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Designing Creative Confidence

Not only is it time to reclaim our creative confidence, it is time to reclaim failure too.
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So whenever I am asked a question, my response is to ask several questions back. Why do we need innovation in education NOW? What is innovation in education? What is the purpose of innovation in education? What is innovation?

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CC photo by: turiskopio

At this point, with the knowledge I have, I would describe innovation as the use of insights to create ideas to implement systemic change. Let me go even deeper into what I mean about that. There are many ways in which you could activate on innovation, and I will describe just one of the ways.

As a designer and social entrepreneur, it is my job to be a multi-disciplinary thinker; I thrive on finding intersections from alternative spaces to start to explore opportunities, generate connections, and facilitate the process of taking ideas to action. I am a huge advocate for how design thinking for educators is the way forward. Design thinking understands the process of how we make decisions, collaborate across sectors, survey the true landscape of what is going on, view things from other perspectives, prototype ideas, learn from mistakes and build confidence in creativity. If schools kill creativity, let’s look at why? It is time to reclaim your creative confidence and get over the four fears that are stopping us, “fear of the messy unknown, fear of being judged, fear of the first step, and fear of losing control”, Tom and David Kelley, of IDEO.

The number one thing stopping innovation from happening is; ideas are nothing without execution.

I bet you are thinking, first you need an idea before there can be execution. You are right. Ideas in innovation in education have been floating around for a long time. Did you know that Sir Ken Robinson’s first report “Learning Through Drama: Report of The Schools Council Drama Teaching Project” was produced in 1977? How did I know that? Well, Wikipedia of course! There is more information accessible now then there ever has been before. Ideas are simply everywhere. But who is taking those ideas to action? Who is going to make that big jump?

I am going to take a stance; the ideas are out there and we are being asked for a revolution, according to Sir Ken, but I think the revolution is going to come in small waves; from the ground up, from the corners of the system, from the fringes, from the Islands of Excellence. It is the swell of good stuff that pushes the edges, that inspires more, and lets us learn!

I am going to take a stance; the ideas are out there and we are being asked for a revolution, according to Sir Ken, but I think the revolution is going to come in small waves; from the ground up, from the corners of the system, from the fringes, from the Islands of Excellence. It is the swell of good stuff that pushes the edges, that inspires more, and lets us learn!

Innovation is going to feel uncomfortable. It is entering the unknown, testing out an assumption, relying on the tingly senses deep in your intuition, asking for help, sometimes making a fool of yourself but then persevering through the trenches of nerves and finally being able to look back and say “Wow!”

That “Wow!” means so much. It means you did it, it means you put yourself out there just a bit more, you experienced the thrill of the unknown, imagined a different future, and most importantly put an idea into action.

We are all part of the future of education,. We have to rise above the fear and challenge our relationship with failure. Not only is it time to reclaim our creative confidence, it is time to reclaim failure too. For too long, failure has had a bad reputation and it is time for a comeback. Admitting failure is the first step to embracing all that can be learned from mistakes.

Innovation in education is going to come from every level of the system. It is not going to be easy. It is going to take time and it will be substantially worth it.

Call to Action: Go out there and try out an idea you have been thinking about for a long time or even a short time, find people to help you out, talk about your idea, make a plan of attack, don’t worry about failing – it will be great! And don’t forget to share on #IOE2012