Monday, January 18, 2016

The Innovator's DNA: Tips for Discovery Skills

This evening (1.18.2016) I am leading a #LuthEd chat on Twitter at 9 PM EST that examines discovery skills from a book entitled The Innovator's DNA. This book shares the premise that any individual or organization can become more innovative by specifically practicing these discovery skills. As a companion to this discussion, here is a list of the five skills and some tips the authors give in practicing these skills. Full information about these activities may be found in the book itself.

  • Force new associations, like thinking about the connections of items that we would not normally combine, such as a microwave oven and a dishwasher, or a classroom bulletin board and a research paper.
  • Build a curiosity box of items that are odd and interesting, and think about connections between those items.
  • Use the SCAMPER model to think more deeply about something.
  • Regularly ask "what caused", "what if", "why", and "why not" questions.
  • Keep a question centered notebook, and ask your students to do the same.
  • Set regular observation times to see exactly what is happening in your school and classroom at certain times of the day. Make notes on these observations and then apply your new questioning skills to probe more deeply about what is happening.
  • Observe companies. What is going at at businesses that can inform and enlighten about what is happening at your school. This will also give you insights about your preparation of students for THEIR futures.
  • Intentionally observe with all your senses. Perhaps your cafeteria looks great but there is an odor that you have become used to that you didn't recognize. Use all your senses to inform yourself about what is happening in your school or classroom.
  • Expand the diversity of your network. This is especially useful for making the most of Twitter. Include educators from other Christian traditions, public school teachers, innovative thinkers, and business leaders in your network. In addition, network with some of these people in your own community. 
  • Start a creative community.
  • Invite an outsider to join you for coffee then discuss and learn from them.
  • Develop a new skill.
  • Disassemble a product.
  • Pilot a new idea every quarter or semester.
  • Actively seek to identify trends of the world in reading, entertainment, religion, etc. and think deeply and reflectively about how these ideas caught hold and whether there is a response to these changes in education.
These are just some of the ideas that are helpful in becoming an innovative thinker and leader. Part of this process is also reflectively analyzing what elements of life and education are those worth holding on to even in a world of change.

It is my hope and prayer that this list is helpful to educators and schools as they seek to be innovative leaders, better serving the children in our care.

1 comment:

  1. I just bought this from Amazon - looking forward to learning and gleaning from this. Thanks for the review!