The school year has wrapped up and so have a number of focus groups, pilots, and committees. I love this work and like pushing the boundaries of what we think is possible. But in an innovative organization, you get what Susan Wojcicki calls the Innovator’s Dilemma: invest in new or improve upon existing?
A set of strong common principles for a company makes it possible for all its employees to work as one and move forward together. We just need to continue to say ‘yes’ and resist a culture of ‘no’, accept the inevitability of failures, and continue iterating until we get things right. – Susan Wojcicki , http://www.thinkwithgoogle.co.uk/quarterly/innovation/8-pillars-of-innovation.html
Either way can lead to stagnation that severely limits growth and can inevitably lead to a landing mindset. But I tend to think it is not only possible but critical to do both because it develops faith, shows thoughtfulness, builds community and fosters innovation: creativity and risk-taking.
Difficult, no doubt. However, Google provides us insights into one possible approch with these eight steps:
- Have a mission that matters
- Think big but start small
- Strive for continual innovation, not instant perfection
- Look for ideas everywhere
- Share everything
- Spark with imagination, fuel with data
- Be a platform
- Never fail to fail
All of these speak to culture and space. All of these lead to important questions:
- Where in your school are ideas able to be shared, seen, and sparked?
- How are ideas, work, and studies being shared in your school?
- What do your spaces say about the value of “the discussion, exchange and re-interpretation of ideas” (Wojcicki)?
- How are spaces designed to foster incubation, group think, and collaboration?
- How much time is dedicated to exploring the problems and ideas OTHERS have shared, posed, or expressed?
- How open are your school doors to visitors for cross-pollination? How many paths have been created to the doorways of other schools?
- Are you bounding, failing, and fishing down the hallway enough to fail fast and often in order to succeed?