Recently it seems that innovation is a buzzword on the tip of everyone’s tongue. Need happier employees? Innovate! Need bigger profits? Innovate! Need better leadership? Innovate!
Over the past six months I’ve explored hundreds of news stories, white papers, and blog posts focused on why and how leaders might foster a culture of innovation. Unfortunately, innovation is too often be touted as a silver bullet solution without even defining what innovation is. Some folks have taken a stand against innovation, given its use as a catchall strategy. Yet I stand firmly in support of innovation as a focus for making better organizations and happier teams. I believe that what is most important is not that we “innovate” for innovation’s sake, but that we create cultures of innovation in our organizations -- cultures that supports risk-taking, reflection, and real collaboration. Out of the hundreds of strategies for and stories of innovation, I believe there are ten key lessons we can draw out to support us in creating cultures of innovation in schools and districts. Why ten lessons? David Letterman, obviously.