How to create innovation in your organization (EDER 679.10)

What makes a school or an organization truly innovative? You need a starting point and then you need an attractor that creates a newer idea, that is disruptive in nature, in order to innovate change. Let me example with a few drawings:

a) Ideas now and no attractors


This is the status quo. You are are point A and you’re heading to point B with the same defined purpose and process as years before. There’s no real incentive to change and innovate.

b) Ideas now and stable attractors


You understand that your organization needs some change to do things better, but the change that you are implementing is surface change (Kowch, 2013). In other words, it is minimal change that will not have a huge impact on the organization. There will be change, but not enough to innovate and change the organizational culture.

c) Ideas now and unstable attractors


You understand and implement some purposeful changes (Kowch, 2013).  Technology is an example of disruptive technology (Kowch, 2013). Take cloud-computing for example, the purpose of cloud computing would be to another way to collaborate and share resources just-in-time within a network. By introducing cloud computing to an organization as an idea (an attractor), staff will engage in meaningful discussions on whether to implement cloud computing and how it can be beneficial or otherwise to an organization. This attractor provides more tension between the now and the ideal, but it’s this tension that actually helps create a positive tension that helps bring innovation forward (Kowch, 2013). When embraced with tension, interactions can be more collaborative and changes the nature of what we are doing (Kowch, 2013).

If you want true change in your organization, you’ll need enough tension caused by a disruptive yet achievable idea. In order to allow for tension, you’ll need a diverse staff with different perspectives wanting to engage in meaningful discussions; and a leader who is willing to guide and lead those discussions. The question for edtech leaders is whether the idea you have will create enough tension for it to be innovative among your organization.


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