-wrapped’ and ‘delivered’, but a true innovation is decided by the market success, and thus, the customer adoption, which is often hard to predict. Market-reading innovation strategies just give you what everybody (including your competition) already knows, while needs-seeking strategies bear a higher risk of misreading customers’ desires. Purely technology-driven innovation tends to be short-lived and very volatile when it comes to customer expectations in the rapidly changing technological environment. So, having the right balance, expectations, mechanisms, and culture to construct a company-appropriate innovation portfolio might be the biggest challenge for sustainable innovation delivery, especially since it requires taking a long-term view on corporate innovation.

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