Establishing a Culture of Innovation Through New Leadership

I recently read this blog post;  Why Empowerment — Not Technology — Is The Key To Transforming Education, by Dustin Haisler. In this article he discusses the importance of big data and how big data has had a significant impact on the education system, enabling insights in the learning process and leading to personalized learning systems that optimize the learning process based on a user’s own data. The danger is to rely too much on technology and big data and less on the teachers and the culture of innovation and performance. I agree with him that leadership is crucial here and that change should not just be in the use of technology, but what goes on in the classroom. I have highlighted what made sense to me below:

It’s All About Culture

So the real question is what makes a school district high-performing and innovative? Is it just engaging teachers more often? Leveraging new technology? From what I’ve seen, the highest performing schools have established a culture of innovation that is built through employee empowerment. School districts that encourage employees to test new hunches — to explore new models of learning, don’t just see better outcomes with their students, they also see a more motivated workforce. Now, this is where school leadership plays the most critical role in the process because they are directly responsible for laying the foundation of their district’s culture. Setting the right foundation requires a new perspective on leadership.

Establishing a Culture of Innovation Through New Leadership

School leaders in this exponential era of change need to set a foundation of innovation by being a leader with these ingredients:

  1. Who has vision: You must have a vision that can be shared and embraced across multiple domains in your district. Does your vision apply to teachers or just the school board? For inspiration, read Built to Last.
  2. Who empowers: You must empower all of your employees, especially those at the edge to test their hunches, share insights and collectively work to accomplish the district’s vision. You must also embrace failures as part of the process, because if you don’t — your staff will not take risks. For inspiration on empowerment, read Mindset . For inspiration on rewarding failure, read how Google recognizes failure.
  3. Who is agile and adaptive: You must operate in a continuous state of improvement and you must adapt frequently to change. For inspiration, read Lean Startup.

So now the question for those in leadership positions today: are you a leader who interprets data for your employees or are you a leader who empowers your employees and leverages their insights?

I would love to hear from you