An innovation equation

With the growing emphasis on collaboration and creativity in education, teachers and students around the world are being encouraged to practise and embrace innovation as a foundational future-oriented skill. This is resulting in some wonderful developments in pedagogical approaches, learning environments, and even assessment.

When we truly open ourselves to a philosophy of creativity and innovation, we need to be prepared to accept two realities. One, there will be challenges and obstacles. Walking an unbeaten path is exciting but risky and will, unavoidably, result in us falling over occasionally. Two, innovation by nature is disruptive. And not everyone likes being disrupted.

When we choose to think differently, to ask hard questions, or to offer an alternative solution, there will always be critics who don’t share our vision. These people are often too invested in the ‘old way’ to be open to a ‘new way’  – even when it is clearly better.

On a recent podcast, Joe Gebbia, co-founder of Airbnb, shared an equation that has helped him prepare for the inevitable response to an innovative idea:

SW2 + WC = MO

(Some will love it, some won’t + who cares? = move on)

Interestingly, many of the most important innovations  (light bulbs, aeroplanes, vaccines, taxis, personal computers, etc) began with an individual or small group being ridiculed for their idea but pursuing it anyway. It’s easy to get caught up in trying to convince detractors that an idea makes sense. Often though, it’s much more effective to rally the people who ‘get it’ and harness their energy to bring your idea to life. Some will love it, some won’t, who cares? move on.

Published by

David Bott

Hi, I'm David Bott, Associate Director of the Institute of Positive Education in Australia.

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