15 hands-on ways to create a culture of innovation
Like most things, culture is a mindset. Our institutional mindsets will need to be reprogrammed in order to produce new environments and learning communities that are innovative and creative. Like anything transformational, this has to be a lifestyle and not a bumper sticker. Here are 15 more hands-on ways that we can lead a culture of innovation, creativity and community:
- Walk the walk and model lifelong learning – leaders need to blog, publish, use technology and social media, and ultimately demonstrate that we too are not afraid to keep learning, growing and pushing our own creativity.
- Start the school year off with culture, culture, culture. Learning will not be maximized until culture is established. Once established, revisit culture and evolve it on a regular basis. See SmartStart (Smart Start Your School Year).
- Breakaway from packaged and corporate curriculum and move more towards project-based learning and other inquiry-based practices.
- Recognize and reward innovation and creativity across all disciplines, stakeholders and endeavors.
- Host, coordinate and facilitate school wide challenges, contests, competitions related to projects and other endeavors that require creativity.
- Allow students to solve school and real world problems.
- Add and create new elective courses, intercessions or lame duck days where teachers can create short or long-term experiences related to their passions, interests and sense of creativity (Lame Duck School Days).
- Throw wrenches into schedules, routines, expectations and past practices.
- Change the physical environment – new spaces, technology and situations may induce new ideas, collaboration an inspiration (Six Must Have Learning Spaces for PBL)
- Foster and encourage projects of passion, student voice and choice – (org) and (20time in Education).
- Defend young people at all costs to all other stakeholders – we can not tear down youth in order to build them up.
- Allow teachers and students to own learning by having them take on various roles in school projects, governance and more.
- Move away from outdated policies and practices that emphasize formality as the path to respect versus developing relationships.
- Study culture outside of education – cutting edge companies, non-profit organizations and others.
- Make public commitments and promises related to innovation and creativity.